Even though taxi drivers are considered licensed professionals, they are often in a rush to deliver their passengers or to find the next fare. This means that they sometimes compromise the safety of other motorists, their passengers, and pedestrians in favor of expedited travel. In a major metropolitan city like Boston, taxi cabs are one of the most common ways that people travel. Individuals who are visiting for business or pleasure will take numerous taxi rides in one day. This increases the chance that you may be involved in a taxi accident. Although an accident involving a taxi is mostly similar to an accident involving a standard car, there are certain insurance-related aspects that may pose an additional complication in your claim. The driver of the vehicle and the company that retains or works with the driver may try to point the finger at each other and deny coverage for your claim. There are complex insurance issues, and many cabs are insured only with a “bond,” or may have only very limited coverage. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston taxi accident lawyers are prepared to fight for your rights and to stand up to insurance companies on your behalf.Establishing Your Right to Damages Following a Taxi Accident
If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision with a taxi, you can potentially file a personal injury claim against the driver of the taxi as well as the company that employs or retains the taxi driver to recover compensation for your injuries. Taxi cabs’ owners are required to carry liability insurance just like other owner in Massachusetts. But Massachusetts law only requires minimum insurance for cabs—which is only $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. But, due to the nature of their job, they may be required to pay higher premiums. This means that the policy may not compensate you fully for your injuries and damages. This may sound like a sufficient amount of coverage, but medical bills can pile up quickly, especially when the injuries are catastrophic. Coverage that is limited like this is a reason you should protect yourself with a good auto insurance policy of your own.
There are other complicated wrinkles in the taxi business. Most drivers, unless they happen to be the owner of the company, operate as “independent contractors.” Since they are not employees of the cab company, but are only leasing the cab for a shift, the company will deny that they are liable for the driver’s conduct. Breaking through this corporate shield is something we have done many times in our practice. One way is to prove that the company sufficiently controlled the driver to make him or her a servant or agent; another way is to prove that the company negligently hired an incompetent driver, such an alcohol abuser or someone who had frequent accidents.
In the lawsuit, a taxi accident attorney in the Boston area will have the burden of showing that the taxi driver owed you a duty of care but failed to drive his or her vehicle according to that duty. In general, each motorist has a responsibility to drive with the same reasonable care and skill that a prudent and cautious driver would use when facing a similar situation. Taxi drivers are typically experienced behind the wheel and familiar with traffic laws like obeying the speed limit and yielding the right-of-way. This can be overlooked, however, when taxi drivers rush between fares, look for new passengers striving to make enough money to cover the cost of the cab on their shift, and to make a little profit.. Taxi drivers are also prone to distracted driving because they often check their phones or radios. If you were a passenger in a taxi that was involved in an accident, you may have witnessed the exact way in which your driver acted carelessly.
After our Boston taxi accident attorneys establish that the taxi driver did not drive according to the required duty of care, we must prove that this failure was the cause of the injuries that you suffered. Known as causation, this is a critical step in your road to recovering compensation.
After proving causation, the lawsuit will focus on determining the amount of compensation that the victim is entitled to receive. In a car accident case, we typically help victims present claims for compensation for missed wages, medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. Depending on the scope and nature of the injuries, additional forms of damages like therapy and rehabilitation costs may be available as well.
Even when the facts are clear, companies will resist the claims. Making things more difficult in many cases is the fact that a taxi company can post a bond, replacing the insurance company with self-insurance. This takes away some of the tools to force settlement that would otherwise be available against an insurance company.
What if your damages are much greater than $20,000? Hopefully, you also have underinsured motorist coverage on one of your family vehicles. Otherwise, we will have to try to reach corporate assets, such as the taxi cab medallion. It can be a tough battle!Retain a Knowledgeable Taxi Accident Lawyer in Boston
If you were injured in a crash caused by a taxi driver, either as a passenger or as an occupant in another vehicle, you may be legally entitled to compensation from the other driver. Negotiating with insurance companies, understanding your rights, and protecting your right to recovery can be frustrating and stressful unless you put a vigorous attorney on your side. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we have provided legal guidance to accident victims in cities such as Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Newton, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Plymouth, Worcester, Lawrence, and Springfield. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 1-800-379-1244 or contact us online.
"My very first trial was against a local taxi company. A cab took a sudden turn from the middle lane to an exit, taking out a motorcyclist and causing him some serious injuries. It was a five-day trial, and I am happy to tell you we won! After that I handled other taxi cases, and the lessons I learned in that first trial helped me handle each one of them. With clever corporate arrangements and limitations on the insurance required, the cases have only gotten more difficult, but that’s a challenge we happily take."