Here’s what you need to know about compensation after a taxi accident. Find out what to do at the scene and how to file an injury claim.
In 2019, daily taxi trips almost reached 300,000 in New York City alone. In the same year, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft accounted for almost 450,000 daily trips in NYC.¹
As with private vehicles, hired rides get into plenty of traffic accidents, injuring passengers and other motorists. At-fault taxi drivers are just as responsible for their victim’s injuries as any other motorist would be.
After a traffic accident, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s car insurance, the taxi company’s insurance policy, or the insurance company of a rideshare business.
Actions to Take After a Taxi Cab Accident
Anytime you’re in a traffic accident involving a taxi or rideshare vehicle, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The most important thing to do is to protect your health. Call 911 to report the accident. Ask for an ambulance if you or anyone else has been injured.
If you aren’t taken directly to the hospital, see your doctor or visit an urgent care center, preferably the same day. The accident may have caused serious injuries that initially go unnoticed.
Whether you receive medical treatment from a hospital or your doctor, make sure to get a copy of your medical records. These records will likely form the backbone of your injury claim.
2. Gather Driver and Vehicle Information
If you are able, collect the names and contact numbers of everyone involved. If the taxi driver is employed by a company, or rents the cab from one, get the name of the company as well as the driver.
Get the make, model, and license plate number of the taxi and any other vehicles involved in the collision.
Don’t forget about insurance. Gather the insurance details of all drivers involved in the accident. Ask for the insurance company name and the policy number.
3. Collect Evidence at the Accident Scene
Use your phone to take pictures and videos of the scene, including cars involved, street conditions, weather conditions, any injuries, and traffic signals or street signs. Car accident photographs and videos can increase the value of your claim. Take as many pictures as you safely can.
Look for witnesses. Seek out anyone who saw the accident and write down their names and contact information. Independent witness statements can help back up your version of events.
Don’t risk further injury to gather information and evidence. The police will investigate accidents involving injuries and include vital information in the accident report. You or your attorney can get a copy of the report later.
Filing Injury Claims with Taxi Companies
Taxicab drivers are “common carriers,” or entities that carry persons from one place to another. As such, drivers must carry common carrier insurance (sometimes referred to as taxi insurance).
Common carrier insurance covers the cab driver, passenger, and another motorist in instances of collisions. If you were injured in an accident caused by a cab driver, you’d file a claim under that cabby’s common carrier policy.
Sometimes a driver will rent a cab from a taxi company. In this situation, both the driver and the company may have insurance policies and bear responsibility for the accident. You can file accident claims with either party’s insurer or even both if your injuries rise above the limits of one policy.
There are times when taxi companies own their cabs and hire drivers to operate them. In this type of business model, the taxi company is the responsible party if one of their employees caused an injury. Here, you should file an injury claim with the business that owned the cab.
Evidence to Show Fault
The main goal of taking pictures and finding witnesses after a crash is to collect enough evidence to show that the taxi driver, or the driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision, was responsible for causing your injuries.
To prove fault in an auto accident, the injured person has to show that the driver was negligent. A person is negligent when they do something wrong or fail to do what any reasonable person would do in the same circumstances to prevent harm to others.
In personal injury cases, the negligent or at-fault driver is liable, meaning the driver is the cause of a victim’s injuries and must compensate that person for any losses incurred.
These losses may include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
As an injured taxi passenger, you or your attorney will likely file insurance claims with both drivers’ auto insurance companies, as well as the taxicab company’s commercial liability carrier.
State Laws Differ with Coverage Amounts
A confusing aspect of taxi accidents is that states don’t agree on the amount of coverage drivers and cab companies must carry.
Each state has its own minimum limits for auto insurance coverage for individual drivers and for commercial drivers. The amounts required in different states can vary dramatically.
Depending the severity of your accident, you may suffer from injuries that exceed the limits of the driver’s or company’s applicable insurance policy.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you suffer injuries above the limits on the at-fault driver’s policy, then you’d file a claim with your own auto policy’s underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), if you have it.
Underinsured motorist coverage pays for your accident injuries when the at-fault driver has too little insurance to cover all of your losses. Only a few states mandate drivers to carry UIM coverage, but you may choose to purchase UIM coverage as an optional add-in.
If you file a UIM claim, your insurance company is legally required to compensate you for the damages that the at-fault party would have had to, but for the lack of higher policy limits.
No-Fault Insurance States
There are a few no-fault insurance states. No-fault insurance covers injury claims for the driver and their passengers, regardless of who caused the accident.
If you are injured while riding in a taxi in a state with no-fault insurance laws, the taxi driver’s insurance policy will have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP will cover your medical bills and related costs no matter who was at fault for an accident.
PIP, though, will not compensate you for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Uber and Lyft Rideshare Services
Rideshares offer car transport services as an alternative to taxis, cabs, and limos. Two of the most well-known rideshare services in the United States are Uber and Lyft.
Rideshare companies are also known as:
- Transportation network companies
- Peer-to-peer ridesharing
- Ride-hailing companies
While taxi users hail a car for hire on the street or call the company dispatcher to order a cab, rideshare customers must download a specific app to their smartphone. Rideshare drivers use the same app on their phones to communicate with customers.
Once the rideshare driver and customer connect (via the app), they work out all travel arrangements, including the location the driver will pick a customer up and where the driver will drop the customer off.
Companies like Uber and Lyft don’t own the cars in their rideshare network. The individual rideshare drivers do. Further, most rideshare companies treat their drivers as independent contractors as opposed to employees.
Personal Insurance of the Rideshare Driver
When you are a passenger injured in a traffic accident, and the at-fault driver is an Uber or Lyft driver it can be more challenging to get compensation for your injuries.
Rideshare drivers are required to carry personal auto policies on their cars. However, if the driver caused the accident, Uber or Lyft auto insurance is usually primary.
Personal insurance policies typically don’t extend coverage to accidents when policyholders drive their cars for commercial purposes, unless a special provision or endorsement has been added to the policy. Operating a car in a rideshare capacity is using the vehicle for a commercial aim.
If an injured party files a claim with the rideshare driver’s private insurer, the adjuster will likely deny the claim, unless the policy provides for rideshare coverage. Even then, they still may deny your claim, telling you to file it with Uber or Lyft.
The insurance carriers for the driver and the rideshare company might fight over which policy should pay first. A skilled personal injury attorney will keep you from being caught in the middle.
Insurance Provided by the Rideshare Company
Uber and Lyft recognized a need to protect their drivers and passengers better when involved in auto accidents. As a result, they started offering their drivers company-sponsored liability insurance.
Uber and Lyft coverage pays up to:
- $50,000 bodily injury per person
- $100,000 bodily injury per accident (for more than one person)
- $25,000 in property damage
Uber and Lyft provide liability coverage for injured passengers in the amount of $1 million. However, the coverage only kicks in after an injured person files a claim with the driver’s own insurance.
These rules mean that if a rideshare driver injures a passenger or motorist, the victim first files a claim under the at-fault driver’s policy.
If the driver doesn’t have insurance, or if the amount of a person’s damages is above the driver’s policy limits, the victim can file a claim with the rideshare company.
Get Help From a Skilled Attorney
If you were injured in a taxi or rideshare accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for legal advice.
Insurance companies for taxi drivers fight claims tooth and nail. Adjusters will use every excuse to deny or minimize your claim. Disputes over which insurer should pay for your injuries can go on for months, and may end up in court.
An experienced personal injury attorney can cut through the insurance companies’ roadblocks. Injury lawyers will negotiate with adjusters and fight for their clients to receive the greatest amount of compensation possible.
Most attorneys offer a free consultation for accident victims. It costs nothing to discuss your case with a professional.
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