Even though taxi drivers carry passengers and navigate the roads for a living, that does not mean they are immune to car accidents. Whether you are in a taxi cab as a passenger or outside of it – as either the driver of another vehicle or a pedestrian – taxis can collide with you and cause serious injuries. These accidents can be problematic because taxi drivers are often fearful for their jobs – typically the only source of income for their family – and so will do all they can to prevent the accident from being reported or taken seriously.
This is why the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian provide legal representation for those who have been involved in an accident with a taxi.
Just how common taxi accidents are is a matter that is up for debate. This is because taxi drivers and companies, as well as their unions and lobbyists, have made it difficult to get solid statistics on the number and severity of accidents involving a taxi. In fact, the Taxi and Limousine Commission of the city where taxis are most common – New York City – never mentions accidents or crashes in its 2014 Taxi Cab Fact Book.
Things are the same here, in Philadelphia. This makes it impossible to tell just how likely taxi cab accidents are, or how often people get hurt in them. Nevertheless, with approximately 1,600 taxis on the road in Philadelphia, taxi cab accidents are a part of life.
Passengers Involved in a Taxi Accident
If you are in a taxi cab when it gets involved in an accident and you get hurt, a number of factors come into play that can affect your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
Taxi cabs are considered to be common carriers. This means that they are in the business of bringing people or cargo from one place to another. Common carriers are required, by law, to provide their passengers with the utmost care. This legal obligation goes far beyond what other drivers owe to their passengers or to other people. Because taxi cab drivers have a heightened standard of care towards you, as their passenger, it may be easier to hold them liable for any injuries you suffer while in their cab.
However, this is not the end of the story. Just because you are able to prove liability does not mean that you will get the compensation that you deserve. Taxi cabs in Philadelphia are required to carry a shockingly low amount of insurance. In order to operate in our city, Philadelphia taxis only have to carry $15,000 worth of insurance per injured person, and $30,000 per accident. This low number has not changed since 1974 when things were far less expensive than they are now. As a note, taxi drivers are often employees of a taxi company. If the driver was negligent in operating the taxi, then the driver's employer can be held liable for its employee's negligence. Whether or not an employer is on the hook for damages will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.
Unfortunately, the injuries that you can suffer in a taxi cab are often more severe than what you can expect in a similar crash in your own car. This is because passengers in taxi cabs are far less likely to wear seatbelts than they are in their own vehicles. Without the protection of a seatbelt, passengers in a taxi cab that gets into a crash are more likely to get hurt and are more likely to suffer a severe or even a fatal injury. In addition, failure to wear a seatbelt could affect the amount of damages that an injured passenger may receive, as not wearing a seatbelt could be considered comparative negligence.
Non-Passengers Hit by Taxis
One of the advantages of a cab, if you are riding in it, is the driver's willingness to do what they can to get you to your destination quickly. However, for everyone who is not in the cab, the driving behaviors of taxi drivers can be problematic, even dangerous. These behaviors may include running red lights, merging unsafely, or driving in ways that endanger other vehicles on the road. Driving aggressively or recklessly can lead to accidents between the taxi and other vehicles. Similar to when you are a passenger, the taxi company -- along with the driver -- may be liable for the injuries you endure as a result of the collision.
Philadelphia Taxi Accident Attorneys
If you are in an accident with a taxi you may face difficulties in seeking compensation for the injuries you have suffered as the driver or the cab company may try to pay you as little as they can. Having a personal injury attorney on your side can make a huge difference if you have been hit by a taxi cab or were injured while a passenger in the taxi. The personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian legally represent victims of taxi crashes both in and out of court to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us online or at (800) 529-6162.