Answers To The Most Frequently Asked Questions In Taxicab Accident Cases
1. I was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was involved in a collision with a taxicab, who can I sue?
You can sue whoever is at fault for the accident, including the driver of the taxicab and the taxicab company, as well as the driver of your own vehicle. Further, you can maintain an action against any other person or entity that is responsible for the accident such as a public entity for a dangerous condition of the roadway or the manufacturer of one of the vehicles if there was a defective condition.
2. I was the driver of a vehicle which collided with a taxicab, but I believe that I was partly at fault for the accident. Can I sue?
Yes. As long as you can prove that the taxicab driver was partially at fault for causing your injuries or the death of a loved one, you can sue. California is a comparative negligence state, which means that your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of your negligence. Thus, if you are awarded $1 million for your injury and found to be 50% at fault, your award will be reduced to $500,000. In addition to suing the taxicab company and owner, you can sue anybody else who may have been at fault for the accident.
3. I was a pedestrian, crossing the street in a crosswalk, when a taxicab hit me in the crosswalk causing me a severe injury. Who can I sue?
You can sue the driver of the taxicab as well as the taxicab company itself. Further, if there was anybody else responsible for the accident such as another driver who the taxicab was trying to avoid, or a dangerous condition of property, you can also sue the other responsible party.
4. I was the driver of a taxicab that was involved in a collision with another vehicle. I received a severe injury in the accident. Can I sue the other driver?
Yes. Cabdrivers have all the rights of anybody else who is driving a motor vehicle. If you are injured as a result of the fault of another motor vehicle driver, whether it was a bus, auto or truck, you are entitled to bring a lawsuit and to be compensated for your injuries.
5. My wife was a passenger in a cab that was in a collision with another vehicle. She was killed in the collision. Can I sue the cab company?
Yes. As one of the survivors of your wife, under the law, you can sue whoever is responsible for the accident including the taxicab company, the driver of any other vehicle, and any other person or entity who was responsible for your wife’s death.
6. Do passengers in taxicabs have any special rights and protections?
Yes. A taxicab company is considered a “common carrier” under California law. Thus, it has the duty to exercise the utmost care for the safety of passengers. The taxicab driver and company must do all that human care, vigilance and foresight can reasonably do under the circumstances, and is responsible for even the slightest negligence.
7. When does the cab company’s duty to utilize the utmost care for protection of passengers start and stop? Do they have the duty of due care even before the passenger enters the car or after the passenger exits?
The taxicab company’s duty to exercise the utmost care for a passenger begins when the passenger lets the cabdriver know that he or she intends to board, and the taxicab intends to accept the person as a customer. The cab company’s duty of utmost care stays in effect until the passenger has safely left the cab, at a relatively safe place, out of the way of other traffic, and is no longer exposed to the risks of the taxicab’s operation. Thus, taxicab companies have been held responsible for attempting to load or unload passengers in an unsafe place and starting the cab before the passenger is safely on board.
8. What damages can I recover in a taxicab accident case?
Plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for past and future and medical expenses, past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering, and if it is deemed that conduct is bad enough, punitive damages (i.e., punishment damages against the defendant). If the passenger in the taxicab dies, his or her survivors are entitled to recover full compensation for their economic losses that result from the passenger’s death as well as emotional distress damages which stem from the loss of society care and comfort of the decedent. If the survivors can prove that the plaintiff lived for a period of time between the negligent act and death, they can also bring an action for punitive damages.
9. How soon do I need to bring a claim?
In a taxicab accident case, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a complaint. However, under certain circumstances the time period can be extended, particularly if there is a delayed discovery of an injury. If the accident in any way involves a public entity, the claim against the public entity must be filed in six months.
10. Do I need to hire an attorney in a taxicab accident case?
Taxicab companies usually have sophisticated claims offices and will send an investigator to the accident site, sometimes before the police arrive. The investigation will attempt to put the blame for the accident on anybody other than the taxi driver and taxi company. If you are a taxi driver, this is a good thing; however, if you are another person involved in the accident, it is not. A person trying to settle a claim with a taxi company is at a distinct disadvantage. Thus, usually, it is wise to retain an attorney in this type of case. This would be true even if you are a taxi driver who is injured in an accident as a result of the fault of another driver.
11. Will my case settle out of court?
Probably. Over 90% of cab accident cases settle at some point before trial.
12. Will I need to retain expert witnesses to win my case?
It depends on the case. In any serious injury or death case where there is any dispute as to fault or damages, any good attorney will retain the necessary experts for you to win and receive just compensation for your losses.
Most legal questions require complex answers. The answers provided here may not be complete or fully accurate but attempt to provide consumers with abbreviated answers. For more detailed answers to these questions, a consumer should check out other articles in this section of this website, research other legal articles and texts on the subject matter or consult with an attorney.