Texas Taxi Accident Attorneys
When riding in a cab as a passenger, you hope that the driver is safe, insured, and will get you where you need to go. But even with a taxi, accidents happen. Whether the accident is the fault of the driver or another individual, you will need skilled legal assistance to protect your rights.
The Beaumont car accident attorneys of Portner Bond, PLLC are experienced and knowledgeable in helping victims of taxi cab accidents pursue compensation for their accident-related injuries. Call us today at (409) 838-4444 for your free consultation.
Difficulties in Settling Claims
In any traffic accident, the question of who is most at fault—who is liable for the accident—is what the insurance companies argue over. If you are the passenger, it is very unlikely that you will be blamed for causing the accident. Instead, the insurance companies and their lawyers will be arguing over who has the larger share of liability for your injuries. This share, called contributory negligence or comparative fault, means that each party is responsible for its own percentage of an accident.
In other words, if the taxi company is held to be 40 percent liable for the accident, and the other driver is 50 percent liable, and a third party is ten percent liable, each of their insurers will have to pay that much towards your injuries. Because of these complexities, an attorney is highly recommended for these situations.
Multiple Parties, Multiple Lawsuits
Because of the comparative fault rule, it may be necessary to sue multiple individuals to obtain a full recovery for your accident-related losses. Take the above example. If the taxi company covered 40 percent of your injuries, you would still need to bring a claim against the other driver and the third party for the remaining 60 percent.
It is common in multi-party accidents for the parties to file crossclaims as well. If the taxi driver were also injured in the accident, the taxi company would have to sue the other driver on his behalf. These additional “moving parts” can make taxi accidents extremely complicated and take a long time to resolve.
What You Need to Do
When traveling by taxi, you should do is protect yourself from the start. Wear a seatbelt, even if the driver breezily assures you it is not needed. Failing to wear a seatbelt can reduce the amount of your recovery and can certainly increase your injuries if there is an accident.
Do not distract the driver. Although you will probably not be held liable for causing an accident merely for chatting with the driver, the insurance companies will be looking for any opportunity to reduce your recovery by suggesting the driver was not paying attention because you were distracting him or that you were otherwise responsible for the accident in some way.
If you are involved in an accident, you should take the following steps:
- Call the police and fire department if you are able. The taxi driver will call them or will notify their dispatcher, who will summon assistance, but you should also call the authorities yourself.
- If you can, try to document the scene. Take photos of the accident site and the damage to the taxi. Have someone take pictures of your injuries before the ambulance arrives. If possible, take pictures of the surrounding area, or take notes about the location. Note whether it was dark or well-lit, what the roadway was like, and whether there were any driver distractions.
- Get names and contact information for witnesses. When it comes to liability, the taxi company will be most concerned about protecting itself. You should have your own witnesses ready for your attorney to contact.
- Seek medical treatment. Even if you do not think you are injured, you should have a doctor check you out. It is best if you go to the emergency room with the ambulance, but if you do not or cannot, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Contacting an Attorney
Your attorney from Portner Bond, PLLC will be looking at several things. The amount of your recovery can depend upon who was responsible for the accident, and to what extent.
If the driver was responsible. Your attorney will look to see if the driver was distracted, not obeying the rules of the road, or was driving while impaired or drinking.
If the company was responsible. If the vehicle itself was poorly maintained or overdue for servicing or if the driver had a history of poor driving and accidents and the company was aware of it, this increases their liability. If the driver had warned the company that something was wrong with the vehicle, and the company had failed to repair the taxi, this would be something your attorney would bring up at trial.
The important thing to do is to retain an attorney who knows Texas insurance laws and the ins and outs of liability and negligence. Portner Bond, PLLC can help you there.
If You Are a Taxi Driver
A few words for drivers involved in an accident. Most of this advice is equally applicable to you as well, with just a few caveats. Your company should provide insurance for the vehicle and for you while you are driving if you drive within the law and the regulations of your company.
If you are an independent contractor, make sure you have the required liability, collision, and personal injury insurance for both your passengers and yourself. Keep your vehicle maintained and serviced according to the manufacturer’s suggested requirements. Never drive when you are distracted, ill, or taking medication.
If you are at fault in an accident, notify your company immediately, but do not admit fault at the scene. Your company should provide you with legal counsel or assist you with obtaining an attorney if you need one.
If you believe your interests are not being protected or that your company is throwing you under the bus to protect their own liability, you may need to obtain counsel on your own behalf. Portner Bond, PLLC offers free consultations to evaluate your case and determine whether we can help you with your case.
When the Taxi Driver Hit You
If you are the driver of a vehicle struck by a taxi, most of the same information already presented will apply, with a few additional steps.
- Note the taxi’s number as well as the license plate number. All taxis have a unique number assigned to them, usually on the front bumper and on the trunk or rear fender.
- Get the name of the driver and his taxi license number. Each city and county in Texas has its own permitting regulations for how taxi and for-hire drivers are licensed, so this helps establish whether the driver was licensed not just as a driver, but as a taxi driver in the area.
- Obtain the name of the company and the phone number. Taxi companies are frequently based out of a central location and serve multiple cities and counties. The company may use this to disclaim responsibility if you call a regional office instead of the central number. This is a situation for your attorney to handle.
- If the taxi had passengers at the time of the accident, try to get their information as well. Your attorney will want to talk to them regarding the driver’s behavior and conduct prior to the accident.
If you were involved in an accident with a taxi, it is important to remember that it is not only the driver who is involved but also the taxi company. They may be liable due to improperly maintained vehicles, poor hiring practices, or knowledge of employee misconduct. Getting this information will enable your attorney to ask the right questions quickly and start getting the answers they need to resolve your case.
No matter what the situation is, Portner Bond, PLLC at (409) 838-4444 will discuss your case with you and see what we can do to help you recover from your taxi accident. Contact us for your free consultation regarding your case today.