Across the state of New York there are approximately 16,650 people employed as taxicab drivers. Most of them work within New York City. (1) Not surprisingly then, New Yorkers can grab a yellow taxicab at almost any hour, to go almost anywhere in the city.
NYC Taxi Commission Keeps Track of Accidents
With more than 13,500 taxicabs on New York City streets, there is strict enforcement of licensing by the New York City (NYC) Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). (2)
The TLC not only licenses drivers and vehicles, it also tracks crashes involving death and serious injury. The TLC reported 40 fatal or critical injury crashes involving TLC-licensed drivers in 2018. There were also critical crashes in 2019. (3)
Additionally, TLC data indicates more than 1,600 crashes involving medallion taxis in NYC between January and September 2020; more than 350 of those crashes resulted in injuries. (4)
Injuries sustained in taxi accidents may range from minor to life-threatening. Yet, they often come with a heavy toll for victims.
If you have been seriously injured in a taxicab accident, it would be wise to consider taking legal action.
Causes of Taxi Accidents
Pinpointing the exact cause of a taxi accident can be difficult because any number of factors may come into play.
According to the National Safety Council, driver errors that lead to serious crashes included: (5)
- Aggressive driving (road rage or failure to yield right-of-way).
- Distracted driving (using cell phones or texting while driving).
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Improper lane usage.
- Not using safety belts.
Other driver related factors that can lead to accidents are: (6)
- Failure to observe traffic signals, signs, or rules of the road.
- Failure to adjust driving to correspond with road conditions.
- Lack of qualifications.
- Emotional state.
- Unfamiliarity with the road.
Serious Injuries from Taxis
Unfortunately, taxi crashes can result in serious injuries, even death.
Some of the injuries sustained in taxi accidents are:
Many of these injuries require expensive treatments and may involve lengthy recovery times. Such circumstances can jeopardize your financial security, as well as your mental and emotional well-being.
If you were injured in a taxi accident, you should talk to an attorney who can help you explore your legal options.
In the case of serious injuries, a lawsuit may be necessary so you can secure full compensation. That compensation is typically paid by insurance companies.
The NYC TLC requires taxis to carry insurance. The TLC sets minimum insurance levels according to the type of vehicle and the vehicle’s seating capacity. (7)
A taxicab is a commercial vehicle requiring “special and more comprehensive insurance” than a standard car. (8)
Commercial vehicles require personal injury protection, property damage liability, medical costs, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, just as standard car insurance does. (9) However, the amount of coverage required is much higher, as is the cost for that coverage.
Also, it should be noted that a case for a taxi accident would be handled differently than a case involving a rideshare vehicle. Rideshare vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft, generally have private insurance coverage rather than the more extensive commercial insurance.
The significant difference is that rideshare drivers are considered to be independent contractors, while taxicab drivers are employed by companies.
So, if a taxi driver was 100% at fault in an accident, the taxi company’s insurance must pay you 100% of the damages.
If the taxi driver was 50% at fault, and another driver was 50% at fault, the taxi company’s insurance pays you for 50% of the damages.
If another party was at fault for the accident, their insurance covers the damages.
Were you or a loved one injured in taxi accident? Call us now for a free consultation.
Insurance Conditions for Taxi Drivers
Remember, taxi drivers work for companies that have insurance for accidents. Since they are considered professionals, “Certain rules exist for taxi professionals. Drivers are required to meet certain conditions in order to be approved for coverage.” (10)
One of those conditions is an age requirement. Professional drivers must be between 25 and 65 years old. When older than 65, they must have passed a medical exam. (11)
Another condition is that taxi drivers must have a clean driving record. Once they have a certain number of violations, they become “absolutely ineligible” for insurance coverage. (12)
If a taxi driver who is involved in your crash does not meet a required coverage condition, this can support your case against the taxi company involved.
What to Do if You Are in a Taxi Accident
If you are in a taxi accident, here are some steps you should take to help protect your rights to compensation:
- First and foremost, seek medical attention. A visit to an emergency room documents your injuries. This can support your claims in any legal action you take against the taxi company.
- Collect evidence: photos, witness names and contact information, etc.
- Assess who is at fault. A copy of the police accident report can help make this determination.
- As soon as you are able, contact an attorney.
How W&L Can Help
Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys can help you through the legal process, deal with insurance claims, and protect your rights. Our experienced attorneys have a distinguished record of success.
Here are just a couple of cases W&L successfully handled:
- W&L won a $20.5 million, plus $3 million for medical expenses, verdict for a man paralyzed from the chest down in a hit-and-run car accident.
- W&L secured a $1.4 million settlement for a woman who was struck by an ambulance on a New York City street.