Have you sustained accident-related injuries while riding as a passenger in a taxi cab? If so, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries. Is it the driver of the taxi cab? Is it the taxi cab company? Perhaps the driver of a different car involved in the accident is to blame. Read on to learn who is responsible for your injuries if you were hurt during a taxi ride, and what you can do to prevent your settlement from being delayed by a liability dispute.
Single Vehicle Accidents
If you're riding as a passenger at the time of your accident, you cannot be implicated as being at-fault for the crash. In single vehicle accidents where the taxi driver hits an object that causes a passenger injury, or goes off the road while a passenger is in their vehicle, then the driver is obviously at fault, and the taxi cab company will be forced to assume responsibility for the insurance claim. When more than one car was involved in the crash, however, things get a little trickier.
If you were injured as a taxi cab passenger in a multi-car accident, your insurance settlement may be postponed while the drivers of the involved vehicles dispute their percentage of liability. Rarely will the drivers' insurance companies agree to an even split of the cost of your settlement. Instead, they'll try to claim that the bulk of liability lies with one of the other drivers involved in the accident, and so that driver's insurance company should pay a bigger portion of the claim. This dispute is resolved in one of two ways -- binding arbitration or a court hearing.
- Binding Arbitration - In most cases, the insurance companies will settle this dispute between themselves through binding arbitration. The process of binding arbitration is much like a court hearing, except for that its main purpose is to keep the case out of court to save time and protect the reputation of the insurance companies. The insurance companies may or may not choose to hire lawyers to present their case to an arbitrator, who will hear each side and offer a finalized decision. Binding arbitration is less formal than a court hearing -- you won't need to be present for it, and in many cases the entire process can be completed in less than a day.
- Court Hearing - If a settlement agreement cannot be reached through binding arbitration, then your case will go to court. While, as a passenger, you'll still be ruled out as being at-fault, you'll still need to be present, and should have a personal injury attorney to represent you.
What You Can Do After The Accident To Speed Up Your Settlement
If your personal injury claim must go to court in order to determine who is liable for your injuries, you could be looking at a long delay. Liability may be hard to prove, so you may need to wait for a slew of experts and officials to scrutinize your case and present their opinions. Fortunately, if you've responded accordingly following the accident, you can speed up the process by having the information the judge or jury needs to reach a verdict without much deliberation.
Each of the below actions will help the judge or jury more easily determine who is responsible for your injuries, and to what degree they are responsible.
- Accept Medical Attention Immediately Following The Accident - Let a medical professional thoroughly examine you at the scene of the accident. Your injuries may provide clues as to how the accident happened.
- File A Thorough Police Report - Call the police after your accident. They'll investigate the scene of the accident for signs of driver negligence. If you think someone may have witnessed the accident, mention it to the police -- they'll put the information in a police report and the witness can later be tracked down for testimony.
- Take Pictures - If you carry a cell phone with a camera, snap as many pictures of the scene of the crime as possible. Experts can examine these images and provide insight that may help determine who is liable in your case.
- Do Not Discuss Your Case With Anybody Without Consulting Your Lawyer - There is a good chance that the taxi cab company will try to track you down to make a fast settlement before the extent of your injuries can be fully determined; however, they're looking out for their own best interest and likely won't offer you the amount of compensation that you deserve. Never discuss your case with anybody before first consulting with your personal injury lawyer.
If you're hurt in an accident while riding in a taxi cab, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Where that compensation should come from, however, isn't always clear. In most cases, the insurance companies of the drivers involved in the accident will determine among themselves who should pay what portion of your settlement, but if your case goes to court, make sure you've taken the necessary steps to speed up the deliberation process. For more information on what to do if you are involved in a car accident, follow the link.