Car accidents are harrowing experiences, and victims often wonder about their options for legal recourse following an accident. If an accident involves a taxi cab, victims typically have an easier time securing compensation for their damages, thanks to common carrier laws. A “common carrier” is any transportation service providing conveyance to the public for a profit. Taxi companies, bus companies, and other transportation organizations typically fall into the common carrier category and have a higher duty of care than other drivers.
How Does Common Carrier Law Work?
Just like any other car accident, the victim will have to prove that the at-fault driver was negligent, and his or her negligence caused the victim’s damages. The standard of proof in these lawsuits typically hinges on the plaintiff’s ability to prove the defendant’s negligence. In typical car accidents, this could include a driver using a cell phone while in motion, driving under the influence of alcohol, or failing to stop for a red light or stop sign. Since taxi cab drivers are obligated to observe common carrier laws, they have an even higher duty of care while driving than other independent drivers.
Unfortunately, taxi drivers are notorious for aggressive driving and speeding. Many cab drivers work long shifts and deal with difficult passengers on a regular basis. While this may make it more difficult for taxi drivers to meet their duty of care, it is not an excuse to breach that duty.
If a taxi driver’s negligence causes an accident, the injured plaintiff can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver with a high chance of success. However, common carrier law also allows for liability to fall to a cab company under some circumstances. For example, many cab drivers lease their cabs through the taxi companies that hire them. If a taxi company fails to perform adequate maintenance on a leased vehicle and a maintenance issue causes an accident, the taxi company may be held liable for the accident.
First Steps After a Taxi Cab Accident
If you find yourself involved in a taxi cab accident, your priority should be your personal health and well-being. Check yourself for injuries. The adrenaline rush from a car accident can dull pain sensations and sometimes render some injuries undetectable for hours after they occur. If you sustain serious injury, call 911 and wait for emergency responders. If you are able to move, check on the taxi driver and anyone else involved, and then start gathering evidence. Use your phone to take pictures of the accident site, the damage to the cab, your injuries, and the road around the accident site. These images will all help in case the question of liability arises later in court. California law requires citizens to report any accident that causes injury, death, or serious property damage immediately.
Once the police arrive, answer their questions fully and honestly until you are allowed to leave the accident scene. Your next step should be to see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you sustained serious injuries. Any delay can harm your chances of succeeding with a future lawsuit. A jury will assume that since you delayed seeking treatment your injuries may not have been as severe as you claim. Additionally, some injuries take time to manifest noticeable symptoms, so you could be putting your health at risk if you delay seeking treatment.
Contact a Taxi Cab Accident Lawyer
After you’ve handled your medical issues and obtained a medical report of your injuries and treatment plan, obtain a copy of the police report from the accident, and get in touch with a reliable personal injury attorney. The right attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary for navigating insurance issues, handle common carrier laws that apply to your case, and help secure compensation for your damages.