Taxi cabs are an important form of transportation, especially for people visiting the Phoenix area, or for those who cannot drive. If you have been injured as a passenger in a taxi or if a taxi cab has hit your vehicle, you have options to recover damages for physical injuries or property damage. The Kelly Law Team understands the nuances of taxi cab accident claims and can safely guide you to the compensation you deserve.
What Makes Taxi Cab Accidents Unique?
Taxis in Arizona are heavily regulated and must meet multiple registration, licensing and insurance requirements in order to operate legally in the state. Cab companies must also conduct criminal background checks on every driver.
Taxi cabs are classified as a “common carrier” similar to other forms of transportation like buses and trains. While historically common carriers were held to a heightened standard of care, the Arizona Supreme Court has changed course and now common carriers are held to the traditional reasonable person standard of care.
Insurance Coverage Requirements
All taxis in Arizona are required to maintain a specific level of insurance coverage, which is greater than the minimum coverage required for personal vehicles. Pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stats. § 28-4039, taxis carry specific minimum levels of insurance coverage.
When a taxi is available to transport, but has not accepted a ride request and is not transporting a passenger, it must have primary commercial motor vehicle liability insurance coverage in the amount of:
- $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of any one person in any one accident, subject to the limit for one person;
- $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident; and
- $20,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
- This policy may be maintained by either the driver or the company.
After the taxi has accepted a ride request and during the time the taxi is providing passenger transportation, the taxi must have
- primary commercial motor vehicle liability insurance of $250,000; and
- commercial uninsured motorist coverage of $250,000 per incident.
For further information on taxi licensing and insurance requirements, see the Arizona DOT website.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to recover damages from the taxi driver, the taxi company or another driver. Keep in mind that other factors like a vehicle defect or pedestrian may have contributed to the accident and a skilled Phoenix taxi cab accident attorney can help you determine what parties are responsible.
Accident while a passenger in a taxi cab.
If you were injured while riding as a passenger in a taxi, you have multiple options for recovery depending on who was at fault. If both drivers are to blame, you may file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against both drivers, leaving the parties to sort out liability. While at first glance this may seem like an easy proposition, without an attorney to fight on your behalf you may find yourself stuck in the middle. Both drivers and their insurers will likely dispute the extent of their liability forcing you to sue to recover full damages.
If the taxi driver is solely to blame, you are entitled to recover damages from the taxi cab company or taxi driver, depending on who carries the insurance.
If the other driver is at fault, your primary means of recovery is with the other driver. Taxi companies are not required to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, so you may have to rely on your own insurance coverage if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance.
Accident where a taxi cab hits your vehicle.
If your vehicle was in an accident with a cab and the taxi driver is at-fault, you will look to the taxi company for recovery since they own the cars and employ the drivers. If the taxi driver owns the car and operates independently, they are responsible for carrying insurance.
Common Causes of Phoenix Taxi Accidents
Like any auto accident, there are myriad reasons why taxis get into accidents but negligence is the most common cause. Most taxi cab drivers take great care to ensure their passengers make it safely from point A to B, but there are others who drive recklessly rushing from client to client to make more money. Taxi drivers may be negligent in the following ways:
- weaving in and out of traffic
- making quick or unsafe lane changes
- disregarding traffic signs like stop signs or traffic signals
- making unexpected U-turns
- being distracted by talking on their phones or with their dispatchers
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- fatigue after driving long shifts
Taxi cab accidents may also be the result of poor vehicle maintenance. Taxis are on the road for extended periods of time and companies may prolong necessary maintenance to keep the cabs running. Maintenance failures can lead to safety issues that cause accidents.
I’ve Been in a Taxi Accident, What Should I Do?
- Call 911 and get medical help for yourself and any injured parties.
- Cooperate with the police and share all information in an honest and accurate manner. Unless it is necessary for medical reasons, do not leave the scene without speaking with the police.
- Document the name, address, phone number and driver’s license number for all drivers. Record the license plate numbers for all vehicles involved.
- Obtain insurance information from the drivers. All drivers in Arizona, including taxi cab drivers, are required by law to carry auto insurance.
- Take pictures of any damage to your vehicle, the other vehicle, and any other property.
- Gather contact information from witnesses.
- Do not speak with insurance adjusters until you have had time to consult an attorney. Any misstatement could reduce your potential recovery.
Taxi Accident Injuries and Damages
Injuries from taxi cab accidents are generally consistent with those in other auto accidents. However, many taxi drivers are lenient about seat belt use, which can greatly increase a passenger’s chance of injury. Make sure to seek medical attention immediately in order to properly diagnose and treat any injuries and get you back on the road to recovery.
Potential damages will depend on your accident and the extent of your injuries and may include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earnings and emotional distress.
Rideshare and Taxis—Not the Same
While not discussed here, it is important to note that rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are not the same as taxis and may fall under different rules. Since the law surrounding the employment status of rideshare drivers is unsettled, determining the correct party to sue is not always clear and it is best to consult with an attorney.
Taxi cab accidents may be more complicated than a traditional auto accident, so rely on the experienced Kelly Law Team to fight for you. Call now for a free consultation at 602-283-4122.