The most popular form of hired vehicle in Boston is online ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft, which have become increasingly popular over the past five years. Of course, taxis, local buses, and trains still exist, but they are frequently falling behind Uber and Lyft. Still, accidents could occur between any type of public transportation and private cars.
If you were injured in a collision, a Boston Uber/taxi accident lawyer may be able to help. They could identify all sources of compensation and hold the at-fault parties accountable.
Taxi/Uber/Lyft Accidents vs. Car Accidents
The main difference between a car accident with a taxi or Uber driver and a car accident with someone driving for personal transportation is the insurance coverage.
Typically, the taxi itself is owned by a corporation or a limited liability company. The medallion, or taxi license, might be owned by another company or they might be owned by the same company that owns the taxi. A lawyer may need to navigate through the different ownership of the taxi, the medallion, and the driver to make sure they put the proper insurance companies on notice.
Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, the taxi insurance coverage limits for bodily injury are woefully low, only $20,000 per claim and $40,000 per occurrence, which is the minimum in for any auto insurance policy. A victim could be in a situation where the available insurance is insufficient to cover the damages caused by the negligent taxi driver.
As far as Uber and Lyft and other car-for-hire services, insurance becomes more complicated. Ride service drivers are considered independent contractors, so an injured person would have to be able to identify the driver, bring a claim against them, put them on notice for their insurance, and see what the available insurance coverages are. The claims process for Uber and Lyft accident cases continues to evolve as the companies grow.
What to Do After an Accident
If a person is in an accident with a hired driver, whether it was the hired driver’s fault or some other driver’s fault, they should make sure that they have the hired driver’s contact information, including any license information. They should take photos of the car, preferably from all angles, and especially make sure they get the license plate so they can identify the vehicle later in case the driver disappears.
Boston Common Carriers
Common carriers include the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, which is the train and bus service in Boston. Buses and trains in the greater Boston metropolitan area are also considered common carriers, as are bus companies like Greyhound, for example. Taxis are not considered common carriers because they carry specific fares. Special regulations may apply to an accident involving a common carrier, regulations which an experienced attorney could help navigate.
Retaining an Experienced Attorney
A person should hire a personal injury attorney when dealing with car accidents involving an Uber driver or another common carrier to make sure that, first and foremost, their rights are fully protected. A lawyer could ensure that the accident itself is thoroughly investigated, that witnesses are identified and interviewed, and that their statements have been taken down, recorded, and preserved. A lawyer could also ensure that all potential defendants or responsible parties are identified, that their insurance companies have been identified and notified.
Finally, a lawyer could verify insurance coverages and make sure that the injured party complies with all notification requirements and cooperation requirements involved in the various auto insurance policies.
There is a two-year presentment requirement under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 258, the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. If a complainant does not comply with the presentment requirements within those two years, they will be forever barred from bringing any claim, even though the Massachusetts statute of limitations is three years in accidents involving a city or town or government-owned vehicle. For those reasons, it is important from the very beginning to hire an experienced Boston Uber/taxi accident lawyer to represent you.