Can You Sue After a Taxi Accident in Massachusetts?
In addition to extensive bus and subway systems, taxis are still the go-to for quick, inter-city transportation. People may choose a mode of transportation or even a specific taxi company after weighing price, convenience, availability, and safety. Still, if you are injured in a taxi accident, you should know the legal options at your disposal for recovery.
You can file a lawsuit against a negligent taxi driver and their company or insurer for your injuries. You have this option whether you were in another vehicle at the time of the accident or were a passenger in the taxi itself. Accident injury victims may also sue an at-fault rideshare driver, whose company will have provided them with additional insurance coverage that is often more substantial than taxi insurance.
To hear more about your case and the potential recovery you could win, contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. Our Massachusetts personal injury attorneys can provide you with a free initial case evaluation to help you get started. Call our offices at (617) 539-8366.
Who Can Sue for Taxi Accident Injuries in Massachusetts?
No matter what your relation to the accident, if someone else was at fault for causing the collision that left you injured, you can bring a lawsuit against them to recover the damages you sustained. Below are some of the most common classes of party that file suit for taxi accidents in Massachusetts.
Yes, you can file a lawsuit against your own taxi driver if they negligently caused an accident that left you injured. When a person gets into a cab, they put a certain level of faith in the cab driver to behave reasonably as a driver. When they don’t, they incur liability for the consequences. If the accident that injured you was caused not by the cab driver but by another driver, you could instead sue the other driver or recover from your own insurance policy, despite the fact that you do not own the taxi.
Other Drivers and Passengers
In practice, a lawsuit against a taxi driver is the same as a lawsuit against any other driver who behaves negligently and causes you harm. If you are involved in an accident with a taxi driver, be sure to call the police to file an accident report and get information about the driver, their employer, and their insurance provider. Then, go to an emergency room to have your injuries diagnosed and treated before calling your Boston car accident lawyer.
Bicyclists and Pedestrians
You do not have to be in a vehicle in order to be injured in a taxi accident. Taxis typically operated in highly populated urban areas, where foot traffic and bicyclists are common. Taxis are known to make frequent stops and pull over to the side of the road, potentially swerving into bike lanes and putting bicyclists in danger. If you don’t have a car and therefore don’t possess collision insurance, a lawsuit can be your only method of recourse to obtain compensation for the damages that the taxi caused you. Call our Massachusetts pedestrian accident lawyer today to learn more about this.
How Do Taxis Pay for Damages if They Cause an Accident in Massachusetts?
One benefit of taxis from a liability perspective is that they are required by law to carry bodily injury insurance coverage to protect those who may be injured due to the negligence of taxi drivers. However, unlike most cities, Boston has, by comparison, a very low requirement: $20,000/$40,000 in coverage. For those of you that have always wondered what these two numbers mean, the first number ($20,000) represents that there is $20,000 of bodily injury coverage per person in an accident, and the second ($40,000) represents the bodily injury coverage for all individuals in the accidents. Compare this with New York and Los Angeles that require limits of $100,000/$300,000 and Dallas which requires upwards of $500,000. Boston also carries low requirements for property damage and personal injury protection.
These insurance limits are generally higher than whatever the limits for everyday drivers are required to carry, but just because taxis offer this protection does not mean you should not consider the risks. it is not necessarily feasible to avoid using taxis due to their low liability coverage. However, there are measures you can take to protect yourself in the event of accidents involving taxis or other uninsured or underinsured drivers.
Though not required by law, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is available by most insurance companies and will provide you an outlet for recovery if you are injured beyond what the taxi policy limits can payout. This type of insurance will also cover you if you are in an accident caused by someone who does not have insurance or has limited coverage.
What Happens if Your Taxi Accident Was Caused by Another Driver in Massachusetts?
In some cases, taxi passengers are injured because of collisions caused by other, third-party drivers. However, Massachusetts is a no-fault car insurance state. Therefore, in many cases, injured parties have to seek compensation by filing claims against the insurer of the car they were in. Only under specific circumstances can victims bring cases against other drivers.
Your ability to file a lawsuit against another, third-party driver that caused your crash will likely depend on the injuries you suffered. Victims will only be permitted to seek compensation from other drivers if they suffered at least $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses, or one of the following types of injuries:
- Severe and permanent disfigurement
- Broken or fractured bone
- Substantial loss of sight or hearing
There are certain categories of monetary damages available to plaintiffs in car accident lawsuits that cannot be recovered by those seeking benefits through their own insurers. For example, unlike insurance claimants, plaintiffs in car accident lawsuits may be compensated for physical pain and emotional suffering related to their injuries. If you believe your injuries qualify you to bring a case against another driver, you should contact our Massachusetts taxi accident attorneys right away. Our experienced attorneys can evaluate the strength of your claim and help build your case against the at-fault motorist.
Can You Sue After a Rideshare Vehicle Accident in Massachusetts?
In addition to taxis, ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have also complicated matters. These companies have not traditionally been required to carry liability insurance for their passengers at all—a controversial practice that has caused these companies to be outlawed in many U.S. cities. For more information, you can consult with our Cambridge Uber/Lyft car accident lawyer.
However, Uber and Lyft now do provide supplemental insurance coverage to their drivers that kicks in when their drivers are on the job. According to our Malden Uber & Lyft accident lawyer, the value of the coverage depends on whether the driver is actively transporting a fare, on their way to pick up a fare, or awaiting a request for a new fare. Still, in all of these cases, the coverage available is still more than the minimum coverage required for a taxi. If the driver does not have their rideshare application activated, they are viewed as simply another driver on the road.
Some locales, including Illinois, Colorado, and California have begun regulating ride-sharing companies to require them to provide insurance protection. Other jurisdictions have issued warnings about utilizing this form of transportation, and many such jurisdictions also have pending legislation that may require drivers to carry liability insurance similar to their taxi counterparts.
Unlike with taxi companies, Uber and Lyft are generally immune from being named in car accident lawsuits involving their drivers. This is because rideshare drivers are classified under the law as independent contractors, as opposed to traditional employees, like many taxi drivers. Therefore, you will likely be limited to only naming the rideshare driver in your lawsuit, though your recovery will come primarily from the rideshare company’s insurance coverage.
What Damages Can You Sue for After a Taxi Accident in Massachusetts?
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against a taxi driver or company in Massachusetts, one question that you probably have is about what your case may actually be worth. Without specific facts about the injuries you sustained and how the accident occurred, it is too difficult to say offhand how much a given case might recover in damages. However, our Massachusetts taxi accident lawyer are well-versed in estimating damages through individual case evaluations by applying the criteria that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts uses for damages.
Taxi accident victims can recover damages for both their economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages will typically include the direct financial costs associated with the accident consequences. If the plaintiff’s injuries required extensive medical treatment, physical therapy, or other adjustments to be made, economic damages will include those expenses, all the way down to hospital parking fees. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, will attempt to put a monetary value on the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your injuries.
In certain cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded selectively and are based on the heinous or reprehensible conduct of the at-fault party. For instance, if the taxi driver who caused your injuries was drunk at the time of the collision, the court may decide to punish the irresponsible behavior by assessing additional punitive damages. Talk to your Malden parking lot accident lawyer or Cambridge car accident lawyer about whether punitive damages might be reasonable in your case.
How Long Do You Have to Sue for a Taxi Accident in Massachusetts?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts imposes a strict three-year time limit on lawsuits for injuries stemming from car accidents. to comply with this limit, also known as the “statute of limitations,” you must file your official complaint with the court within three years of the date of the accident itself. Missing this deadline will be disastrous for your recovery, so we recommend that you contact one of our Malden car accident lawyers as soon as you have sought medical attention.
A lot of time and effort goes into preparing an effective complaint. Your lawyer will want to identify all at-fault parties and potential witnesses, as well as assess your medical records to determine your potential damages. This may be particularly complicated where the injuries are serious or where there were more than two vehicles involved in the accident. For the best chance at recovery, give your lawyer ample time to prepare your complaint by contacting the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today.
Common Causes of Taxi Accidents You Can Sue for in Massachusetts
A great number of taxi accidents occur because of taxi drivers’ careless and reckless behavior. Further, some accidents happen because of negligent acts committed by taxi companies. The cause of your accident may influence the process for recovering compensation in your case. Our experienced Massachusetts taxi accident attorneys can investigate whether your crash stems from any of the following forms of negligence:
Many taxi accidents occur because of speeding drivers. Taxi drivers may travel at high speeds because they want to complete as many rides as possible or because they are in a hurry to finish their last ride of the day. In any case, drivers travelling at excessive speeds will have difficulty controlling their vehicle and are prone to committing harmful mistakes behind the wheel. Furthermore, accidents that occur at high speeds are more likely to lead to severe injuries. Our attorneys can help victims prove that speeding drivers are at fault.
Distracted driving is also a common cause of taxi accidents. Drivers can become distracted when they take their hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or attention off the task of driving. The following are examples of activities that can distract taxi drivers in Massachusetts:
- Talking on the phone
- Talking with passengers
- Entering information into a GPS
- Choosing music for the stereo
- Eating or drinking
- Viewing social media on a mobile device
Some activities, like viewing social media or texting, can involve all three type of distraction. Distracted drivers will have difficulty reacting to traffic lights, other vehicles, and hazards in the roadway. Accordingly, many devastating collisions are caused by distracted drivers. Our Massachusetts taxi accident attorneys can offer guidance and support to victims of such accidents on their roads to recovery.
Illegal Lane Changes
Many taxi accidents also happen because of illegal lane changes. Motorists can commit illegal lane changes by changing lanes without using their turn signals or by attempting to change lanes in an illegal area. Accidents caused by illegal lane changes often occur on highways and crowded urban streets. Our attorneys can help build your case against a driver who committed an improper lane change.
Negligent Hiring and Retention Practices
Negligent hiring and retention practices are also a potential cause of taxi accidents in Massachusetts. Taxi companies are expected to perform proper background checks on their drivers. Furthermore, companies should not retain drivers who have demonstrated dangerous behavior.
If a taxi company fails to perform a background check for a potentially dangerous driver, or retains a driver that has exhibited negligent conduct, then the company may be held liable for accidents caused by that employee. Our experienced Massachusetts taxi accident attorneys can help determine if a taxi company’s negligent hiring and retention practices contributed to your crash.
Running Red Lights
Furthermore, a great number of taxi accidents are caused by drivers who run red lights. When motorists run red lights, they can cause devastating collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians travelling through intersections. Fortunately, motorists who run red lights may be held accountable for serious injuries they cause.
There are several forms of evidence that can be used to show that a driver who ran a red light is at fault. For example, physical evidence from the scene, expert witness testimony, and surveillance footage may all be utilized when proving fault for such a crash. If you suffered a taxi accident caused by a driver who ran a red light, you should contact our attorneys for help gathering and preserving the information needed to support your claim.
Tailgating is another common cause of taxi accidents in Massachusetts. Tailgating refers to the practice of travelling too closely behind the car in front of you. Tailgating drivers will have difficulty reacting accordingly if vehicles in front of them begin to brake. Accordingly, many rear-end collisions occur because of tailgating drivers. Such accidents often happen on highways and in areas with high traffic congestion.
Victims of accidents caused by tailgating drivers may pursue payment for the harm they incurred. Our Massachusetts taxi accident attorneys can help injured parties take the appropriate steps toward compensation.
Lack of Vehicle Maintenance
Lastly, lack of vehicle maintenance is another potential cause of taxi accidents. Taxi companies are expected to perform proper maintenance and upkeep on their vehicles. When companies fail to perform proper maintenance, devastating accidents can occur. For example, harmful rear-end collision may happen because a taxi company did not change the worn-out tires on their vehicle. Furthermore, a crash may occur because a taxi company did not properly tend to their vehicles deteriorating brakes. Our Massachusetts taxi accident attorneys can help hold companies responsible for accidents caused by the improper maintenance of their vehicles.
Our Massachusetts Taxi Accident Attorneys Can Help You File a Lawsuit Today
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Our knowledgeable attorneys at John J. Sheehan have the experience necessary to work with opposing counsel, insurance companies, and courts to ensure the best possible outcome for your legal claim. Our Somerville parking lot accident lawyer or Wakefield car accident attorneys can help you if you have been injured due to the negligence of a taxi driver or if you have been in any kind of auto accident. Do not hesitate to contact our offices for a free case evaluation today.