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) 925-6407.
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.
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.
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.
However, Uber and Lyft now do provide supplemental insurance coverage to their drivers that kicks in when their drivers are on the job. 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 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.
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 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.