There are dozens of taxicab companies offering service for individuals in and around Bradenton. While this transportation mode is well-established, only a Bradenton taxi lawyer knows the challenges that arise in a taxi accident.
If a Bradenton taxi accident injured you, read on for more information about how these accidents occur, as well as what makes obtaining compensation for your injuries difficult. For more information about the legal process of recovering damages, and for answers to the questions you have about your specific case, be sure to contact the Bradenton taxi accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group for a free case evaluation.
Types of Bradenton Taxi Accidents
As with any type of motor vehicle accident, no two taxi accidents are exactly alike.
Common taxi accident scenarios include:
- A taxi passenger who becomes injured when the taxi driver causes an accident with another motor vehicle.
- A taxi passenger who becomes injured when the taxi driver causes a single vehicle accident. A single vehicle accident can involve the taxi striking an object, running or rolling off the roadway, or even a pedestrian or bicyclist.
- A taxi passenger who is injured when another motorist causes an accident with the taxi.
- The occupant of another vehicle who becomes injured when the vehicle is struck by a taxi.
- A pedestrian or bicyclist who becomes injured when they are struck by a taxi.
Common Causes of Taxi Accidents in Bradenton
Taxicabs are motor vehicles designed to travel the roadway just as any other motor vehicle. As such, drivers are prone to the same sort of errors as other motorists, including:
- Driver fatigue: Fatigued driving is a risky driving practice. It can often have similar impacts to the skills needed for safe driving as alcohol impairment does, including the inability to maintain one's own lane of travel, accelerate or brake effectively, or make good vehicle control decisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatigue is a major risk factor for taxi drivers, who often work long hours and during late-night shifts that disrupt the Circadian rhythm—which is the body's instinct to sleep during hours of darkness. U.S. taxi drivers have the highest rate of nonfatal work-related motor vehicle injuries treated in emergency departments, and a roadway fatality rate that is 3.5 times higher than that of all civilian workers.
- Distracted driving: Driver distractions are another major cause of traffic accidents. Taxi drivers are as prone as any other motorist to becoming distracted. Three types of distractions can cause motor vehicle accidents: visual distractions, which cause a driver to take his or her eyes off the road; manual distractions, which result in the driver taking his or her hands from the wheel; and cognitive distractions, which draw the driver's mind from the task of safe driving. Texting while driving is of particular concern to traffic and health experts, as it causes all three types of distractions. In fact, as noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when traveling at highway speeds, in the time that it takes a driver to read or reply to a text, he or she will have traveled the length of a football field without looking at the road. Other forms of distraction include eating or drinking; adjusting the stereo, meter, GPS, or other vehicle instruments; visiting with passengers; or external distractions such as other cars, people, or previous accident scenes.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way: All motorists must yield the right-of-way to others in certain conditions, such as at a red light or a stop sign, or when entering a crosswalk. Failing to do so is a frequent cause of taxi and other motor vehicle accidents.
- Aggressive driving: Taxi drivers spend hours on a road during a shift. During this time, they are likely to encounter stressors, such as bad driving practices by other drivers, impatient passengers, and traffic congestion. These factors can lead to aggressive driving practices to evade congestion or even to make a point to another driver. Examples of aggressive driving include failing to yield the right-of-way, as well as speeding; tailgating; erratic lane changes; illegal driving on the shoulder of the road, in a ditch, on a sidewalk, or median; improper turns; and failure to signal.
- Alcohol impairment: Most taxi drivers are subject to drug and alcohol screening as a term of employment. However, with an estimated one in three fatal motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. involving a drunk driver, there is cause for concern not only that the taxi driver could be drinking on the job, but that other motorists sharing the roadway with your taxi driver could be drunk. Drinking and driving is extraordinarily dangerous, as it impacts reasoning, judgment, and the ability to drive and control your vehicle effectively.
- Ineffective training: Florida law does not require special training for taxi drivers. However, if the driver is an employee of a cab company, the company could be found vicariously liable for the actions of its employees, particularly if they have failed to adequately train the employee to do his or her job.
Sources of Liability in Bradenton Taxi Accidents
There are numerous potential sources of liability in a Bradenton taxi accident.
Depending on the details of your case, liable parties can include:
- The taxi driver, who failed to uphold a greater duty of care while transporting paying passengers.
- The taxi driver's employer, who is tasked with ensuring that the driver has been properly screened through a criminal background check and a review of his or her driving record, as well as ensuring that the driver has been properly trained and appropriately supervised to ensure that regular breaks are being taken to prevent fatigue. Note: Not all taxicab drivers have an employer, as many work as independent contractors, either owning or leasing their own vehicles and maintaining their own insurance.
- Another motorist who caused an accident through reckless or careless driving behaviors.
- The mechanic or shop responsible for maintaining the taxi and ensuring that it is in good repair.
- The manufacturer or distributor of auto parts used on the taxi or other vehicles, if the accident resulted from defective auto parts.
One of the valuable services your taxi accident attorney could provide for you to determine all sources of liability in your case and all insurance resources that can be accessed to compensate you. Contact Dolman Law Group today for more information about your legal options.
The Duty of Care that Bradenton Taxi Drivers Owe You
A taxi is a common carrier, meaning that it transports people from one place to another for a fee. As such, taxi passengers receive a higher duty of care than other motorists owe each other. A “duty of care” is a legal term that describes the actions that a reasonable person would take in similar circumstances. All motorists owe a duty of care to operate motor vehicles safely and legally.
Examples of the enhanced duty of care that is owed by a taxi driver to his or her passengers include:
- The duty to stop in a reasonably safe place to avoid hazards that could cause injury to the passenger as he or she exits the vehicle.
- The duty to assist the passenger in getting into or out of the cab if the passenger requests this assistance or has a fragile condition that makes the need for assistance readily apparent.
- The duty to keep the vehicle properly maintained and to regularly inspect the vehicle for obvious signs of wear or hazards with any of its systems.
Obtaining Compensation for Your Bradenton Taxi Accident Injuries
If a taxi accident injured you, either as an occupant of another motor vehicle or a bicyclist or pedestrian, your initial resource for compensation to help with your injury-related expenses will likely be your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy that you or your household member were required to purchase when you registered your car in the state. This policy will provide a portion of your medical expenses and injury-related wage loss, regardless of fault, up to the policy limit. However, if you are a taxi passenger, your PIP policy will not provide coverage for your injuries.
Why Your Own PIP Policy Would Not Cover Injuries if You Are a Bradenton Taxi Passenger
The reason your PIP policy would not cover the injuries you sustained in an accident as a taxi passenger is because taxis are designated as common carriers rather than motor vehicles for automobile insurance purposes under Florida law.
While this eliminates the (theoretically) quick option of filing a claim with your own insurance company to pay for early medical and wage loss expenses, it also eliminates the no-fault process and allows the opportunity to recover damages for more types of expenses than PIP policies cover and allows injured individuals to claim non-economic, quality-of-life damages.
The Insurance that Taxis Are Required to Have in Florida
In most cases involving a motor vehicle accident, an individual's PIP policy will provide coverage for passengers in addition to the driver. However, Florida taxicabs are not required to carry PIP policies.
They are, however, required to meet the following insurance requirements:
- Bodily injury liability of $125,000 per person and $250,000 per accident.
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
If your taxicab driver or the taxi company failed to have the proper amount of insurance as required by Florida law and the accident was the fault of the taxi driver, liability for the expenses and impacts of your injury still exists. However, it will likely be extraordinarily difficult to collect compensation from the at-fault party in this circumstance as most small companies or independent contractor drivers cannot afford to pay for someone's injury expenses out-of-pocket.
Insurance is important when pursuing damages because it pays compensation.
The Bradenton Taxi Accident Process
If a Bradenton taxi accident injured you, you could pursue the recovery of damages through a personal injury lawsuit. You must file your Bradenton taxi accident in civil court within four years after the date of the accident. This claim requires you to not only prove liability for your accident, but also show the expenses and quality-of-life impacts that you incurred because of your injury.
Liability in a Florida taxi accident can be proven by showing the following elements in your case:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care.
- There was a breach in that duty of care.
- The breach resulted in the accident, which caused your injuries and subsequent expenses and impacts on your quality of life.
Florida law allows eligible accident victims to file a Bradenton taxi accident lawsuit to seek the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. "Damages" describe payments to compensate for harm. Economic damages pay for the expenses incurred because of the injury. Non-economic damages compensate for impacts that the injury caused to the individual's quality of life.
Some examples of the types of impacts and expenses that are commonly seen in damage claims include:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Property damage, such as damage that would be sustained by your vehicle if it was involved in an accident with a taxi.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bradenton Taxi Accidents
If a Bradenton taxi accident injured you, you likely have questions. Motor vehicle accidents often produce injuries that are not only painful and costly, but can result in further financial stress caused by being too injured to work. Listed below are some of the questions our taxi accident clients in Bradenton ask us most often. For more information about the legal options in your specific circumstance, contact Dolman Law Group today.
I was just in a Bradenton taxi accident. What should I do?
As with any motor vehicle accident, if you are in an accident involving a taxi, you should:
- Seek medical attention. Even if you do not feel hurt, it is always important to have a medical evaluation after an accident. Many serious injuries present with delayed symptoms, and the adrenaline rush you experienced during the accident can also mask the pain of an injury for several hours.
- Call 911. The accident must be reported to the police, and they will generally come to the scene to investigate—particularly if the accident involves injuries and because it involves a common carrier. Additionally, the emergency services dispatcher can also send an ambulance for you or anyone else that the accident injured.
- Take pictures. Pictures are important evidence that can tell investigators and attorneys a lot about how the accident occurred. If you can, take photos of any visible injuries you sustained, as well as damage to all vehicles involved, and images that identify the scene and the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
- Obtain contact information for all of the drivers involved. Do not attempt to determine liability at this point and try to guess whose insurance and contact information you may need for a claim. Simply collect the following information from each driver: full name; a way to contact the individual by phone or email; the make, model, color, and year of the vehicle that he or she was driving; driver's license number; license place number; insurance policy number and the name of the insurance carrier. You should also collect the badge number and name of the officer investigating the accident and contact information from any eyewitnesses at the scene.
- Obtain a copy of the police report. The officer who arrives at the scene can inform you of when the report will be available and how you can obtain a copy.
- If your personal vehicle was in the accident, report the accident to your auto insurance provider, even if you do not plan to file a claim against your own policy. Most insurance policies have this requirement listed in the fine print. Failing to report an accident as you contractually agreed to do when you purchased the policy can result in the insurance carrier refusing to pay a claim or even dropping your coverage.
- Contact a taxi accident attorney who can tell you your legal options.
Does my Bradenton cab driver have to provide a car seat so that my child can ride?
A state law passed in 2015 requires securing all children traveling in vehicles on Florida's roadways in car seats through age five. This includes when they are riding in taxicabs. The law spells out the parents' responsibility for providing a federally approved car seat for their child's use. However, many taxi cab companies can furnish a car seat upon request. If you are traveling to the area and need a car seat, be sure to ask the taxi company you plan to use for your transportation needs to ask about this option and any additional fees for providing a child car seat.
Is there any way that a Bradenton taxi passenger can be found liable for an accident?
Generally, a taxi passenger has an easier time filing a claim after an accident than the taxi driver or other motorists would because the passenger did not have control over any vehicle involved, and therefore likely bears no liability for the accident. However, in limited circumstances, the liability issue may include a passenger whose unruly behavior in the cab may have caused an accident.
The passenger could bear some liability if they exited the car in traffic and another motorist hit them.
My spouse was killed in a Bradenton taxi accident. Can I file a claim?
You would file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. However, while personal injury lawsuits bear a statutory deadline of four years, the deadline to file a wrongful death claim in Florida is two years. A personal representative of the deceased's estate must file the claim on behalf of the deceased's surviving family members as well as the estate.
The family members who are eligible to benefit from such a claim include:
- The deceased's spouse, children, and parents.
- Any other blood relative or adoptive sibling who was wholly or partially dependent on the deceased for services and support.
The impacts and expenses that can result in a damage award for the claimant include:
- The value of support and services provided by the deceased to his or her family members.
- The loss of companionship, guidance, and protection was provided to family members by the deceased.
- The cost of medically treating the deceased's final injuries, if those expenses were paid directly by a family member.
- The cost of funeral services, burial, or cremation was paid directly by a family member.
The personal representative can also recover damages for the estate, such as:
- Medical and funeral provisions paid directly by the estate.
- The loss of wages and benefits that were incurred by the estate as a result of the death.
- The loss of prospective net accumulations from future wages and benefits that the deceased would have likely earned if he or she had survived the accident.
The Bradenton taxi driver's insurance company wants to talk to me. Should I take the call?
No. Never speak with an insurance adjuster after an injury accident—even from your own insurance provider—unless it is to report the accident. Insurance companies use tactics to avoid large payouts for accidents caused by their insureds. These tactics may include calling an accident victim and asking questions to get the victim to admit to some wrongdoing or contradict a statement they provided in the accident report. The information the insurance adjuster collects from you can be used against you and can greatly reduce the value of your case.
To avoid having the insurance company use your words against you, entrust communication with them to your attorney.
What happens if the statute of limitations runs out before I have a chance to file my Bradenton taxi accident claim?
If you fail to file your Bradenton taxi accident claim within four years of the date on which the accident occurred, or your wrongful death claim within two years of the deceased's date of death, the court can refuse to hear your case and you can lose out on the potential to recover damages related to your injuries.
I was partially responsible for the accident I got into with a Bradenton taxi. Does that mean I cannot file a claim?
If you are partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, you can probably still file a claim against other at-fault parties who also have liability. Call us to find out.
The Bradenton taxi driver who just arrived to pick me up is slurring and smells like alcohol. What should I do?
Under no uncertain circumstances should you get into a taxi if you suspect the driver is impaired by alcohol. Instead, refuse the ride, call 911 to report the incident, and if the driver is an employee of a taxicab company, contact the company to report your suspicions as well.
I am a Bradenton taxi driver who was injured in an accident caused by another motorist. Is there compensation available for me?
Yes. Whether that compensation comes from a claim against the worker's compensation policy that your employer is required to carry on your behalf or whether you will need to seek compensation through the Bradenton taxi accident process depends on the details of your case. Your attorney would explore the legal options that are available for you and can assist with either process. Contact Dolman Law Group today to get started.
What evidence is needed to prove liability in a Bradenton taxi accident?
If you took photos of the accident scene, your attorney will likely want to see those, as well as a copy of the police report. Often, police reports are inadmissible in court, as they feature a narrative of the events that caused an accident that was written by an officer who likely did not see the accident take place and only has the word of those involved as well as evidence gathered at the scene. However, the police report can provide many different clues as to the source of liability in an accident.
Your attorney will also want to obtain employment and driving history records for the driver from his or her employer, if he or she is not an independent contractor. Your attorney could also consult with experts such as medical or accident reconstruction specialists to provide more evidence to not only help prove liability, but also to help show the impacts of your accident and your likely prognosis.
There is much more evidence that may become necessary, depending on the details of your case.
I cannot afford an attorney. Can I file my Bradenton taxi accident claim on my own?
Dolman Law Group's Bradenton taxi accident attorneys offer two special services that assist individuals in obtaining the legal assistance they need without regard to their ability to pay.
Those services include:
- A free case evaluation, which provides you an opportunity to learn more about the firm and get answers to legal questions pertaining to your specific case without charge or obligation.
- A contingent fee payment scheme. Contingent fee payment means that our clients do not owe us for our services until there is an outcome to their case.
Your attorney will provide other crucial services for your case that would be incredibly difficult for you to obtain on your own, such as:
- A determination of all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can be accessed to compensate you.
- Timely filing of all court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction and attendance on your behalf at all pre-trial conferences and hearings.
- The establishment of a value to your case that is based on the expenses and impacts to your life that you have experienced as a result of your injuries as well as those you will likely experience in the future.
The collection of evidence and eyewitness or expert testimony to strengthen your case.
Call Our Bradenton Taxi Accident Attorneys Today
Let the Bradenton taxi accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group help you to make sense of the legal process of pursuing compensation for your injuries. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Dolman Law Group at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or by contacting us online.
6703 14th Street West Suite 207
Bradenton, FL 34207
Phone: (941) 613-5747
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