When someone speaks about New York City, a couple of things come to mind: Central Park, Times Square, and really tall buildings, to name a few.
If you keep talking about New York, eventually those ubiquitous yellow taxicabs come to mind. A common complaint about New York City is traffic and congestion, even with taxis in town to supposedly help relieve the situation.
Taxicabs are a special category of vehicles, but they are not immune to traffic incidents like collisions or crashes. What makes taxis special is their designation as “common carriers,” meaning that they carry passengers for profit while also serving as a form of “public” transportation.
If you are involved in a car accident with a cab, either as a driver or passenger in the cab or as a driver or passenger in another vehicle, and you suffer injuries, knowing your rights and how they differ from your rights in a more typical passenger collision is extremely important.
Being a “common carrier,” cab companies are held to a bit of a lower standard of care than passenger car drivers and their owners. This is one of the reasons representatives of the cab company will often be on the scene of an accident even before the police, trying to gather whatever information they can to bolster the company’s case that liability for the accident does not fall on the company or its driver. A cab company will be very aggressive in defending itself because the laws are set up so that the company has a public trust as a “common carrier,” and as such, there is a reasonable expectation that the company will employ experienced, licensed, and qualified drivers and maintain their vehicles properly so passengers are transported safely.
If you are injured in an accident involving a taxicab and are not the driver of the cab, you need to be decisive in giving details about the accident to the police for the official report and must collect as many witnesses as you can (at least names and phone numbers) to supplement the report. A cab company will have aggressive lawyers who may try to paint you, the passenger, as someone difficult or distracting to raise doubt of liability or may make charges about road conditions or something the other driver did that may have caused the accident.
Liability in these cases could fall on the cab company if it knowingly hired an untrained driver or is shown to have a spotty maintenance record for its vehicles. Liability could fall on the taxi driver for lacking driving credentials, poor driving, or driving while distracted or impaired. A passenger in a taxi, however, could be held accountable if the passenger was distracting or somehow difficult and caused the driver to lose focus on the road.
Taxicab accidents have many moving parts, and they require a thorough investigation concerning root causes. Everyone involved in a cab accident has rights, and those rights should be defended thoroughly, especially after fault is determined through the police report, witness statements, and forensic investigation of the scene.
Take no chances. Have a quality personal-injury lawyer on your side to represent you through the untangling of facts in a cab accident case.
Abraham Jaros is the co-partner and founder of Jaroslawicz & Jaros. A seasoned and successful trial lawyer who began his career over 40 years ago, Mr. Jaros has tried hundreds of cases and won numerous multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of his clients. Mr. Jaros is proud that he always makes himself available to clients to answer any questions whether by email, phone, or in person.