Compensation to Victims of NYC Taxicab Accidents is Seldom Cut and Dried
Taxicabs are a popular and efficient way for the many visitors and native New Yorkers to get around. Since New York seems to have more than its share of taxis, it comes as little surprise that they’re involved in many accidents. When that happens, it can often be difficult to figure out which insurance company is primarily responsible for compensating you, how much coverage is actually available to you, and whether any third parties should bear some of the cost of paying your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other legal damages. There is little data available on taxi accidents, as the latest New York City’s 2014 Taxicab Fact Book fails to include any data on accidents, injuries, or their causes. It has not been updated since then. But an earlier 2008 study by Schaller Consulting revealed some interesting information.
- Only 17 percent of cab passengers were wearing belts at the time of an accident, compared to almost 80 percent of those in passenger vehicles. But the study reported that “even when wearing restraints, taxi passengers experience high injury rates.”
- Almost all medallion cabs in New York have a hard, plastic partition separating the rear passenger area from the front. So with only 17 percent of passengers wearing seat belts, when an accident happens, many passengers are thrown against this barrier; and far more likely to suffer serious head or upper-body trauma.
If you were seriously injured in a wreck involving a New York City taxicab, the legal team at Kaplan Lawyers PC will aggressively hold the driver or taxi company accountable. We are well-versed in legal and insurance issues and can fight for maximum compensation to pay all of your damages. Over the years we have successfully argued cases and negotiated high-dollar insurance settlements for many people injured by the negligence and recklessness of taxi drivers. We handle cases in all five boroughs and all of Long island.
NYC Taxis Involved in Serious Traffic Accidents Almost Every Day
Taxicab drivers – like all drivers – are liable for injuries they cause when they hit other vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists, as well as their own passengers. And it’s common for taxi drivers to deny responsibility for an accident, claiming that a pedestrian walked out in front of the cab against a red light or a driver ran their red light in an intersection. In order to be licensed by the city, New York taxicabs are legally required to carry no-fault insurance. It pays for a certain level of damages – medical bills, wage loss and some expenses related to your injuries – regardless of who was at fault. But if you have suffered a serious injury, don’t be surprised if your bills and other losses end up being higher than the no-fault limits. Once no-fault insurance is exhausted, you may be able to seek further compensation from the taxicab company’s liability insurance. Licensed limousine and taxi services in New York City must carry liability insurance policies that pay a minimum of $100,000 to one person and $300,000 for all persons injured in a single accident. But unlicensed “gypsy cabs” could carry as little as $25,000 for one person and only $50,000 for all persons injured in one accident. New to the taxicab scene, Uber and Lyft ride-sharing drivers have $1 million in liability coverage. It’s also possible to augment the aforementioned compensation from the other driver in the accident if he or she shares blame for the wreck.
The Route to Compensation through a Cabbie’s Insurance Company is Seldom Easy
In spite of the true facts surrounding the accident that injured you, taxicabs, their companies, and their insurance carriers (and lawyers) will likely argue that you were partially (or completely) at fault in an attempt to reduce – or completely deny – their liability. Other common arguments cabbies use to wiggle out of paying damages include charges that you weren’t wearing a seat belt or that you were injured after you exited the taxi. That’s why the seasoned taxicab injury attorneys with Kaplan Lawyers PC work with experienced accident investigators to mitigate attempts by taxicab drivers, their employers and insurers to evade liability. Investigators measure skid marks, analyze vehicle damage, locate and interview witnesses, and find video footage from cameras in the area that reinforce your injury claims. If injured in a taxicab accident, you should demand that the police be called and that you be taken to a local hospital for immediate treatment. Without this important medical input, the chances of your being compensated are remote – even if you were injured – because the defendants can argue your injuries are not connected to the accident itself. Even if you’re feeling fine, demand to be taken to the hospital!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an attorney to handle my claim?
No, but it’s likely that the cab’s insurance company employs an army of attorneys, adjusters, and experts. To be fairly compensated you must hire a law firm which focuses on this type of law. Our legal team has decades of experience and a proven track record of maximizing settlements, which places us in the best position to assure you’ll get all you are entitled to.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
The statute of limitations (or time in which a claim must be brought) is three years for personal injury and two years for wrongful death from the date of the accident. If the claim is against a municipality, the time allowed can be significantly shorter. So you should consult an attorney quickly.
Can I bring a claim even if the cab driver wasn’t 100 percent at fault?
Yes. New York law follows the pure comparative negligence rule. It states that an injured party can be compensated for their injuries in proportion to their percentage of contributing to the accident. So, if a jury believes that a claimant was 10 percent at fault, the “negligent” party must pay 90 percent of the claimant’s damages.
Do I have to pay any legal fees if I lose my case?
No. Kaplan Lawyers PC works on a contingency basis, which means if we don’t win your case we don’t get paid.
How much is my case worth?
Any attorney who tells you they know how much your case is worth, sight unseen, either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or is being less than truthful. Our legal team has decades of experience, maximizes the value of your case, and can give you a reasonable projection once we know all the facts.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Every case is different. However, our legal team utilizes the most advanced technology and aggressive legal strategy to expedite our clients’ cases, generally resolving them favorably much faster than other firms.
What types of cases do you handle?
We have handled many taxicab, livery and pedestrian accidents. They can be caused by driver negligence, distraction, intoxication, defective auto parts or maintenance, or reckless driving. We also help injured people receive compensation from other types of accidents, such as workplace mishaps and slips and falls.
How will my medical bills get paid?
If you were a passenger in the cab, or a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by a cab, your medical bills will be paid by the cab’s insurance company. If you were the driver or passenger in a car that was hit by a cab, your medical bills will first be paid for by the insurance company for the car that you were in. However, you must file a No-Fault Application with the insurance company within 30 days from the date of the accident or risk waiving your right to file for all your benefits.
Does No-Fault pay for anything else?
Yes. No-Fault will also pay for lost wages, prescription costs, transportation to medical providers, and reasonable expenses for household services. It does NOT pay for pain and suffering.
What is the legal definition of a serious injury?
A serious injury is defined under New York law as death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
What is the legal definition of a serious injury?
A serious injury has been defined as death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
How will I know if my injuries are considered serious?
Many injuries sustained in taxi cab accident cases can progressively worsen over time. This makes it difficult to determine how serious the injuries are right after an accident. And it’s why you should retain a seasoned taxicab injury attorney immediately to assure that all filings are completed to protect your full compensation rights.
If my car or personal property was damaged in the accident with a cab, how can I get it fixed?
If you were a passenger in a cab, or a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by a cab, you must file a third-party claim with the cab driver’s insurance company to collect for the damage to your personal property. However, these can take significantly longer to resolve than medical bill reimbursements and other damages. If your car was damaged and you have collision coverage, you should file a claim with your insurance company. If any insurance company resists any claim you file after a taxicab accident, call an attorney immediately!
NYC Taxi Cab Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member has been injured in a taxicab accident, we offer a free consultation to discuss your case. We do not collect any legal fees unless we obtain a verdict or acceptable settlement on your behalf. Call Kaplan Lawyers PC in NYC at (516) 399-2364, or fill out our online contact form to arrange an appointment. If you’ve been hospitalized, we will come to see you.