Escondido attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. These visitors rely on non-traditional modes of transportation to roam around, including buses, rideshare services, and taxis.
As passengers, we rely on taxis to get us from one place to another safely in the city of Escondido. Because taxis are common carriers in the area (just like buses, planes, and limos), there are certain laws and regulations that taxi businesses must follow to be able to operate, which include the amount and type of insurance they are required to hold.
Though California laws protect taxi passengers, accidents still happen. If you (or a loved one) are injured from a taxi accident, contact the Escondido taxi accident attorney at the Law Offices of Marino & Tye LLP. Our team is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.
The Legal Requirements for Taxi Drivers
Logistically, an accident involving a taxi is no different than any other vehicular accident. The processes you need to take after an accident are the same:
- Check for injuries
- Call emergency services
- Gather evidence
- Exchange information
- Report the accident
However, there are certain things that set taxi drivers apart from other drivers on the road.
California’s common carrier laws require all taxi drivers to hold a minimum level of liability insurance. Specifically, each driver must have all of the following:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability for one injured person
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability for two or more injured people
- $5,000 for property damage
In addition to the insurance requirements, all taxi drivers must undergo a background check before employment and maintain a valid commercial driver’s license. A company that fails to ensure compliance with these laws may bear financial responsibility in an accident.
Common Causes of Taxi Accidents
Taxi cabs can be involved in accidents just like any other vehicle, both minor and serious. But unlike other drivers, taxi drivers carry a higher level of responsibility and are held to a higher standard, which is why it is imperative to be extra careful while on the road.
Common causes of taxi accidents include:
- Bad (or aggressive) driving – This happens because taxi drivers can become complacent. They can take short cuts, ignore traffic laws, or make risky moves through traffic. Work demands can also increase the chances that a driver will make a poor decision.
- Distracted driving – An estimated 391,000 drivers were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2017 across the US. And, although distracted driving is most commonly associated with cell phone usage, a taxi driver may also be distracted by the passengers themselves, the radio, or other mobile devices—including any apps or communication equipment used by the taxi company to communicate with him.
- Speeding – Speeding is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States and taxi cabs are not an exception. A taxi driver may exceed the speed limit due to time constraints from the passenger or pure negligence. High speed reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases the amount of time it takes to bring the vehicle to a stop. It can also increase the severity of injuries.
Possible Damages After A Taxi Accident
One should be aware that no two auto accidents are exactly the same; this is particularly true for cases involving taxis. This means that several variables can affect the outcome of your case. That said, certain damages are commonly involved in a personal injury case, including:
- Medical bills – California does not require drivers to hold personal injury protection (PIP) policies (in fact, it is not available in the state), which means the at-fault party will be responsible for your medical bills. These bills cover doctor visits, ambulance rides, surgical procedures, medication, and rehabilitation services.
- Pain and suffering – Accidents are painful, both physically and emotionally. Pain and suffering compensation is designed to compensate you for the invisible damages that you incur as the result of an accident. This may include actual pain, mental anguish, PTSD, loss of companionship, or loss of consortium.
- Lost wages – An accident can mean lost time at work. This can make it hard to pay the bills. Lost wages cover any time missed as a direct result of the accident, including any recovery time. In cases of severe injuries, the damages may extend to cover future lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
- Wrongful death – If a loved one is killed in an accident, the at-fault party should be held responsible. The goal of a wrongful death claim is not to compensate you for the death of a loved one, but rather to transfer the financial burden (including funeral expenses, medical expenses, and lost wages) from the victim to the guilty party.
California Taxi Accident Attorney FAQ
Taxis are a major industry in California, particularly in the tourist-rich Escondido. Whether you are injured in a taxi accident as a passenger or the driver of another car, you may have a lot of questions about your chances of getting just compensation for the expenses and impacts on your life that the injury caused.
Here are the answers to some of the questions that we often hear from clients:
Who is liable if I am injured while riding as a passenger in an Escondido taxi cab?
A California taxi accident case may include several different sources of liability, such as:
- The driver of the taxi cab, if he or she is at-fault for the accident
- The driver of another car, if that individual is responsible for causing the accident
- It could also be the governmental agency tasked with maintaining public streets – if the accident is caused by poor maintenance of the roadway, an issue with street signage or traffic control devices, or a feature on public property that obstructs the driver’s view.
- The manufacturer or distributor of vehicle parts could also be at fault if the accident is caused by a vehicle defect.
- The taxi company might be negligent as well if it is proven that the cause is poor maintenance of the vehicle, which causes the accident.
A taxi hit my car. Is the cab driver at fault, or is the Escondido taxi company liable?
Both the taxi driver and the company that he or she works for may share liability. That, of course, depends on the circumstances of your accident. In Escondido, taxis are owned by companies required to provide insurance to protect the taxi driver, passenger, and occupants of the other vehicle in the event of an accident caused by the driver.
How do I recover damages related to my Escondido taxi accident?
In Escondido (and in California, in general), individuals who are injured in an accident involving a taxi cab may recover damages related to their injuries from the at-fault party through a lawsuit. This is a lawsuit filed in civil court, generally within two years of the date of the accident.
California allows for the recovery of economic damages, which are out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical treatment, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work.
Non-economic damages, such as physical pain and suffering and emotional distress, are also recoverable through a lawsuit.
To seek damage compensation, you must prove that the other person or entity is liable for your accident. In taxi cab accidents, you prove liability by showing:
- The at-fault party owes you a duty of care. For taxi drivers and other drivers on the road, this duty of care would be for the driver to ensure that he or she operates the vehicle safely and legally. For taxi companies, one element of this duty of care would be to ensure that the cab is properly maintained. As to cases involving defective products, the duty of care would be to design a product that is safe for use when used as directed.
- The defendant breaches the duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party takes that are contrary to the duty of care. This could involve driving unsafely or illegally, failing to maintain the vehicle, or designing a product that proves defective.
- The breach results in the accident, which causes you to endure injuries and subsequent economic expenses, impacting your life.
Is my damage settlement or award from my Escondido taxi accident case taxable?
According to the California Department of Revenue, the compensation you receive for the pain and suffering resulting from physical injuries or illnesses brought about by a taxi accident is not considered taxable income. The non-taxable clause also covers the amount you receive for the emotional distress or mental anguish you suffer because of the physical injuries. However, if your claim is for emotional distress that isn’t a result of a personal physical injury, you may owe income tax.
Do I need an attorney to pursue compensation after an Escondido taxi accident?
You should retain an experienced Escondido taxi accident attorney to pursue injury-related damages after your accident. Attorneys who are experienced in taxi accident cases – like the legal team at Marino & Tye LLP – have spent many years obtaining the education and training needed to serve their clients. Having a local attorney also means that you are working with someone who is familiar with the local laws applicable to Escondido.
An Escondido taxi accident attorney will:
- Evaluate your case
- Consider time limits built into the legal process
- Negotiate with at-fault parties and their insurance companies
- Study and understand the evidence and witness testimony needed to prove your case
- Work with a network of professionals who can strengthen your case
- Assist in collecting your settlement or award.
All of these services provide you with the ability to focus on your recovery while your attorney focuses on the legal process involved in recovering damages.
If I file an Escondido taxi accident lawsuit, do I have to go to court?
Going to court may not be necessary. In fact, because the vast majority of Escondido taxi accident cases are settled before they ever reach the inside of a courtroom, chances are that your case will settle before trial as well. However, if you and the at-fault party do not arrive with a just compensation settlement, then your attorney may consider the option of court intervention. So, hire an experienced taxi accident attorney who is comfortable and confident in litigating your case all the way to trial, just in case.
For a free consultation with our experienced Escondido taxi accident attorneys, contact Marino & Tye LLP.
Contact us at 1-760-741-7643.