Taxi cabs maintain their popularity in large cities and suburban communities alike, despite the rising influence of ride-sharing companies. Taxis are a convenient way to get from one place to the other without worrying about your own car or public transportation. However, some taxi cab accidents occur when drivers are irresponsible and negligent in carrying out their job.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2014, there were 4,129 crashes involving taxis in Chicago. 830 of those accidents resulted in injury while three were fatal. Accidents can be a taxi cab colliding with you, your vehicle, or you may be injured as their passenger. In any case, it can be frightening to put your trust in a stranger to drive you through the city, and accidents can happen at any time. We are here to help you recover from these.
The car accident attorneys at Mike Agruss Law have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a taxi accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Causes of Taxi Accidents
Taxis are highly concentrated in urban areas where people are moving at a quick pace and need a quick and easy ride to lunch or a meeting. This fast pace can lead to all sorts of accidents as these taxi drivers work to support the demand and themselves. Injuries that can result from these accidents include bruises, cuts and scrapes, broken bones, traumatic brain injury, neck and spinal cord injuries, disability, or even death.
A taxi accident could result in injury for the passenger of the taxi, a pedestrian, another motorist, and a passenger in another motorist’s vehicle. Many of the reasons that taxi drivers get into accidents are all rooted in the idea of negligence. Some of the most common causes of taxi accidents include the following:
- Distracted driving – It only takes a moment for an accident to occur, and it could occur during the time the driver is distracted. This may include texting, drinking, eating, grooming, fiddling with the radio, or searching for something while driving the cab.
- Drunk driving – If a taxi driver has a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher, they would be violating the law and could face DUI charges.
- Aggressive driving – Aggressive driving is driving on the offense and engaging in dangerously risky behavior. This could quickly lead to a serious accident given their recklessness.
- Violating traffic laws – If the driver is speeding, not following traffic signals or signs, failing to signal, or violating some other traffic law, then they are putting your life and their own at risk of serious injury.
- Fatigued driving – Taxi drivers often work full days, which could be from six in the morning until ten at night for some. This can easily cause a decrease in reaction time and judgment, both of which are essential parts of safely driving.
- Inadequate or lack of training – Taxi companies are obligated to properly and adequately train their taxi drivers before they allow them to work on their own each day.
- Defective parts – If some part of the taxi malfunctioned or broke suddenly, the outcomes are endless; a fire could be imminent, the brakes may fail, and more.
The Common Carrier Law
Chicago taxis are considered “common carriers” under Illinois statutes. The Common Carrier Liability Act (740 ILCD 25/) imposes the highest duty of care and safety for passengers in vehicles deemed to be common carriers. The statute defines a common carrier as, “a business that transports people, goods, or services and offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body.” This includes taxi cabs, CTA, Metra, Greyhound, and more public transportation companies.
The standards and expectations for common carriers are very high, in terms of safety and caution in its employees’ duty as well as the equipment maintenance. If these standards are not completely met in some way (causing an accident), and especially if passengers are left injured or deceased, they would be violating the common carrier law and could be found liable for negligence.
So, if you are involved in a taxi cab accident due to the driver’s negligence, it may be considered likely that you will have a valid case where you can be compensated for the pain and damages that you experienced. Many successful claims and lawsuits against common carriers are typically due to negligence or intentional acts that injure passengers. The driver or the taxi company could be liable for damages.
Who Is Liable?
After a taxi accident that you decide that you would like to pursue a claim to recover the damages, you should be able to establish and prove the defendant’s liability and your damages. The liable parties could be the taxi driver, the taxi company, or the manufacturer of the vehicle.
The taxi driver could be liable if the driver caused the accident due to their own negligent behavior while driving. If a taxi driver is an independent contractor, then they are likely responsible for their own accidents. The taxi company will deny liability in this case, but we will work to prove whether this is true or not. The taxi company could be liable if the driver is an employee (not a contractor) of the company and caused the accident.
The manufacturer of the vehicle could be liable if a component of the vehicle was found to have a design or manufacturing defect. This is a product liability issue, which states that manufacturers, vendors, or any other actor in the chain of distribution could be liable for defective products since they released an unsafe product to consumers. For instance, if the brakes fail and cause the accident, then the manufacturer of the brakes could be found liable for the damages.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Motor vehicle accidents are can be very serious in terms of the damages. Repairs to your vehicle can be tens of thousands of dollars, or it could be completely totaled. You may also have sustained some serious injuries requiring hospitalization or surgery. Common motor vehicle accident injuries include bruises and cuts, whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injury, neck or spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even death.
With our help, we will make sure your claim is successful and that you are fairly compensated for the damages and experience that you have had to endure. Some common damages that can be recovered after a taxi accident include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death (in a wrongful death claim)
If you or a loved one has been injured in a taxi accident, contact our office today for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.