Fort Lauderdale Taxi Accident Lawyers
Skilled Personal Injury Lawyers Driven to Get Results for Taxi Accident Victims in South Florida
Taxis are a common sight in the Fort Lauderdale area—tourists and seasonal visitors often rely upon taxis as their primary mode of transportation around a relatively unfamiliar city or as transportation to and from the busy Fort Lauderdale airport. Unfortunately, taxi accidents occur on a relatively regular basis despite the fact that taxi drivers are professional drivers and should know to exercise a much higher degree of caution when carrying passengers. As with any other type of motor vehicle accident, taxi accidents can result in extensive injuries that require expensive treatment protocols.
Our skilled taxi accident lawyers at Lawlor, White & Murphey, P.C. understand the complications that often arise in pursuing a claim for compensation after suffering injuries in a taxi accident. Taxi drivers, taxi companies and insurance companies may all be involved in these cases, and frequently take all steps possible to disclaim their own liability following the accident. This makes the assistance of a strong and knowledgeable local lawyer particularly valuable in recovering fair compensation for your injuries after a taxi accident.
Florida Requires Taxi Drivers to Carry Specific Levels of Insurance Coverage
Florida requires every driver on the roadway to carry a certain level of insurance coverage under its no-fault insurance law, but taxi drivers, as commercial carriers, are subject to heightened requirements so that they must purchase much higher levels of insurance coverage. Under Florida law, taxi drivers must first register with the state and also carry insurance providing for a minimum of:
- $125,000 for bodily injury claims per person involved in an accident,
- $250,000 total in bodily injury coverage per accident, and
- $50,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage.
While these limits are much more generous than the typically available personal injury protection coverage carried by private drivers, actually obtaining the funds from the available insurance policy can be complicated by taxi companies and their insurance companies that are dedicated to minimizing their responsibility for payment. Further, taxi accident cases can be complicated when the taxi driver is not actually employed by the taxi company, but instead leases the vehicle and is treated as an independent contractor under applicable law.
Common Causes of South Florida Taxi Accidents
You can be injured in a taxi accident while riding as a passenger in the taxi, but injuries also commonly occur when the taxi actually hits your own vehicle while you are driving. Taxi accidents can also occur when a taxi hits a pedestrian or bicyclist. Unfortunately, taxi accidents are often caused by the taxi driver, who may spend excessive amounts of time on the roadways in order to earn a living. Common causes include:
- Driver fatigue,
- Driver distraction, often when the driver is using his or her phone while driving,
- Aggressive driving and speeding,
- Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol,
- Driving in inclement weather,
- Disobeying traffic regulations,
- Vehicle malfunction, often because the taxi company does not maintain the vehicle in a safe condition to save on costs.
Taxi Accident Lawyers Lawlor, White & Murphey Committed to Formulating Strong Cases for Compensation
Taxi drivers have a duty to provide reasonably safe transportation for their clients and exercise the caution necessary to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring. Unfortunately, taxi drivers often breach these duties in an effort to maximize the number of passengers they are able to transport each day—thereby maximizing their own personal profits at the expense of both passengers and others on the roads.
At Lawlor, White & Murphey, P.C., we handle every aspect of your claim for compensation against the taxi driver and taxi company, including:
- Conducting a full investigation into your accident to uncover all available evidence to support your claim,
- Evaluating the taxi driver’s past safety record,
- Subpoenaing the taxi driver’s phone records to determine whether he or she was distracted by a phone at the time of the accident,
- Locating video surveillance and eyewitnesses to the accident,
- Preparing all necessary formal documentation in your case,
- Negotiating aggressively on your behalf with the insurance companies and defense lawyers,
- Preparing your case for a full trial if we are unable to reach a full and fair settlement outside the courtroom.
Schedule a Free Initial Case Evaluation Today
If you have been injured in a taxi accident in South Florida, whether as a passenger or otherwise, our taxi accident lawyers are here to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injuries. To schedule a free initial case evaluation, you can call our offices or fill out this online contact form and we will get back to you promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Taxi Accident Claims in South Florida
The process for filing a claim will depend upon the circumstances at hand. For example, if you were driving your own vehicle and were involved in an accident caused by a taxi driver, you must prove that the taxi driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident in order to file a claim for compensation against the taxi company’s insurance policy (in other words, you must show that the taxi driver, and not you, was at-fault). If you were a passenger in the taxi at the time of the accident, you can file a claim with the taxi company’s insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company, depending upon which party caused the accident.
While Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that drivers usually must look to their own insurance coverage for compensation, taxi drivers are exempt from the no-fault rule. This is because they are subject to a higher duty to drive safely, as common carriers responsible for the safety of paying passengers in their vehicles.
If you have been the victim of a taxi accident, if at all possible immediately following the accident you should try to take photographs of the accident scene, including the positions of the vehicles involved in the accident, the damage to the vehicles, any skid marks on the road, the road lines and traffic controls, and the weather, lighting, and road conditions. Next, you should be sure to seek medical attention for your injuries following your accident; prompt medical treatment may be critical to establishing what injuries you have suffered and proving that they were caused by the accident. Finally, you should speak with an experienced taxi accident attorney who can help you to understand your rights and options and can ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process of seeking compensation.
Some of the most common causes of taxi accidents that our attorneys have seen include aggressive, careless, or reckless driving by the taxi driver; violating traffic laws, such as by speeding or running red lights or stop signs; texting or talking while driving; using the stereo or navigation system; eating or drinking while driving; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and driving while fatigued.
In order to prove that a party is liable for a taxi accident, it is necessary to show that he or she was negligent. This means establishing the four elements of negligence. First, you must show that a driver had a duty of care and that he or she breached this duty of care through the operation of their vehicle. Next, you must show that the driver’s breach of his or her duty was a direct and proximate cause of the accident. Finally, you must show that you have suffered some sort of compensable damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
You will need evidence to establish who was at fault for the accident and the damages that you have suffered from the accident. This evidence can include accident scene photos, the police’s accident investigation report, records from your medical treatment, bills and invoices you incurred in treating your injuries from the accident, and paystubs or income statements to prove the lost wages or earning potential you’ve suffered as a result of your injuries.
When a taxi driver is negligent and causes a taxi accident, the driver will be legally responsible for his or her own evidence. Whether an injured party can also hold the taxi company legally responsible depends on several factors, including the relationship between the taxi company and the driver. In some circumstances, the driver may be an independent contractor of the taxi company, in which case it can be difficult to hold the taxi company responsible for the driver’s negligence. However, if the taxi company owns the taxicab and provides it to the driver for his or her use, then it is likely that the driver is an employee of the taxi company and the company can be held responsible for the driver’s negligence.
If the taxi company employs a driver to drive a taxicab, Florida law requires the taxi company to obtain for each taxicab bodily injury insurance coverage in a minimum amount of $125,000 per person, $250,000 per occurrence, and $50,000 in property damage insurance coverage. If the taxi company merely leases vehicles out to drivers who act as independent contractors, the taxi company may place the requirement to obtain insurance on the driver himself or herself.
Yes. If you have been injured in a taxi accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. If a driver other than the taxi driver was responsible for the accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation from that driver. If the taxi driver bears fault for the accident, you can also seek compensation from the driver; depending on the driver’s relationship with the taxi company, you may also be entitled to compensation from the taxi company.
If you have a claim for compensation following a taxi accident, you will often begin your case by notifying the taxi company of your accident. This will allow you to get in touch with the taxi company’s insurance company to file a claim. Once you contact the insurance companies, you will often begin the process of negotiating a settlement of your claim. If a settlement is not possible, it may become necessary for you to file a lawsuit in court to pursue your claim.
Although you are not required to have an attorney to file a claim for compensation following a taxi accident, it is highly advisable that you have the assistance of an experienced taxi accident attorney. Taxi accident cases can be particularly complex, especially when it comes to trying to determine who was at fault for the accident and, if the taxi driver is at fault for the accident, who can be held legally responsible for the accident. An experienced taxi accident attorney can help you understand who may be responsible to you for your injuries and damages and help you understand your legal rights and options.
In pursuing a taxi accident case, you may first run into problems establishing who was at fault for the accident and therefore who may be responsible to pay you compensation. The taxi driver may try to argue that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Thus, your claim will depend on first determining who was at fault for the accident. Even if it turns out that the taxi driver bears some fault for the accident, it can be difficult to determine who you can turn to for compensation. Although you can certainly hold the driver responsible for his or her negligence, whether you can hold the taxi company responsible as well depends on its relationship with the driver. The taxi company can also try to hide the amount of money it has available to compensate you through complex corporate structures and layered insurance policies.
Yes. Depending on the circumstances of a taxi accident, the taxi driver can have his or her license suspended as a result of the accident, which will mean he or she can no longer drive a taxi. The taxi company may also decide to fire a taxi driver who demonstrates that he or she is a risk to cause accidents so as to avoid any further liability caused by the driver.
The amount of money that your taxi accident case may be worth will depend on multiple factors. If you are injured in your accident, you may be entitled to recover the expenses that you incur in treating your injuries. If you miss work due to your injuries or if you are unable to return to your job and cannot earn the same level of income, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages or lost earning capacity.