Many people rely on taxis to get to and from places when they don’t have a car or do not want to drive, such as when they may be drinking. While taxis are certainly a convenience and provide many benefits to those who use them, accidents do happen while riding in a taxi. And, with the steady stream of traffic that is often seen in popular cities in Florida such as Orlando and Miami, taxicab accidents are all too common.
But, traffic and other motorists negligence isn’t the only cause of taxi accidents. Many taxi drivers drive for extended periods of time and must meet a certain quota of trips to make an adequate income. This pressure combined with fatigue can result in less than ideal driving conditions for a taxicab driver.
In this article, we’ll explore the Florida requirements for taxi driver insurance, common causes of taxi accidents, and what to do if you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident while riding in a taxi.
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Duties Of A Taxi Driver
Taxicab companies and taxi drivers are required to uphold a basic level of duties when it comes to providing transportation to others. These duties help ensure that those who use taxis remain safe during their ride. Examples of the duties expected of taxi drivers and taxi services include:
- Provide safe and well-taken care of taxi vehicles to escort customers in
- Perform regular maintenance on taxi vehicles to ensure they are in good condition and have no malfunctioning parts
- Hire taxi drivers who have experience and use good driving behaviors and habits
- Drive with caution at all times and follow all rules of the road while operating a taxi vehicle
- Work to ensure the safety and security at all costs
- Follow all vehicle regulations and road safety laws
- Only allow the appropriate amount of passengers that the vehicle will accommodate to ride in the vehicle
- Inform passengers of any rules they should be aware of and adhere to while riding in the taxi
- Caution riders of any dangers when they arise
- Only operate a taxi vehicle when well-rested and of sound mind
- Never operate a taxi vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
When taxi drivers do not follow these duties they are at an increased risk of getting into an accident while operating a taxi vehicle with passengers in it. For example, a taxi driver who does not adhere to the rules of the road and fails to stop at a stop sign can collide with another vehicle. Another example is if a taxi driver operates the taxi while extremely fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, making them especially vulnerable to accidents.
Insurance Requirements And Regulations For Taxis In Florida
There are several regulations and insurance requirements that taxi companies must adhere to when operating a business in the state of Florida. These regulations and insurance requirements include:
- All taxi vehicles must be registered with the State of Florida
- All taxi companies must carry taxi insurance that is up-to-date
- Carry a minimum insurance coverage of $125,000 in death and bodily injury liability coverage per person in the vehicle
- Carry a minimum of $250,000 in insurance coverage for death and bodily injury per accident
- Carry a minimum of $50,0000 in insurance coverage for property damage liability
Florida does not require taxi companies and drivers to have personal injury protection, which is a mandatory rule for other drivers who register a vehicle in the state of Florida.
Because many taxi companies have several hundred taxi vehicles, some companies hire drivers on an independent contractor basis. In this case, the taxi driver leases the tax vehicle from the company and is solely responsible for obtaining their own liability coverage. This means that if the taxi driver is in an accident and found at-fault, the taxi company has no responsibility in the matter and is not required to pay out compensation to victims.
Common Causes Of Taxicab Accidents
There are a number of different causes of auto accidents in Florida. The most common reasons why a taxi vehicle is involved in an accident include:
- Fatigued driving
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving or looking at a GPS system while driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Improper or poor taxi maintenance
- Not following traffic law and rules
Most taxi vehicle accidents occur in one of two ways. The first way is when the taxicab is directly involved in a collision with another vehicle. The second way is when the taxicab collides with an inanimate object, such as a guard rail on the side of the road.
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Common Taxi Accident Injuries
Being involved in an accident while being a taxi passenger can result in a number of bodily injuries that range from mild to severe. Common types of injuries sustained when involved in a taxi crash include:
- Broken bones
- Brain injury or trauma
- Injuries to the neck or back
- Bruises, cuts, and lacerations
- Sprains and strains
The type of injury sustained will largely depend on the type and severity of the accident. For example, if you are in a taxi car going at a high speed and collide with another vehicle, injuries are likely to be more severe than if the taxi vehicle was driving at a slower speed.
Getting Compensation Following A Taxi Accident
If you’ve been injured in a taxi accident while riding as a passenger in a taxi or as the occupant or driver of another car, you are legally entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and damages if the taxi driver was at fault. In most cases, you will first need to use any personal injury protection insurance coverage you possess before seeking compensation from the taxi driver or taxi company. In Florida, this is $10,000 if you sustain a serious injury that results in excessive medical expenses and lost wages. This PIP coverage will protect even if you were not driving or if you were the passenger in the taxi at the time of the accident.
Once your PIP is exhausted, you can then work with an experienced personal injury attorney to seek compensation from the taxi driver or taxi company. Examples of things you can seek compensation for include:
- Medical expenses, including emergency room costs, follow-up doctor visits, and medical treatment
- Lost wages from missing work due to injuries and recovery
- Any medical bills for required medical rehabilitation or extensive medical treatment
- Medical expenses associated with assistive devices like walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs
- Emotional suffering and pain
- Reduced quality of life
- Expenses to replace your vehicle if you were driving when the accident with a taxicab occurred
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Contact Florin|Roebig Regarding Your Taxicab Accident Case
If you or a loved one has sustained severe injuries as the result of a negligent taxicab driver, it’s important to work with an experienced and dedicated taxicab accident lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve. With over 30 years of experience, our law firm has successfully won over $1 billion in settlements from personal injury cases by providing accident victims with high-quality legal representation.
Contact the law firm of Florin|Roebig today for a confidential and free consultation with one of our taxi accident attorneys to discuss your legal options at (800) 226-6581.