Whether you hire a taxi in the middle of downtown to take you to another part of the city or county, or you hire a taxi to take you to or from the airport, special rules of liability apply to the taxicab owner and its driver. Because it carries passengers for a fee, a taxicab is considered to be a “common carrier.” As a common carrier, a taxi cab driver owes his or her passengers the highest degree of safety (due care) in transporting them to their destinations.
As a common carrier, the taxi cab driver is liable for even the slightest degree of carelessness (“negligence”). In addition to driving safely, the taxicab owner has the duty to ensure that the individual taxis are safe and fit for their intended purpose, i.e., to safely transport paying passengers from one place to another.
A common cause of taxicab accidents is driver error. Taxicabs earn their fare based on the distance traveled, not the amount of time it takes to get from one place to another. As a result, the taxicab driver often drives fast and recklessly to get to the destination, so he or she can pick up new passengers.
The taxicab itself must be maintained in good working condition so as not to expose the passengers to undue harm. One of the main causes of taxicab accidents are bad, worn-out brakes that fail to stop the taxicab, especially when the stop is sudden and unexpected, causing the taxicab to rear-end the vehicle in front of it, resulting in injuries to his or her passengers.
Taxicab driver inattentiveness, fatigue, carelessness, recklessness, failure to yield the right of way, improper lane change, alcohol or substance use (especially stimulants), failure to maintain the taxicab in a safe condition can all result in accidents.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a crash while riding as a passenger in a taxicab, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately so he or she can start working right away to obtain all the monetary compensation you are entitled to.