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When an accident involves a taxi cab, liability can be more complex. Missouri is a pure negligence state, which means who is liable for a taxi cab accident will come down to who caused it. Depending on the circumstances, there may be multiple parties responsible.
If you are traveling inside a taxi cab when involved in an accident, either the taxi driver or the driver of the other vehicle will be liable, or both. However, as a passenger, you will have a much easier time recovering compensation since you do not have to prove liability. You will either have to file a third-party insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against one or both drivers. A third-party claim means filing an injury claim directly with the taxi driver’s insurer or the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance carriers will determine who is responsible and must pay for your damages.
If you are involved in an accident with a taxi while driving, liability will be decided just as it would in any other accident. To hold the taxi driver responsible, you will have to prove their negligence caused the crash, which may require photos or video of the scene, statements from eyewitnesses, the police report, vehicle “black box” data (if applicable), and possibly cell phone records. Additionally, Missouri’s law of pure comparative negligence will apply. Under this law, your total compensation can be reduced by the percentage you contributed to the crash. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but found 40 percent responsible, you will receive 60 percent or $60,000. Even if you are up to 99 percent to blame, you can recover compensation, but it will be reduced accordingly.
If the accident is severe and either driver does not carry enough insurance to fully pay for your losses, the taxi company may offer additional coverage. In addition, a taxi company’s insurance provider can be either vicariously or directly liable for a collision. Vicarious liability means the taxi company is responsible for the actions of its drivers while they are working. Direct liability means the company itself did something that contributed to the accident, such as failing to perform a background check on its drivers or properly maintain the taxi. Either way, the company will be liable for damages. Taxi companies must carry collision and comprehensive coverage against theft, vandalism, and damage caused by accidents where their driver is at fault. Taxi companies also typically have at least $1 million in bodily injury liability insurance, as well as uninsured motorist insurance.
Occasionally, responsibility for an accident will fall on a third party rather than a driver. For example, an auto manufacturer may be liable for a collision caused by a vehicle or part defect, poor design, or failure to warn of potential dangers. Likewise, a government agency might be liable if road conditions were to blame for the crash, such as improper signage, a missing guardrail, etc. Contact our St. Louis car accident lawyers today.