For New Yorkers, taxicabs are a primary means of getting around. As a result, there are many licensed and unlicensed taxicabs in the area, meaning that there is a greater risk of being involved in a taxi accident than many other areas of the country. When a taxi accident occurs, there are special issues regarding recovery that are not present in other types of accidents. Because of this, it is important to be aware of these issues to ensure you receive adequate compensation following an accident.
Compensation may have its limitations
If you are injured in a taxi accident as a passenger, motorist, bicyclist or pedestrian in New York, you may recover benefits under the no fault system. These benefits are available to cover your wage losses, medical bills and other expenses regardless of whether the taxi driver was at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, the law only requires taxi drivers to carry $50,000 in coverage, which is what most taxi operators carry. In cases of serious injuries, this amount may be inadequate to cover your medical bills, let alone your other losses.
Additional benefits may be available under the taxi driver's liability insurance policy. This policy provides funds to pay for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, this policy does not provide a guaranteed or endless source of benefits, as there are limitations and barriers to recovery.
The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission requires all licensed taxicabs to carry a $100,000/$300,000 liability insurance policy at minimum. This type of policy will pay up to $100,000 of expenses if one person was injured in the accident and a maximum of $300,000 if more than one person was injured (regardless of how many). If you have the misfortune to be injured by an unlicensed taxicab, your recovery options may be significantly more limited, as these kinds of taxis only have to carry a $25,000/$50,000 policy.
Unfortunately, accessing the coverage in the taxi driver's liability policy is not as easy as the no fault policy. In order to recover, the injured party must show that the insured taxi driver was at fault for the accident. This can involve significant litigation, which can delay the receipt of benefits for quite a while, leaving the injured person with significant medical and other bills in the meantime.
With healthcare costs the way they are today, even if you are able to obtain full payment of the taxicab's liability insurance benefits, it still may not be enough to cover your losses if your injuries are serious. As a result, it is recommended that you purchase an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. This inexpensive policy will provide benefits to you in the event that a taxi's no fault and liability insurance benefits are inadequate to cover your losses, even if you never drive a car.
If you have been injured in one of the estimated 11 taxicab accidents a day in the New York area, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can ensure you receive fair and adequate compensation from the insurance companies or responsible parties for your injures.