Hired cars represent nearly one-fourth of the motor vehicles on the roadways throughout the U.S. In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 7,730 workers employed as chauffeurs and taxi drivers in the state of New Jersey alone. With these statistics, traffic accidents involving taxicabs and hired cars are frequent occurrences.
Passengers who are injured while riding in a taxicab may be entitled to compensation for the damages they suffer.
New Jersey Taxicabs
New Jersey law defines taxis as motor vehicles that transport passengers for hire. Limos, omnibuses and school buses are excluded. Taxis are easily identified by state license plates with the word Taxicab on display in small letters. This license plate requirement is required by law.
Taxicab owners are required to carry commercial motor vehicle insurance on their vehicles. Minimum liability coverage requirements may vary from township to township, but they cannot fall below certain state minimums. These laws and regulations come into play when you are injured in a taxicab accident.
Common Causes for Taxicab Accidents
Because taxicab passengers rarely wear seat belts, injuries in these accidents can be more severe than those experienced in collisions with personal vehicles. Some common reasons for taxicab accidents include the following:
- Reckless or aggressive driving, such as switching lanes abruptly and cutting off other drivers
- Distracted driving while talking on the phone or dispatch radio
- Driver fatigue from long hours with too few breaks
- Not using the proper precautions while driving in inclement weather, such as snow and ice
Pursuing a NJ Taxicab Injury Claim
Injured taxicab passengers may be able to secure coverage for immediate medical attention through the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in their own auto insurance policies. In addition, they may be able to pursue a claim against the negligent taxi driver and taxi company.
There are conditions that must be met to recover non-economic losses, such as pain, suffering, disability, impairment and loss of enjoyment of life. In very serious cases involving a fatality, the family of the deceased may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the taxicab company.
Taxicab injury lawsuits are complex matters. Many factors impact how you should proceed. These include whether the driver owns or rents the taxi, if the cab and driver are part of a fleet of taxis owned by a large company, the laws of the township in which the taxicab operates, and the amount of insurance coverage available. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer who understands the intricacies of these types of claims.