Many people use taxicabs on a daily basis in and around Houston. People use taxis as a means of commuting to and from work and often for late-night travels from popular bars and nightclubs. Cab drivers and cab companies, however, are in the sole business of making as much money as possible in as little time as possible. This often means they drive their taxicabs in a hurry to secure as many rides as possible in a night. This type of driving can lead to serious accidents for which both the cab driver and the cab company can face liability.
If you were injured in a taxicab accident that a cab driver or someone else’s recklessness or negligence caused, Texas law may entitle you to a monetary recovery for your damages. The team of lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, understands the damages, frustration, and inconvenience associated with a serious motor vehicle accident, including taxi accidents, in Houston. These injuries often require serious and lengthy medical treatments and missed time from work.
When this happens, call the experienced Houston legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers. Our skilled Houston personal injury attorneys are not afraid to take on the insurance company, either through tough negotiations or, if necessary, at trial. Feel free to contact us at any time, and we can address all of your legal questions and concerns. Our intake department can help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (800) 898-4877, or you may contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
Taxicab companies and their insurers are never on your side in an accident case. Many times, insurance companies will try to say that you were not seriously injured—or that you were not injured at all—in your accident. In some cases, insurance companies refuse to offer full and fair compensation in personal injury car accident cases. Our legal team works hard to protect the interests of our clients and will fight for your right to recover monetary compensation.
Laws Applicable to Common Carriers in Texas
In Texas, taxicab drivers are designated as common carriers. This distinction has special legal significance. While all motor vehicle drivers owe their passengers and fellow drivers a duty of care while they operate vehicles on the road, Texas law holds common carriers to an even higher standard of care because taxicab drivers are charged with safely transporting passengers from one destination to another for money.
Houston’s common carriers must also comply with other requirements. For example, common carriers must:
- Comply with all motor vehicle inspection requirements
- Pass drug tests and security screenings before operating vehicles
- Regularly complete driver training programs
Cab companies and their drivers face additional regulations. For example, taxicab companies must maintain more insurance then noncommercial drivers. In Houston, that amounts to $1 million per accident. Taxi drivers may not drive for more than 12 hours in a given 24-hour time period. The law also precludes them from using cell phones or any other electronic devices while operating taxicabs on the road.
The experienced team of legal professionals and attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, understands the laws and regulations surrounding taxicab accidents in Houston. Our attorneys can determine if a taxicab driver did something wrong in your case, and if so we may pursue legal action against the driver and the cab company.
What to Do if You Are in a Houston Taxicab Accident
Some taxicab passengers are injured in accidents where their own driver carelessly or recklessly caused the accident. In other cases, drivers or passengers may sustain serious injuries when a taxicab strikes their own vehicle into another object or person. In either case, the processes and procedures that you should follow after your accident remains the same.
If you are in a taxicab accident, the first thing you should do (if you are able) is to call the police and ambulance to the accident scene. The police need to come to the accident scene to create a written record of what happened during the accident. While at the accident scene, gather as much information as your injuries allow. This includes obtaining contact information from all involved drivers, as well as from any eyewitnesses to the accident. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, as well as any damage to the vehicles in the accident, before leaving the scene of the accident.
If you were injured in the accident, seek medical care from the ambulance as soon as possible. If you are not sure whether you sustained injuries, it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. Always seek treatment and leave it to a medical professional to determine whether you suffered injuries.
Seek follow-up medical care at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. Preferably, go to the facility in an ambulance or have someone you trust drive you there. Let the doctor know about any symptoms or pain that you are experiencing. Finally, follow through with all of the emergency room doctor’s treatment recommendations, including going to your primary care doctor.
Seeking initial medical treatment after a taxicab accident shows that you take your health and injuries seriously. If you fail to seek initial medical treatment but later try to claim that the accident injured you, the insurance company will likely argue that the accident did not injure you at all, or not to the extent you claim.
At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, our team of attorneys and legal professionals are fully aware that serious motor vehicle accidents can result in equally serious injuries and damages. We also understand that you need to make your primary goal after a motor vehicle accident the treatment of your injuries and taking all the time you need to recover from them. At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, our experienced legal team can begin the grunt work by building your case with evidence and official legal documentation while you concentrate on getting better.
Holding the Taxicab Driver Responsible for Your Accident
If you have sustained injuries and damages in a taxicab accident, you may take legal action against the negligent driver. Taxicab drivers owe their passengers and all other drivers on the roadway a duty to behave as a “reasonable taxicab driver” would behave under the same or similar circumstances. This means that the driver must operate a taxi in a safe and careful manner, obeying all traffic laws and regulations. It also means that the driver must not engage in distracted driving by texting or using a cell phone without a hands-free option.
If the accident victim shows that the taxicab driver violated this standard of care by behaving in a careless, reckless, or unreasonable manner, then the victim may recover monetary damages. To recover monetary damages, the accident victim must first prove that the accident caused their injuries. If so, the accident victim may recover compensation for some or all of the following:
- Medical and physical therapy bills
- Lost compensation for missed work time
- Related pain, suffering, and inconvenience stemming from the accident
- Lost earning capacity from having to switch to light duty work (or switch careers altogether)
- Lost use of a body part as a result of the accident
- Lost quality of life or enjoyment of life
To successfully recover damages, the accident victim must obtain professional and objective opinion that proves the damages occurred as a direct result of the accident.
The team of lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, are experienced personal injury negotiators and litigators. Our skilled team can work to help you prove the legal elements of your case and can pursue monetary damages on your behalf.
Holding a Taxicab Company Liable for Your Accident
In some situations, a taxicab company, in addition to the negligent driver, can also share in some or part of the blame for a motor vehicle accident involving a taxicab. This depends largely upon whether the driver is an employee of the company or an independent contractor.
Most companies’ insurance $1 Million, or more, policies cover their own employees, but not independent contractors. Instead, an independent contractor might maintain a much smaller personal insurance policy.
Whether a taxicab driver works as an employee or an independent contractor of the taxi company generally rests on the degree of control that the company exercises over the driver. For example, if the driver sets hours and routes, the driver is more likely an independent contractor than an employee of the taxicab company. Other factors used to determine if the driver works as an employee or an independent contractor include:
Whether the driver is required to prepare a service log or other report for the taxicab company – If so, the driver is more likely an employee, since an independent contractor, under most circumstances, is not required to draft such a report.
Whether the driver is provided with a taxicab and other equipment – If so, the driver is most likely an employee. Most independent contractors furnish their own equipment for the job—including their own axicabs—and write off their business expenses on their tax returns at the end of the year.
Under agency law, employers can face responsibility for the actions or inactions of their employees and others who work under the employer’s control. If the cab driver works as an employee, as opposed to an independent contractor, the taxicab company may face vicarious liability for the cab driver’s negligence.
Moreover, if a particular taxicab driver has a history of causing accidents and the cab company knows this, the taxicab company could face liability for negligently hiring, retaining, or supervising the at-fault driver. If the skilled team of legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, can deem the taxicab company fully or partially at fault for the accident, they may be able to bring the cab company’s insurance policy into effect. This insurance coverage provides the financial basis for damages in a personal injury case—and could result in you recovering more damages for your injuries.
Call a Houston Taxicab Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation
Insurance companies are never on your side under any circumstances. Rather, the insurance company’s only job is to save itself money by paying out as little as possible for your damages. The legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is fully aware of the tricks and tactics that taxicab insurance companies and their adjusters use to try to undermine a personal injury case. Our team of lawyers can fight these tactics head-on and pursue fair and just monetary compensation on your behalf.
Filing a claim for a personal injury case does not necessarily mean that your case will proceed forward to litigation. Rather, it means that negotiations will open with the insurance company. If necessary, your lawyer will file a complaint with the court, then written and oral discovery, including depositions, will likely take place. If the case does not settle after that point, our lawyers can explore a litigation trial and other alternative dispute resolution options with you.
Our experienced legal team will answer all of your legal questions and keep you in the loop every step of the way.
The attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, are nationally recognized taxi accident lawyers who have protected the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured by a taxicab in the Houston area, call our office right now to schedule a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
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“Mr. Guss was wonderful. He fought hard against the insurance company to get us what we deserved. I went from owing almost $5000 in medical bills to actually getting money in my pocket. Absolutely Amazing!!!!! A big thank you from me and my family!!!”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.