Perhaps you recently took a cab to the Gwinnett Place Mall, Hudgens Center for the Arts, Red Clay Theater, or the Gwinnett Medical Center. You expected your ride to go smoothly and to arrive safely at your destination. However, it didn’t happen as planned because your taxi cab driver was driving carelessly.
Now you’re left with mounting medical bills, constant pain, and the inability to work. You’re starting to wonder how you will even pay your day-to-day living expenses. What can you do?
You can reach out to an experienced Duluth taxi accident lawyer at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm. Our lawyers understand the pressures you are under and diligently work for the outcome you deserve.
Common Causes of Duluth Taxi Cab Accidents
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 4,300 taxi cab drivers in Georgia. Just over 3,000 of them work in the Atlanta metropolitan area. While many of these drivers are attentive and careful drivers, some are not.
Whether you were riding in a taxi or the driver or passenger in another vehicle, your accident might happen for many different reasons. Sometimes there are multiple causative factors in taxi accidents.
Common causes include:
- Speeding: Taxi drivers who are in a rush to take passengers to their destination so they can pick up other passengers may drive over the speed limit to make the trip go faster. A speeding car takes longer to slow down and stop if traffic conditions change. Speeding drivers have an increased potential for loss of vehicle control, and the effectiveness of accident protection equipment decreases.
Not only does speeding increase the risk of causing a crash, but because the force of impact is greater at higher speeds, it can also cause passengers to suffer catastrophic injuries or even death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in a recent year.
- Unsafe lane changes: Cab operators often make unsafe lane changes or aggressively move between lanes attempting to get through congested traffic. Unsafe lane changes are especially dangerous when they are on the highway going to the airport or other destinations.
- Distracted driving: Talking or texting on a cell phone to make arrangements for the next passenger or other reasons when driving is dangerous but far too common. Other distracted driving practices that lead to taxi crashes include eating or drinking, setting or looking at a GPS, or simply talking to passengers. In one year, more than 2,800 individuals lost their lives, and an estimated 400,000 sustained injuries in distracted driving accidents.
- Intoxication: Driving skills, such as judgment, reasoning, muscle coordination reaction time, and vision are impaired when any type of driver is intoxicated due to alcohol or drug use. Taxicab drivers who are drunk or high on drugs significantly increase the risk of a deadly accident. More than 10,500 people lose their lives to drunk driving each year, according to the NHTSA.
- Not following traffic laws: Taxi drivers are accountable to their passengers to safely and obeying traffic laws. Failing to use a turn signal, running red lights, refusing to yield the right of way, and driving aggressively are just some of the illegal driving practices that lead to collisions.
- Drowsy driving: Due to the nature of the job, taxi drivers work long hours without a break. If they are drowsy, their driving is impaired in ways like if they were intoxicated. For example, being awake for 18 hours causes drivers to drive like they have a blood alcohol level of .05 (.08 is considered drunk).
- Maintenance: Taxicab owners and companies have a duty to maintain and inspect their vehicles. Drivers shouldn’t drive a taxi that needs repairing. If the cab company doesn’t adhere to their duties, a tire blowout, brake failure, or steering malfunction can cause them to lose control of the vehicle, causing a crash.
How a Duluth Taxi Accident Attorney Can Help
Being in any car accident can turn your world upside down. You have injuries that are painful and need medical attention. You need to tell your employer that you need time off. You need to deal with insurance companies. Combining these duties with continuing to run your life and take care of other obligations can be extremely stressful. Sometimes, it’s a recipe for disaster.
If you were in an accident with a taxicab or a passenger in one when an accident occurred, this stress can be worse. Insurance obstacles can get in the way of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your damages. You might be unaware that there might be multiple sources of compensation for you to draw from. You’re unsure which insurance company you need to file a claim with or what to do if they say they aren’t the liable party.
Sometimes all of this is so stressful to victims of taxicab accidents that they give up pursuing money to pay for their medical bills and other losses. Sadly, this is precisely what insurance companies want you to do.
Instead of giving up, turn to a compassionate Duluth taxi accident attorney. The services they can provide to help you during this difficult time are invaluable.
- Determine how your accident occurred
- Determine who is liable
- Research what policies you can file a claim on
- Gathering and preserving evidence
- File your claim
- Talk to insurance companies on your behalf
- Estimate what your damages are worth to determine if you are getting a fair settlement
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters
- Litigate your case if the insurance company won’t offer you a fair settlement
- Ensure your medical bills get paid
- Set up medical liens if necessary
- Help you get the medical care you need
- Negotiate settlements with your medical care providers
These are just some of the tasks your attorney and their staff can handle for you. When you hire a skilled Duluth taxi accident lawyer, a burden can fall off of your shoulders. You can focus on getting the rest you need, healing from your injuries, and taking care of yourself.
The Elements of Negligence in a Duluth Taxi Accident
It may seem quite apparent that you have a valid claim against the cab driver or their employer. However, insurance claims and litigation don’t rely on what merely seems obvious. You must prove several different points if you want them to pay for your injuries.
These points include:
- Another party owed you a duty of care: The cab driver has a duty to their passengers and others on the road to drive safely and maintain their vehicle. The taxi company must hire safe drivers and provide safe vehicles.
- The party breached the duty of care: A driver or taxi company breached their duty of care by failing to do what a reasonable individual would do under the same circumstances. Perhaps the driver failed to stop at a stop sign or worked a 24-hour shift.
- The breach of duty caused your injuries: The breach of duty must be the direct and proximate cause of your damages. You must prove that the breach of duty resulted in your injuries. For example, a taxi accident victim sustained a spinal cord injury because the taxi driver ran a red light.
- You suffered verifiable damages: Proving that something the taxi driver did wrong, resulting in your injuries, isn’t enough to win your case. You also need to show the nature and extent of your damages. In other words, your injuries caused your losses.
Suppose you can’t prove all four of these elements. In that case, your claim won’t be successful in getting you the monetary recovery you need. Your Duluth taxi accident attorney is well-versed in what it takes to prove each of these points and how to use evidence in your favor. They aren’t afraid to stand up to large insurance companies to enforce your legal rights.
Filing an Insurance Claim After a Duluth Taxi Accident
In most accidents, it is clear which insurance company you need to file a claim with after getting hurt. With accidents involving taxicabs, it can be a bit more complicated. You could file a claim on your own insurance policy, but if the accident wasn’t your fault, that might not be necessary.
Suppose you were a passenger in the cab. In that case, you might need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, the cab driver’s insurance, or with the cab company’s insurance carrier. Suppose you are the other driver who was in an accident with a taxi. In that case, you can file a claim with the taxicab’s insurance company as well as the insurer for the taxi driver.
Since insurance issues can be complicated and confusing, it’s essential to hire a knowledgeable Duluth taxi accident lawyer to handle your claim. They will determine which insurance company to file a claim with and take care of the details for you.
Duluth Taxicab Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries
Some individuals involved in taxicab accidents will be lucky enough to walk away unharmed or with some scratches or bruises. Others will be taken by ambulance for severe injuries, and some will lose their lives. Taxicab injuries can cause severe injuries, which drastically alter the individual’s life, costs hundreds of thousands or more in medical bills, and leave them in pain.
These injuries can keep people in the hospital or rehabilitation centers for months or even longer. Their injuries leave them unable to care for themselves or those they love. Compensation is crucial for these victims.
Common injuries caused by taxi accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – Car accidents are the second leading cause of TBI in America.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI) – The impact and torque placed on the body in an accident can result in long-term disability from SCI. Spinal cord injuries can result in partial or full paralysis below the level of the injury.
- Internal injuries – Forces from the crash or flying debris can cause damage to internal organs. Internal bleeding from this type of injury can be fatal and needs emergency medical treatment.
- Back injuries – Back injuries are common after car accidents, as the body and spine are not robust enough to sustain hard or heavy impacts. These injuries might not show up immediately after an accident, but they can be serious and long-lasting.
- Broken bones – Auto accidents frequently cause broken legs, ribs, arms, ankles, and wrists. Some taxi accident victims even suffer a broken pelvis. Some breaks are minor, but others require surgery to repair.
- Burns – Car crashes can lead to a vehicle fire. Victims can also sustain burns if their skin comes into contact with steam, chemicals, and hot fluids or surfaces. Substantial burns require surgery and skin grafting. They can also leave significant scarring.
- Limb loss and amputation – A leg, arm, toe, finger, or other appendages can be detached or damaged severely enough to necessitate surgical amputation. Amputations can have permanent disabling effects on the victim.
- Crush injuries – Crush injuries can happen when body parts between two objects are pushed together under pressure. Injuries ranging from minor bruising and lacerations to severe damage to tissue, organs, muscles, bones, and other areas of the body can result.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Not all car accident injuries manifest physically. Some impact the victim’s emotions and mental state. PTSD can make things that used to be familiar and routine, anxiety-ridden, and impossible. With the proper treatment, PTSD can be managed and even cured.
Duluth Taxi Accident FAQs
What damages can I recover in my Duluth taxi accident case?
Damages are a monetary remedy that an injured party receives for their loss or injury. Damages are a representation of the harm done to the victim. The most common type of damages is compensatory damages. They are two types—economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be determined easily because they already have a value attached to them. For example, medical bills, continuing medical treatment, lost wages, loss of income potential from permanent injury, and property damages all have a pre-assigned value. These damages are also known as special damages.
Non-economic damages can be challenging to assign a specific value to. Sometimes referred to as general damages, they are subjective and include pain and suffering, loss of consortium and companionship, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and disfigurement.
Compensatory damages aim to help the injured party return to their pre-accident and otherwise normal life as soon as possible.
Punitive damages are different from compensatory ones because they penalize the negligent person. Under Georgia laws, if the “defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or the entire want of care,” punitive damages are appropriate.
A liable party can’t be arrested under civil law for negligence charges. Instead, the court can assign punitive damages. These extra monies go to the victim. However, they can also help deter the negligent party or others from acting in the same manner again.
How much is your Duluth taxi accident case worth?
It’s common for injured individuals to wonder how much their case is worth. This is an excellent question to ask when you first meet with an experienced Duluth taxi accident attorney. Your case’s value will depend on what types of damages you suffered and what they are worth. People with more severe or permanent injuries can anticipate a higher claim value. By settling and litigating previous cases and keeping updated on other cases’ outcomes, an attorney can give you a pretty good estimate of how much you might recover after a taxi accident.
What is a medical lien in a Duluth taxi accident case?
Duluth taxi accident cases can take time to settle or litigate. During that time, injured individuals could have medical bills Duluth up and waiting for payments. Most medical providers don’t want to wait that long to receive payments. Instead of allowing these bills to go to collections and ruin your credit report, your Duluth taxi accident attorney could ask them to wait for payment until your settlement or court award arrives.
To ensure they get paid, they will place a medical lien or a legal claim to a portion of your settlement equal to the bills you owe. You won’t need to pay them until your case resolves.
Since these types of bills are taken into account when the amount of your settlement or court award is determined, you won’t personally receive less compensation than you would have without a medical lien. To find out if a medical lien might be a good option for delaying your bills, talk to your Duluth taxi accident lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the chances that your account will go to collections, and you could face the consequences.
What insurance does the state require of Duluth taxicab drivers?
Cab drivers must carry corporate insurance. However, their coverage limits on the insurance policies only need to meet the state minimum insurance requirements under Georgia law.
The minimum insurance requirements in Georgia are:
- Bodily injury liability insurance: $25,000 per person
- Bodily injury liability insurance: $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability insurance: $25,000 per accident
It’s a general misconception that the law requires cab drivers to have more insurance coverage on their policy. However, this isn’t true. However, this is not the case. Not only is it not the case, but the existing legal landscape in Georgia presents numerous hurdles for those injured in a taxicab accident, whether they are a passenger in a taxicab or another driver involved in the accident.
Will I receive compensation from the Duluth taxicab company?
One significant problem injured individuals have after a taxicab accident is that most if not all cab drivers are independent contractors. Since they are not employees, the taxi company can’t be held vicariously liable for damages caused by their drivers. Typically, unless the taxi cab driver is a legitimate employee of the taxicab company, the company can’t be held legally responsible for anything the taxi cab driver does.
The Georgia Court of Appeals readdressed this issue in the case of Lopez v. El Palmar Taxi, Inc., 297 Ga. App. 121, (2009). The injured party tried to hold the taxi company that employed a taxi driver as an independent contractor liable for injuries resulting from a taxi collision. They contended that the cab driver was an employee rather than an independent contractor.
Unfortunately for the injured individual, the Court of Appeals disagreed. However, it’s always wise to consult a well-versed Duluth taxi accident attorney to determine whether you can hold a taxicab company liable for the injuries you incurred in a taxicab accident. Although the outcome of the Lopez appeal makes it challenging to hold cab companies liable, it doesn’t inherently absolve them of liability in every case. If you don’t review your case with an attorney, you could be walking away from the compensation you deserve.
Who is at fault for your Duluth taxi accident injuries?
The careless conduct of several different parties could contribute to a serious Duluth taxi crash, including the:
- Taxicab company: There’s no guarantee that the taxicab company considers a cab operator’s driving record or provides suitable training and management of the taxi driver, even if they receive reports of reckless driving by their cab driver. If your Duluth taxi accident lawyer can prove that the driver is or was an actual employee at the time of the accident, the cab company can be held liable for the damages caused by their hired driver.
- Taxi driver: A taxi driver may drive recklessly in their rush to get to the next destination and pick up another fare. For them, time is money. The more people that a taxicab driver can transport in one day, the greater the driver’s earning capacity. Speeding could lead the driver to fail to observe Georgia’s traffic safety laws or otherwise use risky driving practices.
- City of Duluth: Duluth can regulate the taxicab industry within its borders. It can inspect taxicabs to ensure proper maintenance. Insufficient inspections can allow dangerous taxis on the road—for instance, those with bald tires and other hazardous maintenance issues.
- Georgia Department of Transportation: The safe design and construction of Georgia roadways are the responsibility of GDOT. In some taxi accidents, the highway design itself may create an unreasonable risk resulting in a car crash.
When you meet with our experienced Duluth taxi accident attorneys, we can explore your case from all angles to find out who can be held liable. Sometimes, more than one party is liable, which increases the potential value of your claim. If you’re unsure of whom exactly to hold accountable for your damages or not sure how you file a claim, it’s time to reach out for legal help.
How long do you have to file a Duluth taxicab accident case?
This is a critical question as there are time limits. Suppose you or your Duluth taxi accident lawyer doesn’t file your claim within that period. In that case, you can no longer seek compensation from the at-fault parties. Your case is invalid.
Georgia sets a time limit on personal injury claims known as the statute of limitations. In the case of taxicab accidents or any other type of car accident claim for bodily injury, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 provides a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the collision.
Property damage is different. Under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-32, you have four years to bring a claim for property damage resulting from a car accident. It’s always a good idea to meet with an attorney and to bring your claim against a taxi driver as soon as you can. What can make the statute of limitations even more confusing is that cases against government entities or those involving minor children often have different time limitations. Your Duluth taxi accident attorney will be well aware of which statute of limitations applies to your claim.
When should you contact a Duluth taxi accident lawyer?
The statute of limitations isn’t your only worry when it comes to time. Generally, car accident claims grow more difficult to prove as time passes. Evidence such as witness statements and the accident scene becomes lost or damaged. Witness memories are likely to fade, and they might even be difficult to locate.
Once your injuries stabilize, there is no reason to wait to contact a compassionate Duluth taxi accident attorney. Your attorney can begin working right away to gather and preserve evidence in support of your claim. This evidence is necessary to prove the four elements of negligence. Remember that your case won’t be successful if you or your legal counsel can’t prove every one of these elements.
Although most cases don’t get filed right away, it’s best to place your claim in your lawyer’s hands and let them do their work. Sometimes it’s best to wait a while before filing the claim so that you know the full extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. Settling or litigating a case too soon could leave you without the money you need to recover.
Suppose you agree to a settlement before knowing more about your injuries. In that case, you can’t go back and ask for more money or change the fact that you accepted the settlement. For some taxicab injury clients, patience is extremely valuable. Your attorney will know the best time to file, settle, or litigate your claim.
Can you handle your Duluth taxi accident claim independently?
For some injured individuals, handling their claims on their own without the knowledge and skills of a Duluth taxi accident lawyer appears more lucrative. They think they will receive more money in their pocket for their settlement if they skip hiring legal representation
This simply isn’t true. A reputable Duluth taxi accident attorney will pay for themselves.
In other words, they will increase your claim’s value at least enough to compensate for their services but usually even more. That means more money going to you for your injuries and damages. This is especially true for taxicab accident victims who are left to fend for themselves when it comes to determining whose insurance company to file a claim with.
While you can handle your claim yourself, there is no guarantee of success. Your chances of recovering a full and fair settlement are higher with a Duluth taxi accident lawyer on your side. Some injured individuals receive significantly more compensation by having legal representation to fight big insurance companies. Not only do they receive more, but the stresses and confusion involved in determining liability in their accident don’t burden or worry them.
How long does a Duluth taxi accident case take?
No one can predict precisely how long your case will take from start to finish. Sometimes there are curveballs. Typically, a straightforward claim in which the at-fault party admits fault or is clearly liable only takes less time than cases involving severe injuries or multiple liable parties.
Rest assured that when you work with our well-versed Duluth taxi accident attorneys, we will have time to work on your claim now. We will do everything in our power to keep your case moving as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Call Our Experienced Duluth Taxi Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation Today
If a taxi driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you might not understand what’s in store for your Duluth taxi accident case. Interrogatories, depositions, and even a trial may be ahead of you because the insurance adjuster doesn’t want to have to pay for your medical bills or pain and suffering. Intimidating and complicated insurance company practices might make it seem like you don’t have many options, but you do.
Contact the Duluth personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm today for a free consultation at (404) 418-8244 or by using our online contact page. We won’t get paid until you do, and we care about getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: (404) 205-8614
“I was treated with great care and compassion by David Brauns and his team. Both David and Nick Connelly were in constant communication with me throughout the process. Highly recommend.”
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