New York Taxi Accident Attorney
New York City, a major tourist attraction, has over 13,000 yellow [medallion] taxi cabs serving the five boroughs. In addition there are numerous licensed car services and "gypsy" or unlicensed car services. A significant number of visitors and residents are injured while passengers in taxi cabs or involved in collisions with taxi cabs. If you have been injured in a taxi cab accident, contact our New York taxi accident lawyers to discuss your case.
NY City Taxi Cab Accident Injury Lawyer
New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission requires that all yellow taxi cabs and all licensed car services carry a minimum of $100,000.00/$300,000.00 in LIABILITY insurance coverage. This means that any one person, when injured by or in a taxi cab, has a maximum of $100,000.00 in liability insurance available to them. If more than one person is injured in or by a taxi cab there is a maximum of $300,000.00 of insurance available to them in total. It is not unusual for a taxi cab to have more than three passengers or be involved with another vehicle having several passengers; all of the injured people would then have to share in the total insurance coverage of $300,000.00. Not much money when injuries can be severe.
Private, unlicensed gipsy cabs do not have this requirement and, therefore, will have only the minimum motor vehicle liability coverage of $25,000.00/$50,000.00. Thus an individual who was injured would be covered to a maximum of $25,000.00 and multiple injured parties would have to share a maximum of $50,000.00 in insurance coverage.
New York, like a majority of the states, operates under a No-fault Insurance system. "No-Fault", covers an injured person's basic economic loss. It has nothing to do with compensating the injured person for pain and suffering which is covered under the liability insurance coverage discussed above.
How No-Fault Insurance Works
If the taxi cab in which you are a passenger is involved in an accident the taxi cab company's No-Fault coverage is completely responsible for the payment of your medical bills and other economic expenses. Most taxi cabs carry the minimum No-Fault coverage of $50,000.00 in addition to the liability coverage listed above.
Medical providers who treat you are required to adjust their bills to conform to the No-Fault rates that are set by the government. The medical providers will need to know the name of the insurance company to bill for their services. If the police are at the scene of the accident the driver of the taxi cab will be required to show the officer the car's insurance card. The police report will have the identification number of the insurance company in the body of the report. It is the driver's duty to report the accident to his insurance company. You would be surprised to learn that a significant number of drivers "forget" to inform the insurance company of the accident. Therefore, it is important for your attorney to notify the company on your behalf. If you have any significant injury do not contact the insurance carrier on your own. They will ask for information from you that you are not required to give them in an effort to limit their exposure in the case.
Do not give the doctors your health insurance information, as the primary method of payment is No-Fault insurance.
The No-Fault insurance company has the right to have their own doctors examine you after the first month of treatment. When you go for those visits remember that those doctors are not there to treat you. They serve only one purpose and that is to report their findings to the insurance company which will then seek to cut you off from benefits.
A motor vehicle's No fault coverage covers up to $50,000.00 in benefits, regardless of the severity of the injury, as follows:
Medical care and related services - These claims must be filed by your medical provider within 45 days of the service being rendered. The medical providers are paid based upon a schedule. You are not required to pay the difference.
Lost Income - this claim must be filed by you within 90 days of the accident. The maximum loss of income recovery is $2,000 per month for not more than 3 years from the date of the accident. However this is further limited by no requiring the payment of more than 80% of your lost earnings [taking into effect the taxes that would have been deducted if you received your regular salary]. These payments are not otherwise subject to income tax;
Other reasonable and necessary expenses - These are limited to $25.00 per day for up to one year. These can include the hiring of a housekeeper etc.;
Death benefits - $2,000.00.
Please remember that No-Fault Insurance coverage does not cover the non-economic losses such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or wrongful death. These will be covered in a lawsuit, assuming that your injuries reach the required threshold of "serious injury" as defined by statute.
As you can see, dealing with the different levels of insurance coverage is complicated and contains hidden traps for the lay person. It is best that you contact us before trying to cross this "mine-field" on your own.
Here are some good rules to follow:
- When traveling in a taxi cab be certain to use the seat belts that are required to be available, accessible and working in every taxi cab. New York State law requires all passengers to be belted. A passenger that is not belted and is injured in an accident can be held to be partially at fault when suing for damages. This could result in a diminished recovery. In addition, it makes good sense to be belted. Most taxi cabs have a Plexiglas partition separating the rear seat from the driver's seat. A sudden stop or lane change can propel the passenger forward resulting in serious facial injuries;
- It makes good sense to jot down the name of the driver and the taxi cab's number upon entering the taxi cab. The information will be posted on two placards affixed to the Plexiglas divider. Should there be an accident it may not be possible to identify the driver immediately without this information;
- Demand that the police and paramedics be called to the scene of the accident and do not leave the scene without talking to the police, unless the ambulance responds first and transports you to the hospital;
- Ask the NYC police for their name, badge number and police precinct;
- Ask the police to give you written information as to how to secure a copy of the police report and when it will become available to you;
- Try and get the name, address and phone number or e-mail of any witnesses;
- Taxi drivers are expected to follow your instructions as to the route you wish to take. If you feel the driver is driving too fast or erratically you have the right to complain to the driver and if your instructions are not followed you can file a complaint with the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. You can reach them from a NYC phone by dialing 311, toll free. From out of state call 212-New York, or visit the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission website.
Call us toll free at 877.298.3201 if you have been injured in a NYC taxi or limousine accident.
Visit our NY car accident overview page for more information on New York auto accidents, or check out additional resources pertinent to NYC taxi injuries:
The New York taxi cab accident law firm of Tolmage, Peskin, Harris & Falick represents clients in all five boroughs of New York (NYC): Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, as well as Suffolk County, Nassau County, Westchester County, Rockland County, and the remainder of the State of New York.