If you live in the New York area, there are some things you need to know about how you can obtain compensation following a taxi accident.
In the New York area, taking a taxi to where you want to go is a way of life, as fewer people drive or own vehicles. It naturally follows that area residents have a greater risk of being involved in a taxi accident than those in other areas of the country. According to statistics, up to 11 people each day are injured in such accidents. Since you run the risk of being injured in a taxi accident, whether you are a passenger, pedestrian or bicyclist, it is important to be aware of the special legal issues surrounding this type of motor vehicle accident, so you can get the compensation you need for your injuries.
Beware of limits on compensation
In New York, everyone injured in a motor vehicle accident has a right to recover no-fault benefits. Under the no-fault insurance laws, injured parties may recover lost wages, medical bills and other expenses, regardless of whether the driver is at fault. However, the no-fault benefits are often inadequate to pay for serious injuries, as the minimum coverage allowed by law is $50,000. Unfortunately, most taxi operators carry the minimum amount.
Once the no-fault benefits have been exhausted, injured parties may attempt to recover compensation under the taxi operator’s liability insurance policy. This type of insurance can help pay for medical bills, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. However, like no-fault benefits, it is not limitless.
The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission rules state that all licensed taxi and car services must have a minimum $100,000/$300,000 policy of liability insurance. This type of policy will pay a maximum of $100,000 if only one person is injured and $300,000 if multiple parties were injured (regardless of the number). If the taxi is unlicensed, the coverage is even lower, as only a $25,000/$50,000 policy is required.
In order to recover benefits under the liability policy, injured parties must prove that the taxi operator was liable for the accident. Unfortunately, this means that the injured parties often must litigate their claims, which involves an uncertain outcome. Even if the claim is successful, litigation can take months or years to complete, leaving the injured party with the medical bills and other expenses in the meantime.
In cases of serious injuries or multiple injured parties, liability insurance benefits, even combined with no-fault benefits, may not be sufficient to pay for all expenses. Fortunately, New York City residents can protect themselves by purchasing an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. This type of policy is inexpensive and is available to everyone, even those that never drive. It pays compensation in instances where no-fault and liability insurance benefits do not cover the losses.
Since obtaining the insurance benefits you need to pay for your expenses is often a tricky process involving complicated issues of proof, it goes without saying that you need the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney, if you are ever involved in a taxi accident. The attorneys at the Kohn Law Firm have many years of assisting clients injured in such accidents and can work hard on your behalf to obtain the compensation you need to move on with your life.