According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Atlanta had an estimated 486,290 residents as of 2017, not including people who visit our city every year for business or pleasure. As such, it may come as no surprise to you that Atlanta has hundreds if not thousands of taxicabs operating on its roads every day, but taxicabs are not immune to being involved in a car accident. In fact, a taxi driver is more likely to be involved in a car accident than a normal driver due to the amount of miles driven by a typical taxi driver each day. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were an estimated 333,963 car crashes in 2014, and these accidents resulted in 1,164 fatalities with 16,168 cases involving serious injuries.
Due to the commonality of car accidents in Georgia and Atlanta specifically, people often have misconceptions about who will compensate them for their injuries after they have been involved in an accident with a taxi or as a passenger in a taxi. As such, there are a few answers to common questions that you should be aware of if you are ever involved in a taxicab accident in Atlanta, GA.
4 Common Questions After an Atlanta Taxi Accident
1. Are Taxicab Drivers Required to Carry Special Insurance?
Taxicab drivers are required to carry corporate insurance, but the policy limits of their insurance policies are only required to meet the state minimum insurance requirements under Georgia law. The minimum insurance requirements in the state of Georgia are as follows:
- Bodily Injury Liability Insurance: $25,000 per person
- Bodily Injury Liability Insurance: $50,000 per accident
- Property Damage Liability Insurance: $25,000 per accident
Often, people have the general misconception that taxis are required to carry insurance with higher policy limits by law, but this is not the case. In fact, the current legal landscape in Georgia presents several challenges for taxicab accident victims regardless of whether you are a passenger in a taxi or another driver involved in a car accident.
2. Can I Seek Compensation from the Taxi Company?
One of the challenges taxicab accident victims face is the fact that most if not all taxi drivers are categorized as independent contractors. As such, the the taxi company can not be held vicariously liable for the actions of their drivers. This issue was revisited by a Georgia Court of Appeals in 2009 in the case of Lopez v. El Palmar Taxi, Inc., 297 Ga. App. 121 (2009). In that case, a plaintiff tried to hold the taxi company that employed a taxi driver as an independent contractor liable for injuries sustained in a taxicab accident, and the plaintiff claimed, among other things, that the cabi was an employee rather than an independent contractor.
The Court of Appeals disagreed stating “As a general rule, an employer is not responsible for torts committed by its employee when the employee exercises an independent business and is not subject to the immediate direction and control of the employer…to prove that a taxicab driver was operating a vehicle in the course of the employer’s business and within the scope of the driver’s employment, the plaintiff must show that the employer owned the vehicle․” Moreover, the Georgia Court of Appeals went on to conclude that the relationship between an independent contractor and a business is presumed to be true unless it is proven otherwise thereby placing the burden of proof squarely on the plaintiff to prove that an employer/employee relationship existed between the taxi company and the taxi driver. However, you should always consult with a taxicab accident attorney to determine whether or not a taxi company is liable for the damages you incurred in a taxicab accident. Although the ruling in Lopez makes holding taxi companies liable more difficult, it does not release them from liability in every case.
3. How Long do I Have to File a Claim?
The state of Georgia places a time limit on personal injury claims known as a 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 establishes a two year statute of limitations from the time of the accident. However, claims for property damage are different. Under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-32, you have four years to bring a claim for property damage caused by a car accident. It is always advisable for you to bring your claim against a taxi driver as soon as possible. Because as a general rule, car accident claims become more difficult to prove as more time passes.
4. What Type of Damages can I Recover Compensation for?
Taxicab accidents are similar to any other car accident with respect to the types of damages you can seek compensation for. As a general matter, the damages sought in a typical taxicab accident fall under a category of damages known as compensatory damages, and compensatory damages are broken down into economic and non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages can be incurred for things such as:
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are damages that are incurred as a result of going through the trauma of the accident and the emotional and physical pain of going through the recovery process. Typical examples of non-economic compensatory damages that you could seek compensation for are:
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Taxicab Accidents in Atlanta, GA
Understanding all of the laws and rules that govern taxicab accidents takes time and legal expertise, which is why you should always contact a taxicab accident lawyer if you have been involved in an accident with a taxi as a passenger or another driver. At Cambre and Associates, our taxicab accident lawyers have years of experience handling taxicab accident claims, and we stand ready to help you. So give our office a call today for a free consultation to find out how a taxicab accident lawyer can assist you with your claim.
These types of accidents can result in serious neck injuries, contact our team of neck injury attorneys today and get the representation and compensation you deserve.
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