Taking a cab or hiring a limo may hardly seem to be risky activities, but there have been instances where innocent people have been hurt or killed while riding in a hired car or public conveyance. In cities such as Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Washington, D.C., the annual number of individuals using public transportation is quite high. In particular, taxi cabs can be one the more common sights in urban centers as business people, tourists, shoppers and other commuters take advantage of a convenient cab ride over that of a bus, train or traveling on foot.
Especially during inclement weather, riding in a taxi seems preferable to standing at a bus stop or walking to one’s destination. However, as Maryland personal injury attorneys, the legal experts at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, know that any mode of transportation has its own set of risks. For those traveling by cab, many of the hazards similar to that of operating one’s own private automobile can be associated with taxi rides. Primarily, since the passenger is not in control of the situation, there may also be a high level of anxiety with some cabbies.
It is a not a stretch to say that anyone who has used the services of an urban taxi cab has likely experienced the nervous feeling of not being fully in control. While most taxi drivers observe traffic laws and drive in a safe fashion, there are bad drivers in this group as well. Speeding, running red lights or cutting in and out of heavy traffic can each be a sign of a potentially dangerous situation when riding as a passenger in a taxi.
And just like any roadway accident in a family sedan, sport utility vehicle or minivan, a crash in a taxi cab can be serious or even fatal to the passenger as well as the driver. Because taxi cabs are a kind of public transportation, passengers can sometimes be lulled into a false sense of security, if only because they believe that their driver is a conscientious professional.
As auto accident injury specialist, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen know that a fair number of taxi cab users rarely avail themselves of seatbelts in the cab. In the event of a serious beltway or interstate crash, this is one of the easiest ways to end up in a hospital bed. While the number of people injured or killed in taxi, limousine and city bus accidents may be small compared to the larger number of passenger car collisions each year, any fatality or serious personal injury arising out of a commercial vehicle wreck is one too many in our book.
Besides the physical injuries that can be sustained in a taxi cab crash, any Maryland resident who takes public transport should understand the potential complications associated with being injured as a passenger in a service vehicle that is not properly insured. Uninsured cabs, and there can be quite a few operating in our cities and towns, many times lure customers with lower than standard fares. However, the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” often applies to these particular taxi and shuttle services.
As Baltimore personal injury lawyers, we know that some individuals who are injured while a passenger of an uninsured or improperly insured taxi cab can have a very difficult time recovering medical costs and other accident-related expenses. Although legitimate taxi and limo services may be more costly from the standpoint of rider fares, these companies also protect themselves and their customers by carrying the proper type and amount of liability insurance.
This is especially important when considering that, as with any roadway collision, a taxi or limousine crash can result in a variety of serious and life-threatening injuries ranging from whiplash, compound bone fractures and burns to closed-head trauma, internal hemorrhaging and spinal cord injuries. Many of these injuries can be the result of a passenger not wearing his or her seatbelt while riding in the taxi. All it takes is a distracted cabbie answering his cellphone or fiddling with an in-car satellite navigation system to change the life of an innocent person in just the blink of an eye.
As the victim of a taxi cab accident, we highly recommend consulting with a qualified personal injury lawyer. This is even more important in situations such as taxi and limo collisions where an unscrupulous cabbie or limousine driver might get rid of specific evidence that may link the cause of the crash to the cabby’s or cab company’s negligence.
Because these businesses in no way wish to be held accountable for a victim’s injuries and the medical care needed to return him to heath, it is important to retain an experienced Maryland auto accident lawyer skilled in the area of personal injury law. Since cab services are profit-oriented, it is not uncommon for the taxi company to carry only the legal minimum liability coverage required by Maryland law, which as of 2013 is $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident.
Insurance premiums generally reflect the relative risk to which a particular vehicle is exposed. In the case of Baltimore City taxi cabs, the amount of road traffic road and incidence of auto and truck accidents, as well as the number of roadways and intersections -- all combined with the relatively huge annual mileage that cabbies put on their vehicles -- makes insurance costs for cabs within Baltimore City some of the state’s highest. Interestingly, just a stone’s throw from Baltimore, in Montgomery County taxi cabs operating in that area are required to have a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage, as of 2013.
Any traffic collision, not just those involving taxi cabs, has the potential to cause serious bodily harm or permanent long-term medical complications. Should you or someone you care deeply about be injured in a traffic-related taxi, bus or limo accident, we recommend that the victim or his family contact a qualified personal injury professional to discuss the case. At Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, we are always ready to help those individuals who have been hurt as a result of a negligent driver. For a free, no-obligation consultation, send an email to Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen; or phone us toll free at (800) 654-1949 to schedule a face-to-face meeting.