Las Vegas attracts millions of visitors every year. Consequently, these visitors rely on non-traditional modes of transportation to get around, including buses, rideshare services, and taxis. According to the state of Nevada, there were approximately 3,250 taxicabs and 10,000 taxi drivers in Nevada in 2014. As passengers, we rely on taxis to safely get us from one place to another, and so does the state of Nevada. In Nevada, taxis are common carriers, just like buses, planes, and limos. This means that there are certain laws and regulations that they must follow to operate their businesses, including the amount and type of insurance they are required to hold. Though Nevada laws protect taxi passengers, accidents still happen. If you were injured in a taxi accident, contact the Nevada Taxi Accident Lawyer at the Law Offices of Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC.
Taxis are a major form of business in Nevada, particularly in the tourist-rich Las Vegas area. Whether you were injured in a taxi accident as a passenger or the driver of another car, you may have a lot of questions about your ability to recover compensation for the expenses and impacts on your life that your injury caused. Read on for more information, including answers to some of the questions that we hear most frequently from clients.
The Legal Requirements for Taxi Drivers
Logistically, an accident involving a taxi is no different than any other accident. The steps you need to take after an accident are the same: check for injuries, call emergency services, gather evidence, exchange information, and report the accident. But certain things set taxi drivers apart from other drivers on the road.
Nevada’s common carrier laws require all taxi drivers to hold a minimum level of liability insurance. Specifically, each driver must have all of the following:
$250,000 bodily injury insurance for an accident involving one person
$500,000 bodily injury insurance for an accident involving two or more people
$50,000 property damage protection
In addition to the insurance requirements, all taxi drivers must undergo a background check before employment and maintain a valid commercial driver’s license. A company that fails to ensure compliance with these laws may bear financial responsibility in an accident.
Just like any other vehicle, taxi cabs can be involved in accidents, both minor and serious. But unlike other drivers, these drivers carry a higher level of responsibility and are held to a higher standard. Common causes of taxi accidents include:
Speeding: Speeding is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States and taxi cabs are no exception. A taxi driver may exceed the speed limit due to time constraints from the passenger or pure negligence. High speed reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases the amount of time it takes to bring the vehicle to a stop. It can also increase the severity of injuries.
Distracted driving: Over 3,100 people died in 2017 because of distracted driving. While distracted driving is most commonly associated with cell phone usage, a taxi driver may also be distracted by passengers, the radio, or other mobile devices—including any apps or communication equipment used by the taxi company to communicate with him.
Bad (or aggressive) driving: Taxi drivers can become complacent. They can take short cuts, ignore traffic laws, or make risky moves to navigate through traffic. Work demands can increase the chances that a driver will make a poor decision.
If I am injured while riding as a passenger in a Nevada taxi cab, who is liable?
Taxis are commonplace in Nevada, and so are taxi accidents. In fact, in a year’s time, more than 6,000 taxis were in accidents in Nevada, and more than 4,000 citations were issued against taxi drivers.
A Nevada taxi accident case may include several different sources of liability, such as:
The driver of the taxi cab, if he or she was at-fault for the accident.
The driver of another car, if that individual was responsible for causing the accident.
The governmental agency tasked with maintaining public streets, if the accident was due to a condition with the maintenance of the roadway, an issue with street signage or traffic control devices, or a feature on public property that obstructed the driver’s view.
The manufacturer or distributor of vehicle parts, if the accident was caused due to a vehicle defect.
The taxi company, if it was negligent in the maintenance of the vehicle.
A taxi hit my car. Is the cab driver at fault, or is the Nevada taxi company liable?
Both the taxi driver and the company that he or she works may share liability, depending on the circumstances of your accident. In Las Vegas, taxis are owned by companies required to provide insurance to protect the taxi driver, passenger, and occupants of the other vehicle in the event of an accident caused by the driver. However, outside of Las Vegas, a taxi driver can own his or her own vehicle, in which case liability would rest solely with the driver.
Possible Damages After a Taxi Accident
No two auto accidents are the same; this is particularly true for cases involving taxis. Different variables can affect the outcome of your case. That said, certain damages are commonly involved in a personal injury case, including:
Medical bills: Nevada does not require drivers to hold personal injury protection (PIP) policies, which means the at-fault party will be responsible for your medical bills. These bills include doctor visits, ambulance rides, surgical procedures, medication, and rehabilitation services.
Pain and suffering: Accidents are painful, both physically and emotionally. Pain and suffering compensation is designed to compensate you for the invisible damages that you incur as the result of an accident. This may include actual pain, mental anguish, PTSD, loss of companionship, or loss of consortium.
Lost wages: An accident can mean lost time at work. This can make it hard to pay the bills. Lost wages cover any time missed as a direct result of the accident, including any recovery time. In cases of severe injuries, the damages may extend to cover future lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
Wrongful death: If a loved one is killed in an accident, the at-fault party should be held responsible. The goal of a wrongful death claim is not to compensate you for the death of a loved one, but rather to transfer the financial burden (including funeral expenses, medical expenses, and lost wages) from the victim to the guilty party.
What level of insurance coverage must taxis in Nevada have?
$250,000 for bodily injury or death of one person involved in the crash.
$500,000 liability insurance for bodily injury or death of at least two people involved in the crash.
$50,000 of property damage liability.
How do I recover damages related to my Nevada taxi accident?
In Nevada, individuals who are injured in an accident involving a taxi cab may recover damages related to their injuries from the at-fault party through a lawsuit. This is a lawsuit filed in civil court, generally within two years of the date of the accident.
Nevada allows for the recovery of economic damages, which are out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical treatment, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work. Non-economic damages, such as physical pain and suffering and emotional distress, are also recoverable through a lawsuit.
To recover damages, you must prove that another person or entity was liable for your accident. In taxi cab accidents, you prove liability by showing:
The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. For taxi drivers and other drivers on the road, this duty of care would be for the driver to ensure that he or she operates the vehicle safely and legally. For taxi companies, one element of this duty of care would be to ensure that the cab was properly maintained. In cases involving defective products, the duty of care would be to design a product that is safe for use when used as directed.
The defendant breached the duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that were contrary to the duty of care. This could involve driving unsafely or illegally, failing to maintain the vehicle, or designing a product that proved defective.
The breach resulted in the accident, which caused you to endure injuries and subsequent economic expenses and life impacts.
If I file a Nevada taxi accident lawsuit, do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. In fact, because the vast majority of Nevada taxi accident cases settle before they ever see the inside of a courtroom, chances are more likely that your case will settle before trial, as well. Hire an experienced taxi accident attorney who is comfortable and confident in litigating your case all the way to trial, just in case.
Is my damage settlement or award from my Nevada taxi accident case taxable?
According to the Internal Revenue Service, personal injury settlements and awards are not considered income, and therefore are not taxable. The exception is punitive damages—which are damage awards not related to the injuries that the plaintiff has sustained or the expenses that he or she incurred. Rather, punitive damages punish a defendant for particularly reckless behavior.
Additionally, if you claimed your accident-related medical expenses as a tax deduction one year and then received a settlement or award that included medical expenses the next year, you likely will be expected to return the amount deducted.
Do I need an attorney to pursue compensation after a Nevada taxi accident?
You should retain an experienced taxi accident attorney to pursue injury-related damages after your accident. Attorneys who have experience in taxi accident cases have likely spent many years obtaining the education and training needed to serve their clients.
When you retain an attorney, he or she will evaluate your case, consider time limits built into the legal process, negotiate with at-fault parties and their insurance companies, understand the evidence and witness testimony needed to prove your case, work with a network of professionals who can strengthen your case, and assist in collecting your settlement or award.
All of these services provide you with the ability to focus on your recovery while your attorney focuses on the legal process involved in recovering damages.
For a free consultation with our experienced Nevada taxi accident attorneys, contact Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC.
Figuring out what to do after an accident can be confusing, and understanding the complexities behind a taxi accident case can be overwhelming. If you have been injured in a Nevada taxi accident, you’re not alone. The experienced lawyers at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC have successfully litigated cases against taxi cab companies throughout Clark County, and we want to hear from you.
If you retain us, our team will aggressively fight for a fair and just settlement to compensate you for your injuries. Don’t spend time trying to figure out the legal system when you should be focusing on your recovery. Our team is made up of experienced personal injury attorneys that have significant experience negotiating and litigating taxi accident cases in Nevada. Contact Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC at (702) 382-9797 or online to schedule a free consultation.
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“Not knowing what to expect on my first car accident; I must say, I am very pleased with the outcome of my case. Lina and Phillip who is bilingual were always available to answer any questions or concerns. I will highly recommend this firm! -Rosie S.”