Orlando has long been a favorite tourist destination for those in the United States and throughout the world. The city also welcomes business travelers for conventions, training, and meetings. Taxi companies in the Orlando area have plenty of tourist business as well as locals who simply don’t want to worry about driving or need a ride home after enjoying a few cocktails. Taxi drivers have an incentive to pick-up and drop-off their customers quickly. In their haste to provide a service, dangerous and deadly taxi accidents can occur.
Whether you suffered injuries in a taxi accident while visiting Orlando or as a resident, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden that comes with accident injuries because a taxi driver or taxi company was careless and negligent.
A skilled Orlando personal injury attorney can inform you of your options and advise you on the best course of action. Contact Michael T. Gibson, P.A. today to discuss the details of your taxi accident and injuries and how they have impacted your life. You can contact us online or at (407) 490-1271.
Michael T. Gibson, P.A.’s Results in Auto Accident Cases
The skilled legal team at Michael T. Gibson, P.A. have extensive experience representing clients involved in Orlando auto accidents, including taxi accidents. The firm’s commitment to case preparation, client service, and seeking justice has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in damages for their clients.
Some examples of recent case results include:
- $1.97 million jury award for a client who suffered a catastrophic injury in an auto accident.
- $600,000 jury award for a client who also suffered a catastrophic injury in a car accident.
- $650,000 jury award for injuries from an auto accident.
- $475,000 verdict for auto accident injuries.
- $375,000 verdict for auto accident injuries.
- $150,000 settlement for car accident injuries.
- $100,000 settlement for car accident injuries.
The previous selection of case results only serves as examples. No attorney can guarantee specific results for your taxi accident claim. Each auto accident case has distinctive facts that add to or detract from its value. The experienced Orlando taxi accident lawyers at Michael T. Gibson, P.A. have the resources and knowledge to build the strongest case possible for your circumstances.
Orlando Taxi Insurance Requirements
Florida requires all for-hire passenger vehicles, including taxis and companies who own them to comply with the state’s financial responsibility requirements. Although some taxi companies might choose to self-insure if they own at least 300 vehicles, most buy insurance to meet the requirements. Florida does not require taxi drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance which is mandatory for all other drivers.
Florida taxi drivers, however, must have the following insurance coverage:
- $125,000 minimum death and bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage per person
- $250,000 minimum death and bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage per incident
- $50,000 minimum property damage liability (PDL) coverage
Common Scenarios Leading to Orlando Taxi Accidents
Many situations can lead to an Orlando taxi accident. Taxi passengers are especially vulnerable to an injury when an accident occurs because most do not wear seat belts when they ride in the back seat. A crash causes people in the back seat to fly forward, often against the glass or hard plastic partition found in most taxis.
Understanding common scenarios that lead to taxi accidents can potentially help you understand how your taxi accident occurred, or help prevent you from some taxi accident injuries in the future. Here are some common scenarios that lead to taxi accidents:
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) warns drivers of three types of driver distractions:
- Visual distractions taking a driver’s eyes away from the road.
- Manual distractions taking a driver’s hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions taking a driver’s mind off driving.
Distracted driving has plagued drivers long before cell phones existed. Yet, texting and driving is a triple threat that falls under all three of the above categories. Texting while driving is illegal in Orlando and throughout the state and isn’t often an issue for taxi drivers. Taxi drivers have plenty of other distractions that can lead to accidents and injury.
Some examples include:
- Programming a GPS or radio
- Adjusting other vehicle features such as climate control or seats
- Eating and drinking
- Listening to chatty passengers
- Dealing with belligerent, unruly, or drunk passengers
- Focusing on something else going on outside the vehicle
- Daydreaming about personal things
The seasoned taxi accident lawyers at Michael T. Gibson, P.A. help injured clients hold negligent taxi drivers accountable for distracted driving when it results in harm to passengers, other drivers, and/or other occupants.
Federal and state agencies heavily regulate the amount of time professional drivers can spend behind the wheel each day. All drivers who hold commercial drivers’ licenses (CDL) must comply. Although taxi drivers are professional drivers, the government does not require them to carry a CDL. Drivers work long hours, often without breaks. Taxi drivers who suffer from fatigue or drive drowsy for other reasons can cause treacherous accidents if they fall asleep at the wheel or nod off for a few seconds when driving.
Even fatigued taxi drivers who don’t fall asleep at the wheel endanger others. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers who go without 18 hours of sleep suffer the same level of driving impairment as drivers who have consumed enough alcohol to test at the legal limit of 0.08 breath or blood alcohol content. In addition to long hours, taxi drivers are also susceptible to drowsy driving when they work night shifts that go against their internal clock. Other potential causes of drowsy driving include untreated sleep disorders, poor health, diabetes, and improper use of medication.
Taxi drivers who use and abuse controlled substances such as alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription medication put passengers and others with whom they share the road at risk for accidents, injury, and fatality. Impaired taxi drivers cannot quickly process the information they need to safely transport customers around the town. Driver impairment from alcohol and drugs impact a taxi driver’s ability to respond to other vehicles on the road, react to traffic control devices, and accurately judge distances.
Alcohol isn’t as much of an issue for taxi drivers as the use of caffeine or illegal amphetamines used to stay awake to work more hours. Before these substances wear off, drivers risk making bad, impulsive decisions, and afterward, they can suffer from dangerous drowsiness and other side effects. Orlando’s residents and tourists who take taxis late at night also risk injury when other drunk or drugged drivers recklessly get behind the wheel.
Inadequate Taxi Maintenance
Drivers who own taxis and larger taxi companies have a responsibility to maintain their taxis in roadworthy condition to prevent accidents and injury. Taxi cabs put on thousands of miles each month, requiring regular inspections and maintenance. With few regulations governing taxi drivers and companies, many taxi owners cut corners to save money. Some companies don’t fix issues before they arise and they wait until something breaks. Mechanical failures at critical times can lead to severe accidents and injuries.
Examples of taxi maintenance issues that sometimes lead to accidents include:
- Failure to inspect and fix brakes and braking systems;
- Failure to inspect, rotate, and change tires, potentially leading to tire a blowout;
- Failure to check and change oil and filters; and
- Fail to regularly inspect and change belts.
Michael T. Gibson, P.A. holds taxi owners and taxi companies accountable for the careless upkeep of their vehicles when it causes harm to others.
Taxi accidents occur when taxi drivers don’t follow traffic regulations. Any violation could lead to an accident, but taxi drivers are notorious for speeding. Passengers are in a hurry to reach their destinations and taxi drivers go as quickly as they can to get them there. Taxi drivers make more money when they have more passengers. Speeding helps drivers offer more rides each day. Speeding comes with a cost.
Taxi drivers who drive over the speed limit or drive too fast for traffic, road or weather conditions risk losing control of their cab and potentially causing a severe traffic collision. Speed also increases the force of impact during a traffic crash, resulting in more severe injuries and a higher likelihood of fatal injuries.
Seeking Compensation for Losses After an Orlando Taxi Accident
Whether you’ve suffered accident injuries while riding in a taxi or as a driver or occupant in another vehicle, Florida law permits you to take legal action to recover damages related to losses incurred as a result of your injuries. Depending on the situation of your accident, the taxi company might share liability with the driver. Regardless of fault, your first step to receiving compensation for your injuries is to file a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy.
PIP coverage is mandatory for those who register a motor vehicle in Florida, and it covers a portion of medical benefits and lost wages. Your coverage extends to you as a taxi passenger, a pedestrian, and a bicyclist. If a careless taxi driver causes an accident while you are on your motorcycle, PIP insurance will not apply. Tourists who visit Orlando might have PIP coverage if they have optional or mandatory coverage from their own state.
Once you’ve exhausted possible PIP claim options, Florida law allows you to file a claim against the at-fault taxi driver or company to receive compensation for your losses.
If you reach an agreeable settlement with the insurance company or the court rules in your favor, you might receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses including ambulance ride, emergency room visit, surgery, hospitalization, diagnostic tests and imaging, follow-up visits, medication, and travel costs to and from the doctor/hospital
- Estimated future medical treatment costs when a taxi accident leads to a severe injury or a permanent condition or disability requiring lifelong care, sometimes in a long-term nursing care facility
- Rehabilitation costs for visits with specialists, such as physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapist, mental health specialists, and any other specialist who helps taxi accident victims cope with their injuries
- Costs for assistive devices such as artificial limbs, walkers, wheelchairs, and canes
- Lost wages for missing time from work due to injury, hospitalization, and rehabilitation
- Estimated future lost wages when a taxi accident leads to a catastrophic injury preventing an accident victim from returning to work or seeking gainful employment in the future
- Costs to replace domestic help the accident victim provided before the injury, such as lawn care, pool maintenance, cooking, cleaning, and childcare
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Physical pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of living
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Punitive damages in rare cases that include intentional harm or gross negligence
If you have lost a loved one in a taxi accident, you might also recover some above damages depending on your relationship with the deceased, as well as costs for burial or cremation and a funeral or memorial service. Your Orlando taxi accident lawyer can evaluate your case and answer specific questions about your eligibility for compensation in a wrongful death suit.
Orlando Taxi Accident FAQ
Taxi cabs are abundant in Orlando because of its status as a popular tourist destination. Business travelers and residents also rely on Orlando’s taxis to get them where they need to go. Unfortunately, an abundance of taxi cabs on Orlando’s roads leads to more accidents and injuries when cab drivers or their employers are careless.
If you were in an Orlando taxi accident, you likely have many questions about what to do next. If you are unsure about how you should proceed, consult our Orlando taxi accident attorneys. We can answer your questions and advise you on the best path forward for your situation. Until you have the opportunity to consult with us, this guide provides answers to frequently asked questions about taxi accidents in Orlando.
I only feel a little sore after an Orlando taxi accident. Do I need to go to the doctor?
Yes, you should always get checked out by a physician after being involved in a traffic accident, especially when you did not cause the accident. Just because you didn’t have to go to the hospital in an ambulance, does not mean you didn’t suffer any injuries. Traffic crashes are traumatic experiences and typically result in an adrenaline rush that can mask the pain from minor and severe injuries.
A little soreness can indicate other, more severe, and sometimes fatal injuries. For example:
- Headaches can indicate a brain injury.
- Soreness in the neck or back can be a sign of serious injuries such as fractured vertebrae or slipped discs.
- Soreness in the abdomen can be a sign of internal injuries that, if left untreated, sometimes lead to death.
Similarly, some serious injuries do not show symptoms for hours or days; you could have sustained a serious injury even though you cannot feel or see it right away. If you go to your nearest hospital, a physician will examine you for common accident injuries and advise you on any restrictions or needed treatment. You should go to the doctor after a taxi accident if for no other reason than that your health is of the utmost importance.
Additionally, filing an insurance claim or taxi accident lawsuit after a taxi accident requires proving that the taxi driver’s or taxi company’s negligence caused your injuries. Medical documentation of your injuries, especially those that aren’t visible, serves as valuable evidence for insurance companies and the courts, making it difficult for anyone to argue your injuries were not a result of the taxi accident.
Where can I seek compensation for my injuries in an Orlando taxi accident?
Florida law permits you to seek damages for your injuries in civil court against any at-fault party after a taxi accident.
Parties who might bear liability include:
- The taxi driver and/or owner.
- The taxi cab company.
- A driver of another vehicle.
- A public entity if the accident was caused by poor road conditions.
- An auto manufacturer if a defective vehicle led to an accident.
I think I was partially at fault for the Orlando taxi accident, do I still have a claim?
Yes. Even if you contributed to the taxi accident, that does not absolve the other at-fault parties of their portion of financial responsibility for an accident and injuries. The court may reduce any award you receive or the insurance company might reduce the value of your settlement, but you still have the right to take legal action.
Do passengers in Orlando taxi cabs have special protections under the law?
Federal and state law does not regulate taxis to the same extent that they regulate other professional drivers, such as truckers. However, the law considers taxi cab companies common carriers, which are vehicles for hire. The average driver has a duty of care to others on the road to operate safely. Common carriers, including taxi cabs, have an elevated duty of care to others on the road, as well as their passengers.
This not only includes driving with caution, but also requires that they perform regular maintenance on taxis and fix known issues as soon as possible. When negligent cab drivers or taxi companies fail to uphold their legal obligation to passengers, they open themselves up to liability if an accident occurs.
I suffered injuries as a passenger in an Orlando taxi accident. Does my PIP insurance apply?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state that requires those who register a vehicle to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. When an accident occurs, each person who suffers injuries files a claim under their own PIP policy regardless of who was at fault. Your PIP coverage will also cover you if you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. Whether you were riding in a taxi or were a passenger in another vehicle during a taxi accident, your PIP coverage applies.
If you do not have PIP insurance because you do not have a vehicle, the driver’s PIP coverage might extend to you. Additionally, PIP coverage extends to family members in the same household as the insured. For example, if your child is a college student and decides to come home on a school break and the taxi she takes from the airport gets in an accident on the way home, your PIP coverage extends to her in that situation.
If I’m covered under PIP insurance, do I need to take legal action for an Orlando taxi accident?
Florida PIP insurance only covers 80 percent of accident-related medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages from missing work due to an injury. You typically receive PIP benefits much sooner than waiting for the outcome of a taxi accident lawsuit, so PIP coverage provides some needed funds in the near term. However, severe injuries resulting in extensive time away from work can quickly meet and often grossly exceed minimum PIP coverage limits.
Moreover, PIP companies frequently delay, deny, and reduce payments to their own customers, so hiring our Orlando taxi accident lawyers can help ensure you get the benefits you deserve—and paid for.
If you choose not to take action beyond a PIP claim, you will need to pay for the rest of your losses and expenses related to the taxi accident. Taking legal action against the other party allows you to seek compensation beyond PIP to help pay for additional medical treatment costs and replace lost income. Additionally, PIP benefits only compensate accident victims for tangible economic losses. On the other hand, accident victims who take legal action can receive compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses that are more difficult to quantify.
An Orlando taxi driver hit me on my motorcycle. Does my PIP insurance apply?
PIP coverage is not available for Florida bikers, and your PIP coverage from your auto insurance policy does not extend to your motorcycle. If you have suffered injuries on your motorcycle in an Orlando taxi accident, you must file a claim with the taxi driver’s insurance carrier or the taxi cab company’s insurance carrier to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other associated losses.
My loved one died in an Orlando taxi accident. Can I sue?
Yes, you may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the taxi driver and their employer, depending on your relationship with the deceased. Florida law allows eligible surviving family members to bring a suit when the death of their loved one was a result of the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.”
An important element of a viable wrongful death suit is that the deceased must have been eligible to bring a taxi accident suit and recover damages had they lived through the accident.
Family members who receive compensation in a wrongful death suit can receive damages the deceased would have received such as medical expenses and lost wages up to the time of death. Additionally, the law allows courts to award compensation for non-economic damages based on the plaintiff’s relationship with the deceased.
Non-economic damages might include:
- The value of future lost support and services.
- Loss of companionship and protection for surviving spouses.
- Mental pain and suffering for surviving spouses or surviving parents.
- Lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance for surviving minor children.
How long do I have to take legal action after an Orlando taxi accident?
Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for injured accident victims who want to bring a lawsuit against a taxi driver, their employer, or another potentially liable party. In the vast majority of cases, the statute of limitations time clock begins on the date of the accident. If you have lost a family member in a taxi accident, you have two years to bring a wrongful death lawsuit if you are an eligible surviving family member.
Florida courts strictly adhere to statutes of limitations, so it’s in your best interest to contact a taxi accident lawyer as soon as possible. Some exceptions exist, but in most circumstances, a Florida court will not hear your case once the statute of limitations has run out. Your attorney can advise you on whether your case may warrant an exception.
Will I have to go to court for my Orlando taxi accident claim?
It’s highly unlikely you will need to go to court for your taxi accident claim. Most traffic accident claims, including those involving taxis, settle long before going to trial. Court fees are expensive and both sides often try to avoid the extra expense if it isn’t necessary. Taxi accident attorneys negotiate with the insurance company who represents the taxi driver and/or their employer and attempt to reach a settlement agreement that compensates the accident victim fairly for losses incurred as a result of the accident.
Some insurance companies outwardly deny liability, aggressively try to devalue every claim, and refuse to make fair settlement offers. If a settlement is not an option, your lawyer must advocate for you in the courtroom, likely requiring you to share your story with the court.
How much is my Orlando taxi accident claim worth?
Every claim is different, and as a result, there is no average claim value for a taxi accident. Attorneys and insurance adjusters rely on expert opinions, formulas, and experience to place a monetary value on your claim. You can be sure the insurance company’s value of your claim is far less than the amount your lawyer will assign to your claim.
Considerations that factor into the value of your claim will likely include:
- The severity of your injuries.
- The nature of your injuries.
- The likelihood of making a full recovery.
- Your long-term prognosis.
- The money value of your economic losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
- Insurance policy limits.
- The extent to which your injuries have impacted your life.
Should I accept a settlement offer from the Orlando taxi cab company?
Taxi drivers and companies must carry higher amounts of liability insurance than the average driver to comply with Florida’s financial responsibility laws. However, this doesn’t mean insurance companies are eager to pay out higher claims or jury awards. Insurance companies protect their bottom line by avoiding as much financial responsibility for their policyholder as possible. This is difficult when they know their policyholder is at fault. Some insurance companies avoid large payouts by offering a low settlement soon after an accident.
Insurance companies sometimes prey on financially desperate accident victims who are amassing hefty medical expenses while unable to work because of their injuries. The insurance company offers a low settlement, but one that is high enough to tempt accident victims to sign. This helps carriers avoid costly payouts down the road. Accident victims who sign these early offers also sign away their right to sue for additional compensation at a later date.
It’s always in your best interest to consult with an experienced taxi accident attorney to discuss any settlement offer you receive. Attorneys are trained negotiators, who typically get better results for their clients than their clients could negotiate on their own. Early, low-ball settlement offers typically serve as a starting-off point for negotiations because they are almost always far less than what you deserve for your taxi accident injuries and related losses.
How much will an Orlando taxi accident lawyer cost me?
Nothing. Orlando taxi accident law firms like ours generally offer free case evaluations to discuss the details of a potential client’s case and examine their eligibility for compensation. If the attorney advises legal action, you also generally do not have to pay upfront attorney’s fees. Taxi accident law firms almost always accept cases on a contingency fee basis, deducting attorney’s fees from any compensation they secure for you related to your taxi accident.
Injured in an Orlando Taxi Accident? Contact Us Today!
At Michael T. Gibson, P.A., we understand the challenges you and your family face if you’ve suffered injuries in a taxi accident. A competent Orlando taxi accident lawyer can investigate your claim, gather relevant evidence and reports, and handle the details of your claim, while you focus on healing and recovery. If you were injured in an Orlando taxi accident as a result of a cab driver’s or cab company’s negligence, you deserve full compensation for your injuries.
Contact us today online or at (407) 490-1271 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your taxi accident and learn how we can help you. If you choose us to represent you in your taxi accident claim, you do not have to pay an upfront retainer. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis, collecting attorney fees from any compensation we secure for you.
Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney
2420 S. Lakemont Avenue
Orlando, FL 32814
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“My attorney Amit was absolutely amazing. Once the case got to him he called me on a regular basis and kept me posted on every action they were taking. Not that I want to be another accident but if I do I know who’s taking care of me.” -Heather B.