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In Boston alone, there are 1,825 medallion-taxis. A “medallion” is proof of a valid licensed taxi. Medallions can cost upwards of $500,000 and the companies that own the medallion taxi usually require a driver that rent the taxi for a 12 hour shift to pay a daily fee that contributes to the cost of the medallion. In addition to this fee, the driver of the taxi is responsible to pay for his own gas, insurance, and tolls. The costs rise quickly and often a driver will earn money one day just to afford the taxi the next.
Because of the high costs to operate a taxi and the need to keep the taxi on the road at all times, often the taxi driver will not take any breaks leading to a higher incidence of car accidents caused by a tired driver. If a car accident involving a taxi does occur, exchanging information can also be challenging. Often, the name on the taxi is not the actual operator of the taxi. The actual operator is usually a company that then, in turn, hires drivers to drive the taxi. So, it is imperative that a person involved in an accident with a taxi obtain all information necessary, including the owner, operator, taxi medallion number, license plate number and any other identifying information of the taxi.
Unfortunately, because of the high costs associated with operating a taxi, drivers of taxi tend to carry the minimum insurance allowable by Massachusetts law. This amount is a maximum of $20,000 per person injured and no more than $40,000 per accident regardless of the number of injured persons. As you can imagine this amount of insurance will usually not fully compensate all claimants in an accident because in addition to the other injured operator or pedestrian, there is also the potential claim for any person riding in the taxi at the time of the accident should he or she be injured as well.
Given the potential for limited insurance coverage, it is extremely important to ensure that all rights are preserved under an injured person’s own automobile carrier through a claim for underinsured motorist’s coverage. This coverage will provide additional coverage in the event a person is injured and the responsible party’s coverage is insufficient to fully compensate the victim. In that case, an injured person makes a claim under their insurance policy and is able to seek additional coverage after all of the responsible operator’s insurance coverage has been exhausted. Once exhausted, the injured person requests permission from their own carrier to accept the maximum amount offered and then seeks a claim against their own insurance carrier for additional compensation.
If the injured person and their own insurer are unable to agree on a settlement amount, then the claim would be arbitrated. These types of claims are not filed in court and resolve by way of a jury trial. They are decided before an arbitrator and the award of the arbitrator is final and not reviewable.
Do You Need A Car Accident Lawyer? Find out if you have a taxi accident case.
If you have suffered an injury in an auto accident involving a taxi, contact us for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours, or call (617) 886-0500 . If you need a car accident lawyer outside of Massachusetts, contact us for a referral.