You have a lot of options when choosing transportation in the Boston metropolitan area. In addition to an extensive bus and subway system, taxis are still the go-to for quick, inter-city transportation. People may choose a mode of transportation or even a specific taxi company after weighing price, convenience, availability, and safety. Most potential passengers fail to consider the liability they may be exposing themselves to, should their taxi driver get into an accident that causes injury to the driver’s passengers.
Taxis and Liability
One benefit of taxis from a liability perspective is that they are required by law to carry bodily injury insurance coverage to protect those who may be injured due to the negligence of taxi drivers. However, unlike most cities, Boston has, by comparison, a very low requirement: $20,000/$40,000 in coverage. For those of you that have always wondered what these two numbers mean, the first number ($20,000) represents that there is $20,000 of bodily injury coverage per person in an accident, and the second ($40,000) represents the bodily injury coverage for all individuals in the accidents. Compare this with New York and Los Angeles that require limits of $100,000/$300,000 and Dallas which requires upwards of $500,000. Boston also carries low requirements for property damage and personal injury protection.
These insurance limits are generally higher than whatever the limits for everyday drivers are required to carry, but just because taxis offer this protection does not mean you should not consider the risks. It is not necessarily feasible to avoid using taxis due to their low liability coverage. However, there are measures you can take to protect yourself in the event of accidents involving taxis or other uninsured or underinsured drivers.
Though not required by law, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is available by most insurance companies and will provide you an outlet for recovery if you are injured beyond what the taxi policy limits can pay out. This type of insurance will also cover you if you are in an accident caused by someone who does not have insurance, or has limited coverage.
Taxi Challenges: Ride Sharing Companies
In addition to taxis, ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have also complicated matters. These companies have not traditionally been required to carry liability insurance for their passengers at all—a controversial practice that has caused these companies to be outlawed in many U.S. cities. These companies have been able to overtake the taxi industry by offering lower rates, which can be attributed to the fact that Uber and Lyft drivers are not required to carry commercial licenses nor possess insurance coverage the way taxis are mandated by law to provide. Some locales, including Illinois, Colorado, and California have begun regulating ride-sharing companies to require them to provide insurance protections. Other jurisdictions have issued warnings about utilizing this form of transportation, and many such jurisdictions also have pending legislation that may require drivers to carry liability insurance similar to their taxi counterparts.
Boston Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Our knowledgeable attorneys at John J. Sheehan have the experience necessary to work with opposing counsel, insurance companies, and courts to ensure the best possible outcome for your legal claim. Our Boston taxi driver litigation attorneys can help you if you have been injured due to the negligence of a taxi driver or if you have been in any kind of auto accident. Do not hesitate to contact our offices for a free consultation today.