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San Diego Taxi Accident Attorney

As with any traffic accident, if you suffered injuries in a San Diego taxi cab accident, you may have the legal right to seek compensation for your expenses and the impacts your injury left on your life. Taxi accidents, however, come with unique legal challenges—they involve drivers and taxi companies, and on top of that, they require knowledge of the different set of complex laws and regulations that govern taxis and their insurance companies.

To untangle all of the legal issues involved in your case, you will need experienced San Diego personal injury lawyers.

Since our founding in 2005 by John Gomez—a Yale alumnus whom Super Lawyers named the number one attorney in San Diego two years in a row—Gomez Trial Attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. 

No matter how a San Diego taxi cab crash happens, Gomez Trial Attorneys has the skill, experience, and resources to get crash victims the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We want to see how we can help you. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today and speak to an experienced San Diego car accident attorney learn more.

Common Causes of San Diego Taxi Accidents

It was closing time at a popular nightclub in the Gaslamp Quarter. Club patrons gathered outside, waiting for rides and visiting with friends for a few more minutes before calling it a night. That was when a taxi cab driver plowed into a group of people standing outside the bar, injuring 35. Some were seriously hurt, including a woman whose leg was badly mangled when it was caught between the cab and the building.

In the moments after the accident, the crowd turned on the taxi driver, pulling him from the car and beating the man. The cab driver—an Egyptian immigrant who was reportedly exhausted and distraught over personal issues in the days leading up to the accident—suffered a broken nose, either as a result of the accident or the beating. Officers investigating the incident found evidence that the driver had fallen asleep just before crashing into the crowd.

The 2011 accident at the Stingaree nightclub was an extreme example of a San Diego-area taxi accident. Most accidents involving local cabs do not cause such widespread damage or garner so much media coverage. Still, accidents involving taxis do happen each year throughout San Diego, and they can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries.

Taxi cab drivers, like other drivers, make mistakes and succumb to distractions that lead to accidents. If anything, taxi cab drivers face heightened risks of making these mistakes, because they often work long shifts and drive late at night, during times when their bodies’ natural sleep cycle makes them feel excessively fatigued.

Driving while fatigued produces similar effects as driving while alcohol impaired, degrading the driver’s reaction time, awareness of hazards, and ability to maintain control. Drowsy drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who are well-rested, which is why fatigued driving results in more than 328,000 accidents and around 5,000 fatalities in the United States each year.

Fatigue is not the only contributor to San Diego taxi cab accidents, however. Other common causes of these crashes include:

  • Lack of familiarity with streets and traffic patterns.
  • Aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding, red light running, or tailgating.
  • Distractions such as cell phone use, including texting, talking, using an app, or browsing social media.
  • Adjusting the stereo, temperature, or other vehicle controls.
  • Inclement weather conditions, including poor visibility or slick roadways.
  • Lack of vehicle maintenance that makes a taxi cab unsafe.
  • Impairment from alcohol use, or from taking prescription, illicit, or over-the-counter medications.

Taxi drivers do not necessarily cause all of the accidents that involve their cabs, of course. Any one of the causes above can stem from other drivers’ behavior, too. For example, one accident happened because a drunk driver (not a cab driver) got onto the highway traveling in the wrong direction. The California Highway Patrol received multiple calls from travelers in multiple locations alerting them to the wrong-way driver. However, they couldn’t catch the driver before she slammed into a taxi cab, killing the taxi driver and his two passengers. The wrong-way driver also died in the crash.

Legal Liability for San Diego Taxi Accidents

Victims of San Diego taxi accidents often suffer catastrophic (even fatal) injuries. In our legal system, those victims typically have a legal right to receive compensation from the party with liability for causing the crash. Liability is a legal term for fault or responsibility, and it—along with damages—forms the foundation of personal injury cases.

Lawyers for victims of San Diego taxi accidents may try to prove:

  • That someone involved in the accident owed the victims a duty of care. In a typical San Diego traffic accident, for example, that duty may involve a taxi driver’s obligation to obey traffic laws and avoid excessive fatigue and alcohol consumption.
  • That someone breached the duty of care by taking actions that unreasonably put other people in harm’s way. So, a cab driver speeding or driving while drowsy might constitute a breach of a duty of care.
  • That the breach resulted in harm to the victim. This might seem obvious, but not every unsafe action on the road causes a San Diego taxi crash.

San Diego taxi cab crashes could involve a broad range of individuals and corporate entities who may have legal liability to crash victims.

To name just a few of the usual suspects the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys may look at as potential parties with liability:

  • The taxi driver, whose actions behind the wheel may have caused a crash;
  • A taxi cab company that employed the taxi driver, which may have liability for all of his actions, or may face liability because of its own failures to train the driver, or to maintain its taxi fleet in safe working order, or to follow San Diego taxi regulations;
  • Drivers other than the taxi driver, whose own actions may have led to a crash;
  • A vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturer, if it sold unreasonably dangerous products that caused a mechanical failure that led to a crash involving a taxi cab;
  • A government entity, if its failure to maintain a roadway in a safe condition, or to warn drivers of unsafe conditions, precipitated a San Diego-area taxi crash.

These are just some of the parties who could have legal liability to victims of San Diego taxi cab accidents. Every crash is different. The important thing to understand is that at Gomez Trial Attorneys, we understand the critical importance of examining the facts and circumstances of a taxi accident to make sure we identify all parties who could owe damages to our clients. Our team always aims to give our clients the best possible chance of recovering maximum compensation for their injuries and losses.

San Diego Taxi Regulations Exist to Keep Riders Safe

Regulations promulgated by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) set forth the requirements for driving a cab in America’s Finest City. Taxi drivers and the companies who employ them must apply for a permit from MTS before they begin transporting passengers.

The requirements to apply include:

  • Evidence of at least six months’ experience of driving a taxi, transportation network vehicle, charter party carrier service, or similar service oriented transportation business, or managing a demand responsive transportation service, or similar service-oriented business.
  • Payment of permitting fees.
  • Passage of a fingerprint background check from the California Department of Justice, FBI, and local law enforcement agencies.
  • Submission and approval of a business name.
  • Proof of at least $350,000 in bodily injury liability insurance.
  • Registration of their fare meter with San Diego County Department of Agricultural Weights and Measures.
  • Obtaining a Business Tax License from the City of San Diego, which must be submitted to the Sheriff’s Licensing Division at the completion of the permit issuance process with MTS.

In addition, prospective taxi drivers must drive:

  • A vehicle that is less than 10 years old, is outfitted with a global positioning system (GPS) and meets the state Air Resources Board’s criteria for zero emission or low-emission vehicles.
  • A vehicle that does not have a salvage title and the California registration for the vehicle must match the applicant’s name.
  • A vehicle that passes the initial permit inspection and all follow-up inspections. MTS staff conducts the inspections on applicant vehicles. Some of the things they look for during the inspection include interior and exterior cleanliness, color scheme and proper markings, meter seal, body condition, and mechanical condition including suspension, steering, shocks, exhaust, tires, brakes, and electrical system.
  • Adequate facilities for business functions, including an office with public access, a vehicle maintenance facility with an address, and an address for off-street storage when the cab is not in service.

Evidence that a cab driver or cab company did not follow these regulations may help to prove liability to a San Diego taxi cab accident victim. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we investigate all aspects of a cab crash, in case a regulatory violation played a role in our client’s injuries.

San Diego Taxi Passenger Bill of Rights

In addition to the regulations listed above, taxi cab passengers should also demand that any taxi they ride in observes the San Diego taxi passenger bill of rights issued by MTS.

Those rights include:

  • The right to view a cab driver’s identification card, company name, and vehicle number, which should be displayed in the driver compartment of the vehicle.
  • A courteous driver who speaks English, uses the most direct route to the destination, and obeys all traffic laws.
  • The use of the heater or air conditioner in the cab upon request, if available.
  • Clean passenger seating areas and luggage compartment.
  • A smoke-free vehicle and a silent (radio-free) trip.
  • Pay only the rate posted in the vehicle for your destination.
  • Pay with cash or a credit card and obtain a receipt for your payment.
  • Receive assistance placing luggage in the vehicle or retrieving it from the vehicle.
  • A driver who does not use his or her cell phone while driving.

Violation of any of these rights by a cab driver could indicate an unsafe driver. Tell an attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys if you observed a cab driver failing to follow any of these rules in connection with the crash that injured you or a loved one.

After a San Diego Taxi Accident…

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having gotten into a San Diego taxi cab accident, keep the following tips in mind to protect your health, safety, well-being, and legal rights:

  • Make medical care your top priority. Do not assume that if you feel okay in the moments after the crash that you have avoided injury. Many serious car accident injuries take time to show symptoms. Let an EMT check you over, go to the hospital if advised to do so, and always follow up with your primary care physician within 24 hours. Following this advice will keep you safe, and will also ensure that records exist of any injuries you do suffer because of the taxi crash.
  • San Diego car accident lawyers

    John Gomez, Taxi Accident Lawyer

    Stay at the scene if you are a cab passenger. Some cab passengers involved in a crash may feel tempted to get out of the cab and walk away, figuring the accident is the cab driver’s problem, not their own. We understand that sentiment, but leaving the scene is a big mistake. The police may want to speak with you. More importantly, you may need medical care. Also, if you walk away, then it may become far more difficult to prove the link between the accident and any injuries you turn out to have suffered.

  • Try to collect information. If it is safe for you to do so without putting your own or others’ health at risk, snap pictures at the accident scene with your phone. Be sure to capture all information related to the cab, including the name of the cab company and any cab license number. Get contact information from others involved in the accident or who witnessed it.
  • Never agree to an informal resolution. Cab drivers worried about losing their jobs/licenses, in particular, may hope to avoid calling attention to the crash by summoning first responders or notifying insurance companies. Do not agree to keep the crash quiet. If you were the passenger in the cab, do not agree to make it a free taxi trip. Any such agreement could violate your legal obligations to report the accident, and could put your legal rights to compensation at risk.

Your San Diego Taxi Cab Accident Attorneys

The team at Gomez Trial Attorneys has the resources, experience, and know-how to get results for victims of San Diego-area traffic accidents involving taxi cabs. Contact our award-winning taxi cab accident injury attorneys today online or at (619) 237-3490 for a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation.

655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101
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