New York City is known for its over 13,000 yellow taxicabs that constantly shuttle passengers all over its five boroughs. In addition to these, there has been a recent surge in taxi services like Uber and Lyft, which employ individuals wholly unrelated to taxi companies. Inevitably, with all these new cab services on NYC roads, there are bound to be crashes and accidents. These accidents can occur between any combination of vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles. In this article, we are going to explore some of the legal ramifications of taxi crashes and what they might mean for you if you find yourself in one.
Before considering ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, let’s take a look at traditional taxi companies. Whenever a taxicab is involved in an automobile accident, all expenses are generally covered by the taxi company’s insurance. Since the cab is owned by the company and the driver is an employee of the company, it will generally be held liable for all related costs. Uber and Lyft, since they are not traditional cab companies, have a much different business model. Drivers for these companies are considered individual contractors, not employees. Consequently, they must provide their own insurance and keep their cars maintained at their own discretion. In the case of an accident, there are three different possible cases:
- A driver is not on shift/doesn’t have passengers
- A driver is on shift and doesn’t have passengers
- A driver is on shift and DOES have passengers
The responses of Uber and Lyft differ for each of these scenarios. In the first scenario, if the driver is using her own car and is not accepting riders, she will bear the entire cost of any accident that occurs through her insurance. In the second scenario, the accident’s costs will typically be split between the driver and the company, with the driver bearing most of the cost and the company doling out money up to a cap, usually if there are injuries. In the third scenario, the costs are also split between the company and the driver. In the case of the driver not having appropriate insurance, the company will typically cover all of the costs. While drivers for companies like Uber are not employees and not covered by company insurance, they are nevertheless rigorously vetted and not allowed to drive unless they have correct insurance.
On a side note, there have also been instances of automobile accidents being caused by city transit vehicles like buses. In these cases, the legal responsibility of the public vehicle typically falls on the appropriate government department, like the New York City Transit Authority.
Lawyers in New York City cover automobile accidents and related injuries ranging from pedestrian accidents to whiplash to highway defects. If you find yourself involved in an automobile accident in NYC, either as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or otherwise, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.Read More »