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Posted On 03.13.13 by in Auto Accidents
Maryland bus and taxi accident cases are somewhat different from other accident cases, largely because of insurance law, but also because of factors unique to those cases. Here’s an outline of some issues that lawyers and their clients should be aware of when working on a taxi or bus accident settlement.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
One of the reasons that bus and taxi accident lawsuits can be more difficult to settle is because, under Maryland insurance law, there is no personal injury protection carried by taxi companies or the MTA. PIP is no-fault insurance designed to quickly pay medical expenses and lost wages after an auto accident. Most insurance companies offer between $2,500 and $10,000 in PIP coverage. Because this money can be used to pay back medical expenses, it makes it easier to settle a case. The collateral source rule allows an accident victim to recovery expenses through PIP, and then to seek those same expenses from the negligent driver. With PIP, there is more money available (usually between $2,500 and $10,000) for the accident victim.
Bus accident victims may be able to recover PIP through other means—one other source may be a family member who lives in the same household and has car insurance.
Proof in Bus Accident Cases
There are a few negative stereotypes about bus accident cases. Everyone has heard the story about the bus accident that was followed by a bunch of people on the street corner rushing into the bus, so that they could make claims for injuries. Bus drivers tend to be more careful about that type of thing now. They have cameras on board, and drivers are careful to ensure that no one gets on after an accident, and that they record the names of anyone who wants to get off. Someone who is not on that list (or on the video) faces an uphill battle in proving their claim. This is why MTA usually demands a picture of the injured claimant before considering the claim.
The video is also instrumental in proving injury. Sadly, we have seen people complain of injury on a bus and describe that they were thrown to the floor because of the collision. The bus video, however, may show a different reaction to the impact (sometimes no movement at all). That impairs the credibility of the plaintiff, and reduces (or eliminates) the recovery in a bus accident case. The take-home message is the same for all accidents—don’t exaggerate your injuries.
Single taxi drivers, for some insane reason, are frequently covered by MAIF and have the bare minimum of automobile insurance (currently $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident). This is crazy because, as taxi drivers, they spend all day on the road. They are more likely to be involved in accidents. They transport people, and should be more attuned to taking care of their passengers if accidents happen.
The individual driver may have auto insurance, and there may be a parent company that is responsible for injuries, as well.
If you have been injured in a serious taxi or bus accident, contact our automobile accident lawyers at 1-800-776-4529, or online.
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