In this post, our Baltimore personal injury lawyers will discuss lawsuits involving bus accidents and taxi accidents. More bus, taxi, and MTA accidents happen in Baltimore City than in any other part of Maryland. The obvious reason for this is the urban geography and social demographics of Baltimore make bus and taxi transportation more common than in other areas. (In 2021, we are obviously seeing tons of Uber and Lyft cases.)
Bus Accident Cases in Baltimore
Bus transportation on MTA is the primary means of public transportation in Baltimore. Our subway and light rail systems are very limited which makes MTA buses the only viable option for most people in the city. Our accident lawyers have handled a number of major accident cases involving MTA buses over the years.
Bus passengers rarely suffer serious injuries in bus accidents. The other vehicles and pedestrians who get hit by the bus are the ones who end up with major damage and injuries. We occasionally see a really bad bus accident case involving dozens of seriously injured bus passengers. Most of our bus accident cases, however, involve pedestrians and drivers of other vehicles who have been struck by a bus.
Taxicab Accident Cases in Baltimore
Taxicabs are almost an endangered species these days. The emergence of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft has basically displaced taxis from the marketplace. In Baltimore and other major cities, however, taxicabs are still operating.
Taxicab drivers get into auto accidents all the time simply because they are out on the road so much and because they often tend to be aggressive drivers who take many risks. Auto accident claims against taxicabs are generally the same as ordinary auto accident claims with a few exceptions.
First, when you have an accident claim against a taxicab driver you will need to sort out what, if any, liability the cab company might have vs. the individual driver. Almost all cab drivers are independent contractors who own their cabs. This means that if you get in an accident with a cab you can only go after the driver individually and not the cab company. There are some limited exceptions to this. For instance, a cab company might have some liability if they were negligent in allowing the driver to work for them. For example, if a cab company hires a driver with 3 prior DUI convictions and he hits a pedestrian while driving his cab drunk, the pedestrian can probably go after the cab company directly.
The other unique aspect of auto accident cases against taxi drivers is that they usually have only the mandatory minimum amount of accident liability insurance coverage. In Maryland, the minimum liability coverage is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. Taxicab drivers have relatively tight profit margins so they almost never pay for more than the minimum level of insurance.
Auto accident cases involving rideshare drivers from Uber or Lyft are actually more common now than taxicab accident cases. Uber and Lyft drivers are covered by a large $1 million corporate liability insurance policy. However, this coverage only applies when the Uber or Lyft driver is actually “on duty” meaning they are on their way to pick up a rider or they have a rider in the car at the time of the accident. If the accident occurs when the Uber or Lyft driver is “off duty” then the accident is covered by their own personal auto insurance policy.
Maryland Law Makes Taxi Cases Tougher
These cases can be tough to settle because buses and taxis do not carry PIP insurance. In Maryland, Personal Injury Protection is no-fault insurance that pays the first $2,500.00 in expenses because of a motor vehicle accident. For smaller cases, this cushion often makes the difference in resolving a case prior to trial for an amount that compensates the plaintiff. Keep an eye out for other ways to access these benefits. If the injury victim lives with a relative who has car insurance, that policy may provide benefits.
Worse still, a taxi policy is not required to maintain uninsured motorist coverage. Maryland Insurance Code § 19-501(b) specifically exempts buses and taxicabs from the statutory definition of a motor vehicle. So cases against Barwood Taxi, Regency Taxi, Yellow Cab, Affinity Taxi, etc. are all claims with no PIP and no UM.
Settlement Value of Baltimore Bus and Taxi Accident Cases
The average settlement value of an auto accident case involving a bus in Baltimore is slightly higher than the average value of a regular auto accident claim. There are 2 primary reasons for this. First, bus accident cases can often involve very serious injuries or death. When a pedestrian or someone on a bicycle gets hit by a 30,000 pound MTA bus the outcome is not going to be good, even if the bus is traveling slowly. The second factor that combines to drive the value of bus accident cases higher is that buses typically have either large insurance policies or they are MTA buses which are insured by the state of Maryland. Either way, there is going to be enough money to cover any large judgment or settlement.
The average settlement value of taxicab accident cases in Baltimore is slightly lower than the average value of ordinary auto accident cases. The reason for this is that taxi accidents are often low speed with fewer injuries. Also, taxicab drivers are independent contractors and they usually only carry the mandatory minimum amount of liability coverage.
FAQ: Bus and Taxi Accident Cases
Do taxicabs carry a lot of insurance?
No. Most taxicab drivers are independent contractors who own their own cab and usually only carry the mandatory minimum amount of insurance.
Do buses have accident insurance?
Commerical buses generally have large auto liability insurance policies. Public transit buses are insured by the state.
Do bus accident cases have a high settlement value?
Yes. Bus accident cases often serious injuries to pedestrians or drivers/passengers in other vehicles and buses have high insurance limits which drives up the value of the cases.
Contact a Baltimore Bus Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus crash, you need the experience of a Baltimore bus accident attorney that knows how to handle these cases. Our attorneys know the procedural roadblocks as well as the know-how and resources to fight on your behalf to get you what you deserve. Contact us at 800.553.8082.