Serious Atlanta Taxi Cab Accidents Pose Litigation Challenges


March 22, 2011

Whether you are catching a taxi cab to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, riding in a taxi to avoid the horrible gridlock of Atlanta traffic or traveling by taxi because you are elderly and no longer drive, you face a risk of being involved in a taxi cab accident. While the majority of taxi cab drivers are responsible and conscientious, most of us have experienced a harrowing taxi ride characterized by speeding, tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic with the taxi driver screaming and honking the horn frantically.

If you have been seriously injured in an Atlanta taxi cab accident or a loved one has suffered wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and loss. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing those who have suffered serious injuries in taxi cab accidents throughout Atlanta and all of Georgia for over 25 years. Our Atlanta taxi accident attorneys strive to provide exceptional legal services as part of our goal to be the best Atlanta personal injury law firm in Georgia.

The negligent (i.e. careless) conduct of many parties may contribute to a serious Atlanta cab accident, including the following:

  • Taxi Cab Company: The taxi cab company may not investigate a cab operator’s driving record or provide adequate training and supervision of the taxi driver despite reports of reckless driving by the driver.
  • Taxi Driver: A taxi driver may drive recklessly in his or her haste to reach a destination and pick up another fare. The more passengers that a taxi driver can transport in a day the greater the driver’s earning capacity. This emphasis on speed may lead the driver to fail to observe traffic safety laws or otherwise engage in unsafe driving practices.
  • City of Atlanta: The City of Atlanta regulates the taxi industry and conducts inspections of taxi cabs to make sure that they are properly maintained. These inspections are often inadequate so that dangerous taxies remain on the road including taxies with bald tires and other serious maintenance issues.
  • Georgia Department of Transportation: The GDOT is responsible for the safe design and construction of Georgia roadways. The highway design itself may create an unreasonable risk of causing an auto accident.

Atlanta taxi cases pose unique and complex litigation challenges including identifying an appropriate defendant. Taxi companies typically define a taxi operator as an independent contractor. This characterization has generally been upheld by Georgia case law. As recently as 2009, the Court of Appeals in Lopez v. El Palmar Taxi, Inc., 297 Ga. App. 121 (2009), held that a taxi company was not vicariously liable for the negligence of its "independent contractor" driver. The court reached this conclusion despite the fact that the driver operated a taxi with the company's logo, transported patrons of the taxi company, and adhered to rules and policies established by the taxi company.

This means that it can be difficult to establish liability on behalf of the taxi company. If the driver had a poor driving record when hired by the taxi company, however, or the company knows or should know of serious issues with the driver, such as moving violations or accidents during their relationship, a Georgia taxi cab accident attorney may seek to impose liability on this basis. Our experienced taxi accident attorneys will carefully investigate the business records, driving record, correspondence, documents and communications involving the driver and the company to establish the taxi company’s actual as opposed to vicarious liability based on its own careless conduct.

Another challenge in litigation involving injuries suffered in an Atlanta taxi cab accident involves issues with liability. Because a taxi company may not be vicariously liable for injuries caused by a driver under Georgia law, a taxi accident victim may need to seek compensation from the taxi driver. Unfortunately, this may be woefully inadequate because Georgia taxi drivers are not required to carry any more liability insurance than other non-commercial drivers do. This means the driver may carry as little as $25,000 per victim and $50,000 per accident to cover the injuries of all victims. If a person suffers catastrophic injuries, this compensation will be seriously inadequate to compensate the victim for his or her injuries. Finally, the City of Atlanta may be protected from liability for negligent inspection of a taxi by sovereign immunity.

Our experienced Georgia taxi accident attorney will seek other defendants as a source of compensation, such as the driver of other vehicles and potentially the GDOT for negligent road design. Our attorneys may also pursue compensation from your own insurance if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The bottom line is that a taxi cab accident poses unique challenges which make it important to work with a law firm with experience in handling these unique issues. Our Georgia taxi accident lawyers will carefully investigate the potential basis for liability and identify any viable defendants so that we can obtain the best outcome possible in your case. Montlick and Associates is dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation as part of its goal to be the top auto accident law firm in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.

Our experienced Atlanta taxi cab attorneys will strive to get the best results possible in your case. Montlick and Associates is available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.