After a car accident, it can be extremely difficult to maintain a level head. This is especially true when you aren’t driving the vehicle yourself, as the passenger in a taxi cab. You may be rightfully outraged at the taxi driver, others involved, or simply shocked that something like this could happen to you.
But whether or not you choose to pursue justice through the legal system, the steps you take directly following an accident are important. Even a relatively simple insurance claim can fall apart if certain essential details are improperly reported, or forgotten outright. Either way, it’s critical to gather the right information the first time – before it’s too late.
What To Do After A Taxi Accident
Our first step actually happens before an accident, and it might seem silly at first. But it’s a good habit to get into – every time you enter a cab, record the driver’s name and their cab’s registration number. Who knows what could happen down the road?
Assess Your Injuries
If you are injured, your health and well-being should be your top priority. That being said, many of the most common car accident injuries only present symptoms days, even weeks, after the crash itself. Even though it seems that you left the scene unscathed, remain vigilant. Listen to your body for any signs of harm. Learn more about common car accident injuries here.
Make Sure The Taxi Stops
Under current New York City driving regulations, it’s a Class A Misdemeanor to leave the scene of a traffic incident when property damage has occurred, and a felony when serious injury has been caused. Even so, many taxi drivers try to make a quick get-away, rather than face the repercussions of their negligence. No matter the circumstances, whether your cab struck a parked car, pedestrian, another driver, or one of New York’s many cyclists, ask the driver to pull over. It’s the right thing to do, and the only way to lay a strong foundation for personal injury lawsuits.
Notify The Authorities
Call 911 right away. Not only can medical professionals help in the event of injury, many successful insurance claims have been bolstered by a police officer’s accident report. While you’re waiting, check with any one else involved in the accident. If your cab driver struck another vehicle, take down its driver’s:
- Date Of Birth (DOB)
- Phone Number
- Driver License Number & Expiration Date
- Insurance Carrier
- Vehicle Make & Model
- License Plate Number
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – a code that symbolizes a car’s essential identifying information. A VIN will usually appear on a vehicle’s title record, the driver’s insurance card, or as a sticker on the driver’s side dashboard.
- Car’s Year Of Manufacture
While you’re at it, collect all this information from your cab driver, too. Although it should be registered as public information through their employer, it won’t hurt to be thorough.
Document The Accident Scene
Take down detailed notes describing the circumstances that led up to your taxi accident, and the crash itself. Draw a diagram, including streets, the directions in which cars were driving, and their speeds. If any environmental factors, like rain, could have contributed to the accident, take note of those, too. Also include notes on your driver’s behavior: were they talking on a cellphone, without hands-free head set? Did they seem tired, or aggravated by road conditions?
Cooperate With NYPD Officers
When the police arrive, describe the accident as fully, and accurately, as you can. Most importantly, listen closely to what the cab driver tells the cops. Take notes on their statement. Finally, ask a police officer where you can obtain a copy of the accident report when it’s complete.
Accept Offers Of Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take a trip to the hospital and receive professional medical attention. Tell the doctor about everything you are experiencing, whether or not it seems important. A doctor’s medical report can become a crucial piece of evidence if you decide to seek legal counsel.
Contact A New York City Personal Injury Lawyer
New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission requires that all registered yellow taxi cabs (also called “Medallion” cabs) carry a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability auto insurance.
But dealing with an insurance company can be difficult. In most cases, insurers are simply trying to save their own money. In fact, claims adjusters routinely attempt to limit the amount to which accident victims are entitled, by minimizing the appearance of injuries. But remember, you have rights in this situation.
Contacting a New York City attorney with experience in taxi cab accidents is your best chance at receiving the maximum compensation that you deserve.