Serious Questions Regarding Taxicab Safety
January 24 2016
The Taxi and Limousine Commission delayed safety inspections for the next series of taxicabs, despite clear evidence that the vehicles leave occupants vulnerable to head injuries in the event of a collision.
The TLC approved the rule in 2013, after Dr. John Sherman, chief of plastic surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital, announced that sharp edges and unpadded partitions create a risk of “serious” and “disfiguring” injuries; additional crash tests indicated that the head injuries may also be lethal, in many cases. Despite the obvious danger, only two of fifteen new taxi models have been approved for use.
Due to low compliance, the TLC pushed the compliance deadline to the end of 2016. The rule was to go in effect on December 31, 2015.
Third Party Liability
When a taxicab, limousine, delivery truck, or any other commercial vehicle causes a crash, respondeat superior nearly always applies. Just like the captain of a ship is ultimately responsible for the behavior of the crew, regardless of whether or not he participated in their activity, an employer is responsible for the damages that its employees negligently cause as they perform their work.
So, there are two basic elements in respondeat superior. First, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) must be an “employee” for tort law purposes. It is very common for a worker to be defined as a non-employee in certain areas, like income taxes, but still be an employee for liability purposes. Courts generally look to the amount of control that the boss exerted over the employee.
Secondly, the tortfeasor must have been “working” at the time of the car crash. This word is also very broadly defined: if the worker is doing anything that benefits the employer in any way, that person was “working.” This rule even applies to workers who are not on the clock, but use a company car to go to and from their jobs.
Third party liability is important because of the large number of uninsured and underinsured motorists in New York, because respondeat superior and other theories create an additional source of compensation for injured victims. So, plaintiffs have a better chance of obtaining maximum compensation for their economic and non-economic injuries.
The careless driver may not be the only person who is legally responsible for your injuries. For a free consultation with attorneys who are strong voices for victims, contact our office. We have six locations statewide.