Recent New Year’s celebrations would have seen many party-goers opt for a taxi, unfortunately, taxi drivers in Australia often suffer a bad reputation among passengers and even other drivers.
While many taxi drivers offer a valued service and see passengers from one place to another without a problem, there are those drivers whose erratic driving, dangerous traffic manoeuvres and untidy vehicle leave passengers less than impressed. When a passenger steps into a taxi, a great deal of trust is placed in the taxi driver, to drive safely, and the operator to ensure the vehicle is properly maintained. If you sustain an injury whilst using a taxi service you may be entitled to compensation.
Taxi injuries can be divided into two categories: injuries that occur while the taxi is moving and injuries that occur while the taxi is stationary. The first category will include when a taxi is involved in an accident with another vehicle (even if the taxi is stationary at the time), collides with property, or when a passenger is injured as a result of driving, for example a sudden stop causing whiplash or a neck strain. Examples of injuries in the second category include if a passenger is injured by a broken boot lid while loading luggage, or where a passenger sits on a sharp object that is on one of the taxi seats. Compensation claims are made according to each of these two circumstances.
Injured in a Travelling Taxi
Compensation for those injured in a travelling taxi is covered under Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance. In NSW, all taxis must be run by an operator. An operator is required to have an insurance policy which covers any damage that one of their taxi drivers may cause. If you do suffer an injury it is important to remember you only have six (6) months to lodge a claim form with the relevant insurer.
If you are injured in a moving taxi and it is the taxi driver’s fault you are eligible to claim compensation for your injury, where damages are paid by the operator’s insurer. The claim needs to be made by the operator, however problems arise when an operator refuses to make a claim with their insurer. In this situation a claimant would need to make a claim directly with the operator’s insurer. In other circumstances an injured party may claim directly from the driver, however most individual taxi drivers are not insured. In both cases the steps can be complex so it is always important to seek legal advice before making a compensation claim.
Injured While the Taxi is Stationary
When a passenger is injured in a stationary taxi they are not covered by CTP Insurance (except if the injury is caused by another moving vehicle). In these situations an injured person can still make a public liability claim against the operator.
Operators have a duty of care toward passengers and an obligation under legislation to ensure their taxis are: properly maintained and equipped; kept in a condition that is fit and serviceable; and clean and ready for use at the beginning of each shift. Failing these requirements an operator is liable for any injuries that occur as a result. See Do I Have a Public Liability Case? for more information on making a public liability compensation claim.
In most cases, an operator will have public liability insurance and any compensation claims in this category will be paid by the public liability insurer.
How to Pursue a Compensation Claim Against a Taxi Operator
Pursuing a compensation claim against a taxi operator can be complicated and taxi operators are notoriously difficult to deal with. Often an injured party will be frustrated before they can even begin the claims process.
It’s important to seek the assistance of a legal professional if you have been injured in a taxi. An experienced compensation lawyer can help you from the very beginning, contacting the operator on your behalf and commencing legal action.
With years of experience and specialising in compensation cases, Taylor & Scott Lawyers can help you receive what you deserve, even when dealing with the most difficult companies and circumstance.
At Taylor & Scott “We Care For You”.