Any type of accident can confuse and upset the victims. You may not know how to handle the situation when the accident occurs, or what you’re supposed to do next. If your accident occurred when you used paid transportation, like a taxi, you may face even more challenges and complications.
These accidents are not unusual. Almost all of Illinois’s 5,271 taxi accidents took place in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2014, 4,129 crashes involved Chicago taxis, 830 of which produced injuries and three of which resulted in fatalities.
If you are a passenger in a taxi accident, here are the important steps to take.
What to Do at the Scene
At the scene of the accident, you may reel as you try to figure out exactly what happened, and what you are going to do next. At the very least, you may not arrive at your destination on time, but you could also feel disoriented or injured. What next?
Step One: Get Medical Attention
Check if anyone was injured, including yourself. Make getting medical attention your first priority, even if no injuries are readily apparent. Motor vehicle accident victims often suffer from head injuries and internal injuries that only professional medical assessment can identify. Call 911 for emergency help, and specify if you or anyone else at the scene needs an ambulance. If you are seriously injured, do not attempt to move around the scene of the accident, since that may make any potential injuries worse.
Step Two: Collect Evidence
If your injuries allow, assess the scene. Who seems responsible for the accident? How many vehicles were involved? You can also start to collect relevant evidence:
- Record the insurance information of every party to the accident
- Take photos of the accident scene, including all vehicles, damage to those vehicles and other property, and any conditions that may have contributed to the accident, such as poorly maintained roads or blind spots
- Record contact information for all witnesses.
As a taxi passenger, you are unlikely to bear liability for the accident. However, you may still need to work with the insurance companies of the responsible parties to obtain compensation for your losses. Even if you don’t believe that you were injured when you’re at the accident scene, you still need correct contact information for all involved parties, their insurance coverage information, and contact details regarding witnesses. It is not possible to determine at the time of the accident if you will eventually face a settlement dispute, or if litigation may become necessary.
After the Accident
Once you have left the scene of the accident, you will want to move on with your life. Now what? Knowing how to proceed may help any insurance claims move more smoothly.
Keep Collecting Evidence
Were you injured in the accident? If so, you will need to keep documentation of your injuries. Detailed medical records, including subsequent treatments, medical bills, employment records with information about any missed time from work, and photos of damaged property are all essential material to collect and maintain. Take photographs of your injuries, immediately after the accident and throughout your recovery period. Date the photographs to show the length and progression of your recovery. Keep personal records of the daily impact of the injuries on your quality of life.
Create a Statement
As a taxi passenger at the time of the accident, it would be wise to create a statement for your own records. This statement should be made as soon as possible after the accident. Be careful and thorough when crafting your statement.
Keep a written list of everything you remember about the accident, and add to it if necessary. With time, your memory of the event may fade, and it may become more difficult to recall essential details. Therefore, try to create the notes for your statement as soon as possible.
Key tips to keep in mind during statement preparation:
- Be honest. If you didn’t see anything during the accident, clearly state that you did not. As a passenger, it is understandable if you were distracted, using your phone, or otherwise looking away from traffic, and failed to see any other vehicles or objects before the accident. Never assert assumptions as truth, or claim you witnessed something that you did not.
- Make note of every detail that you do remember about the accident. The sooner you do this, the better, particularly because the brain may not retain all of the facts of the event, and memories may quickly begin to diminish.
- Keep your statement short and concise. You do not need to include details that aren’t relevant to the accident.
When you’re a passenger in a taxi accident, it can be difficult to determine what type of insurance is at issue, given the many parties involved. Talking with an attorney can help you determine the proper insurance carrier for your claims.
When to Contact a Lawyer
If you were in a taxi accident, you may want a lawyer to help you navigate the insurance and legal processes. Don’t try to negotiate with the insurance company alone.
Some indicators that you should speak to a lawyer following your taxi accident include:
- You were significantly injured as a result of the accident. If you suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident, including any injuries that caused you to miss work, or injuries that will leave a long-term impact on your quality of life, contact a lawyer to help get full compensation for your damages.
- You’re struggling to get the insurance company to pay for damages associated with the accident. If the insurance company is delaying payment of your claims, or if you were offered a low-ball settlement that does not cover your actual damages, you need a lawyer to advocate on your behalf.
- You’re uncertain how to proceed. Many lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss your case and potential claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer will provide counsel and clearly outline your options, making it easier to know how to go forward.
Get Legal Help from Abels & Annes, PC
If you were in a taxi accident as a passenger, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the experienced lawyers at Abels & Annes, PC, for a free consultation at (312) 924-7575 or online, to learn if we may help you.