In July of 2015, a Victoria cab driver crashed his taxicab into a utility pole, killing him on impact and injuring two of his three passengers. A recent coroner’s report, more than a year after the crash, confirmed that the driver was impaired at the time of the accident, with large amounts of marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol found in his system. Earlier this year, three young Surrey women reported having a clearly inebriated driver show up after calling for a cab to pick them up from a party. And in Toronto, two women suffered critical injuries when the taxi in which they were riding attempted to make a U-turn in front of a truck, which struck the side of the cab and trapped and injured the occupants.
The use of taxicabs and Uber is a fairly common occurrence in the Ottawa area. Even those of us who own a vehicle, occasionally use taxi services to commute to the airport, get home safely when we choose to drink, and for any number of other reasons. While statistically, accidents involving taxi services are traditionally low, they do, as evidenced above, occur. And it is important to know what your rights are and what you can do if you are hurt while riding in a taxi.
Also, be aware that anytime you are injured while a passenger in any vehicle, even if the driver is a friend, drive-share acquaintance or relative, it is always in your best interests to take the below important steps in reporting the crash, seeking attention for your injuries, and determining your options for injury compensation necessary for your recovery.
The first steps to take in the immediate aftermath of the accident is to call the police if the cab driver hasn’t already done so, and if you are able, record relevant information at the scene of the accident. This includes the driver’s information (licence number, insurance, name and so on), information for any other drivers involved in the incident, eyewitnesses personal information, and the names and addresses of other passengers.
Always have a medical check up to ascertain the full extent of your injuries after the collision, even if you or the first responders believe it’s unnecessary to go to the hospital immediately following the crash. Seemingly mild injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, can lead to chronic pain and other long-lasting effects, which may later be revealed and even worsen in the weeks or months after your accident.
After seeking medical attention, it is also a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to better understand your legal options. You may choose to seek compensation through the statutory accident benefits on your vehicle insurance policy, or you may file a civil suit against the taxi driver and/or the other negligent driver responsible for the accident, or both. In both types of claim, there are timelines in filing that your lawyer can ensure are met. Given the severity of your injuries and the other circumstances of the accident, an experienced lawyer can not only advise you on the strength of your claim, but they can also assess the kinds of benefits and damages to which you are entitled.
One of the most frequently asked questions is: how long will it likely take to resolve a claim? If all the necessary medical evidentiary information is provided and claims are filed early and within the required timelines, then they can generally be resolved more quickly.
If you notified your insurer of your accident claim within 7 days as required and have properly filled out your application for statutory accident benefits (within 30 days), and benefits are approved by your insurer, you will likely receive owed benefits within a few months of the accident. However, if you have difficulties receiving statutory benefits or your benefits are denied outright, you also have the option of filing a lawsuit to require payment of owed benefits.
A civil suit against the negligent party generally takes longer to resolve than a statutory accident claim; however, the vast majority of civil suits can be settled without ever having to go to court. In any case, the injured person must allow sufficient time to fully understand the extent of their injuries, so that the claim accurately reflects the amount of their losses. The Limitations Act of Ontario defines a deadline to make a claim as two years from the date when a claimant realizes they have grounds to make a claim against a negligent party.
At Burn Tucker Lachaîne, our team of skilled personal injury lawyers offers years of experience in successfully helping individuals who were injured as a passenger or another innocent victim of a car accident. We are more than happy to provide an initial no-obligation consultation to learn the specifics of your case and provide you with your best legal options for obtaining deserved compensation. Please do not hesitate to call or visit us today if you sustained injuries in any capacity, due to driver negligence.
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