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TAXI LEGAL OPINION: Can taxi drivers be sued by their passengers?

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

As a taxi driver your passengers’ safety, along with your own, is a number one priority. Your passengers rely on you to get them from A to B safely. So, what happens if, during a journey you are involved in an accident?

In this article, I will explain the law surrounding taxi passengers and whether they can sue you as their taxi driver following an accident.

If you’re involved in an accident whilst carrying passengers, those passengers will be entirely innocent. Unless a passenger did something to cause an accident, which won’t be very likely, they will not be held as responsible for an accident.

What if I’m not at fault for the accident?

The first thing to do is establish how the accident happened.

If the accident involved another vehicle, then you should assess the situation to establish who was to blame for the accident. It is possible that you and your passengers were victims of the actions of a negligent third-party driver. In this case, it is important that you exchange full details with the other driver, irrespective of whether the other driver accepts fault, and provide this information to your passengers.

Equally, it is important to provide your passengers with your full details and obtain their details in return. Remember your passengers could end up being your witnesses if liability is disputed between you and the other driver.

Don’t assume your passengers will find your details using a booking app, these aren’t always easy to use, and often don’t have all the information that may be needed.

Equally, if you have more than one passenger, the other passengers’ details won’t be in the booking details.

It is worth noting that liability disputes between drivers, although common, are very frustrating for innocent passengers. Disputes between drivers can take months, if not longer to resolve - all the while innocent passengers’ claims are on hold.

As a Solicitor if I find that liability is disputed between the drivers, I often recommend submitting the claim to both drivers’ insurance companies. By doing this I place both drivers, and their insurance companies, on notice that a passenger claim is being pursued. If neither driver is willing to accept fault, then it is not uncommon to issue legal proceedings against both drivers. This is very much a last resort and something that all drivers should try to avoid if possible.

What if I cause an accident?

Another scenario which is a lot more common than you might first think, is where a taxi is involved in an accident, but there is no third-party involvement. For example, you might hit a wall or a bollard, or even mount the kerb causing an injury to your passenger.

In these scenarios it will very much come down to your word against that of the passenger. If you are involved in an accident, then it is recommended that you provide your details to the passenger if this is appropriate and report any incidents to your cab firm (if applicable) and the appropriate insurance company, especially if you anticipate a claim being presented. If you have dashcam, it is recommended that you save any footage and retain the footage for as long as possible – remember a Claimant has 3 years to make a claim.

It would also be a good idea to take any photos of any damage to your cab. If you can show minor, or no damage, a personal injury claim against you will be less likely to succeed.

Sometimes, despite taking all appropriate safety measures, you may be faced with a claim for injury from a passenger. The most important thing to do is to ensure that you keep in contact with your insurance company and provide them with your instructions in a timely manner, especially if you intend on disputing a claim. Without your co- operation, an insurance company will struggle to defend a claim brought against you.

On the flip side, it’s worth remembering that your passengers could end up being your best witnesses in a non-fault accident. And with their evidence both your claim, and theirs, have a greater chance of success against an at fault driver.

Article by Elena Manukyan. Elena is the Founder, Director and Solicitor at The Injury Solicitor Ltd. She has 10 years of experience in pursuing personal injury claims for her clients.


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