In my Baltimore injury law office we often hear of accidents involving service vehicles. Taxi cabs, hire cars, limousines and shuttle busses can all be involved in traffic collisions. As passenger, you can be seriously injured in even the simplest automobile accidents. It doesn’t take much to cause an unbelted occupant of a motor vehicle to sustain broken bones, cuts and bruises and even debilitating injuries.
Every Maryland resident who rides as a passenger in a cab, bus or other type of fare-paying transportation should be aware of the potential problems associated with uninsured carriers. And even if you don’t travel in these potentially costly conveyances, you may have an elderly relative or friend who often uses one to get to and from the supermarket or other metropolitan location.
This is especially important because, as we all know, automobile accidents can happen anywhere, any time. People on a fixed budget will find uninsured cabs and hire cars particularly difficult to turn when they offer such low fares. But you must ask yourself the question, “Is it worth the possibly devastating medical or work-loss costs should you become a victim of that driver’s error or negligence?”
It is important to keep in mind that if you or a loved one becomes injured in a vehicle that is not properly insured, you may have a very difficult time recovering medical and other costs. Legitimate cab and hire car companies are more expensive for many reasons, but one good reason is that they carry the proper insurance. As a Maryland auto accident lawyer, I am well aware of the risks involved in riding with an uninsured or under-insured driver.
And while it may not seem so at the time, hailing a budget-priced cab or hire car could be financially irresponsible if that vehicle is involved in an accident with you riding inside.
Even supermarket managers and owners of grocery stores do not realize the liability that they could incur by allowing uninsured “courtesy drivers” to solicit their customers’ business. These so-called “hackers” operate illegally in part because they do not care to pay for commercial auto insurance, which the law requires.
Based on reports, the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, which provides coverage for many sedans and taxis, currently has a base rate of about $4,000 per year for such vehicles operating in Baltimore. Hackers may very well have personal auto insurance, but that doesn’t always cover them if they injure a paying customer, especially if they are operating their vehicle without the knowledge of their insurance company.
The point here is you should always think twice when choosing paid transportation. At the time, it may seem penny wise to hail that cheap “hacker” cab rather than a legitimate, yet more expensive insured taxi. But that low fare may not be such a great deal if you are hurt or severely injured in a crash.