Taxi cabs are a convenient way to get around Melbourne and the nearby suburbs. Although many taxi drivers take safety seriously and are able to deliver their fares without incident, collisions with taxis and other vehicles do happen.
If you have been injured in a taxi accident – whether as the driver or passenger of another vehicle or a passenger in the taxi – you will need to file a TAC motor vehicle claim to receive benefits. But first, there are several steps you can take to strengthen your claim in the event of a dispute with the TAC or another party.
Please call 03 9001 1318 today for a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case. Henry Carus + Associates serve taxi accident victims in Melbourne and other areas of VIC.
1. Check Yourself for Injuries
Before you attempt to move or get out of the vehicle, it is important to assess your condition:
- Are you bleeding?
- Do you have intense pain anywhere in your body?
- Are you having difficulty breathing?
- Do you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or dazed?
- Do you feel numbness or tingling along your neck, back, or in the extremities?
If you experience any of these issues, it is best to stay still and wait for help to arrive. You may have a serious injury that requires immediate transport to hospital. If any passengers report symptoms or problems like the ones above, try to keep them calm and still until first responders can assess their injuries.
Your first priority is to receive care for your injuries. If, however, you are treated and released at the scene, you can move on to the next steps.
2. Photograph the Scene
Evidence at the scene of an accident is short-lived. Debris will be cleaned up, damaged vehicles are removed, and skid marks and other markings on the road surface will fade with time.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to document the scene as thoroughly as possible in the immediate aftermath of the accident. The best way to do this is through photographs.
Take photos of anything that might be relevant to your claim, including:
- The position of your vehicle, the taxi, and any other vehicles involved
- The damage to the vehicles
- The licence plate of each vehicle involved in the accident
- Debris in the road
- The area surrounding the accident scene, including the road, traffic signals and stop signs, and any other signage
- Weather, light, and traffic conditions
These photos may not be necessary if you are only filing a claim for TAC no-fault accident benefits. If, however, you pursue a common-law personal injury claim against the driver of the taxi or another vehicle for negligence, the pictures you take could be crucial.
If the TAC or taxi cab company disputes liability in your claim, photographic evidence can help establish the fault of the other driver and your right to compensation.
3. Exchange Information with the Driver
Everyone involved in a taxi accident must exchange information. This includes the driver of the taxi as well as any other drivers. Passengers of the taxi will want to get information from both the taxi driver and the drivers of any other vehicles.
Information you should collect from the taxi driver includes:
- His or her name and contact details
- Driver’s licence information – look for accreditation to operate a commercial passenger vehicle
- Licence information for the taxi, including the holder of the licence (the driver may be a solo operator and hold the licence him- or herself, or the licence may be held by a taxi club)
- Insurance information
Information you should collect from the drivers of other vehicles in the accident includes:
- Each driver’s name and contact details
- The registration number for each vehicle involved in the accident
- Information for each driver’s insurer
Failing to stop after an accident and failing to exchange information are both traffic offences in Victoria. Unless you are taken to hospital, never leave the scene until you have completed this step.
4. Talk to the Police
In Victoria, accidents involving injury, death, and/or property damage must be reported to the police. When the police arrive at the scene, the officer will speak to the drivers of the vehicles, their passengers, and any witnesses to the accident.
When you provide the police officer with a statement, it is important not to admit fault or suggest you were responsible. This could be used against you if you later file a common-law claim alleging negligence on the part of another driver. Simply answer the officer’s questions and describe what you saw and what you were doing in the moments leading up to the accident and when the crash occurred.
If the accident results in injury, the officer will create a report that establishes both the basic facts (such as where the accident occurred, the approximate time, the names of the parties involved, etc.) as well as notes on the cause of the accident and any offences involved. An experienced accident lawyer can help you get a copy of the police report as part of building your claim.
5. Speak to Witnesses
Some taxi accidents occur on city streets with a number of people nearby. Others, meanwhile, may occur at night or in areas with little to no foot traffic.
If anyone witnessed the accident, be sure to ask them what they saw. You should also ask for their contact information, in the event that you or your lawyer needs to follow up with them.
Witness statements may be a key part of a common-law claim where you need to prove the negligence of the driver of the taxi or another vehicle. The testimony of a third party can support your claim that the at-fault driver was speeding, following too closely, or engaging in other behaviour that resulted in the accident.
6. Contact a Taxi Accident Lawyer
Taxis operating in Melbourne and throughout Victoria are heavily regulated. Unfortunately, cab drivers and taxi clubs don’t always follow the rules, resulting in accidents that can cause serious injuries.
If you have been hurt in an accident involving a taxi cab, it is important to contact a lawyer who has experience navigating the complexities of commercial passenger vehicle legislation in Victoria. You may be entitled to TAC no-fault accident benefits as well as additional compensation for serious injuries caused by the negligence of a taxi driver and/or his employer.
How Henry Carus + Associates Can Help
Many law firms in Victoria pride themselves on the speed with which they resolve claims. Although getting clients the benefits and compensation they deserve is important, we believe that the quality of service is paramount. You Deserve More, and our team puts in the work to ensure that every dollar you deserve is pursued.
Taxi accidents and other claims involving public and commercial transport can be complicated. You need a law firm that puts your needs first and is dedicated to getting you more.
Contact Henry Carus + Associates for a free, no-obligation consultation at 03 9001 1318 today. Our lawyers serve clients injured in accidents throughout the greater Melbourne area and other communities of Victoria.