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Liabilities of Taxi Operators and Drivers

05th January 2010
By Mesriani Law Group in Legal
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Taxi operators and drivers have a legal obligation to provide safety for their passengers and to practice due diligence to prevent traffic accidents.

Taxi Operators' Liabilities as an Employer

In general, most private employers are liable for the injuries and damages caused by their workers. This legal liability also applies to taxi operators who employ drivers.

For instance, a driver ran a red light before hitting another vehicle. In this situation, his employer, the taxi operator, will pay the hospital bills and future medical needs, loss of wages, and property damages of the victims (the taxi passengers and the occupants from another car) of the accident caused by his driver.

According to federal and state laws, employers have a duty to protect clients, visitors, and most members of the general public. In this sense, they should make sure that their workers are qualified to perform their tasks and will not cause harm to other people.

This is where background checking becomes important for taxi operators. Because they provide service to the public, this means they should be extra careful when hiring drivers.

Avoiding Negligent Hiring Claims

The main purpose of conducting a background check and employment investigation is to avoid lawsuits and claims over negligent hiring.

Many states urge employers to conduct background checks to workers especially those with jobs that involve going inside houses (such as delivery man, in-house maid, house cleaner, and plumber).

Employment investigation also applies to hiring taxi drivers. According to Los Angeles lawyers, taxi operators should make sure that their drivers have a clean police and driving record.

Also, operators should only hire people who have a professional driver's license.

Aside from conducting job-related investigation and background check, operators should also provide their drivers with training and defensive driving programs.

They should also make sure that their vehicles are well-maintained to prevent accidents and injuries not just for their passengers but also for their drivers.

Common Carrier Drivers

According to California law, common carriers such as taxis, buses, and trucks are generally held liable for injuries caused by their drivers.

In Contract of Carriage law, the legal responsibilities of taxi operators and their drivers are clearly defined:

"As soon as a passenger rides in a common carrier, there is already a contract between him and the operator/driver that obligates the latter to ensure the safety of the travel."

Exempted Incidents

While taxi operators and drivers are generally held liable for injuries of their passengers, there are cases in which they are not.

1. The accident is caused by unexpected events such as earthquake and landslide.

2. The accident is caused by a defective auto part or the car manufacturer or auto supplier's failure to make their products safe.

3. Other drivers caused the accident.

4. The pedestrian has failed to follow the traffic rules.

5. The passengers' act has caused the accident.

If you have been involved in Los Angeles taxi accidents, get help from our expert personal injury lawyers. Visit our website and avail of our free case analysis.
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