San Francisco Taxi Cab Accident Resulting in Two Deaths goes to D.A.
Last June, a taxi cab operator was driving two passengers from the San Francisco Airport to San Francisco when his cab began smoking. He pulled off Highway 280 at Mariposa Street. At that point the cab’s brakes failed and he collided with a highway column at about 40 m.p.h. The cab burst into flames and both of his passengers died from burns at the hospital.
The police have not recommended what criminal charges, if any, should be filed against the taxi cab driver. The police presented a foot high stack of documents to the district attorney’s office to decide what specific charges should be brought.
The cab company could also be liable for civil damages for the wrongful death of the two passengers. A cab company is considered a common carrier. Therefore, it is under the highest duty of care to protect its passengers from even the slightest degree of negligence (Civil Codes section 2100). In this case, there will be an inquiry into the maintenance of the brakes, the actions of the cab driver when the smoke began entering the cab, and the driver’s conduct after the collision.
Common carriers are also required to maintain their vehicles in a safe condition so that they are fit for the purposes to which they are used (Civil Code Section 2101).
As an Oakland personal injury lawyer, I have fought several cases against cab companies over the years. I am aware that taxi cab companies are often self-insured and frequently present obstacles to quick and fair settlements of personal injury and wrongful death claims. Persons involved in auto accidents involving cabs should know their legal rights before attempting to deal directly with such companies.
San Francisco News, CHP concludes probe into taxi crash that killed two, January 4, 2011