We are very happy to report that beginning June 1, 2021, passengers in taxicabs permitted to operate in the City of Alexandria will have a minimum of $100,000 of automobile insurance available to them if injured in a crash. This level of coverage is a much-needed increase in coverage and will significantly benefit all who use city cabs, not to mention that it makes practical and policy sense.
To fully appreciate the beneficial impact of this change, a little background is needed.
The Alexandria City Code currently requires that taxicabs granted a permit to operate in the City are required to carry automobile insurance liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. So, under current law, if a passenger in a City cab is injured in a crash due to the fault of the cab driver, the passenger has up to $100,000 available in compensation for his or her injuries. (If more than two people are hurt, the $300,000 limit will be divided as fairly as possible.)
However, under the current law, while the $100K/$300K liability limits are required, uninsured and underinsured limits can be as low as $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Those respective limits mean that in the event that a passenger in a taxicab is injured in a crash due to the fault of either an uninsured driver or one with only $25,000 in coverage, the most the injured person can receive in compensation for their injuries is $25,000.
Virginia does not require a driver to have liability insurance to operate a motor vehicle, and the minimum limits of policies purchased in Virginia are $25,000. There are many instances where crashes are caused by either uninsured drivers or those with the $25,000 minimum limits. As medical care costs continue to increase, resulting in increased financial and emotional hardship upon an innocent injured passenger.
As to the taxicab passenger injured in the crash, this 300 percent difference in the amount of coverage available to him or her depending upon who caused the crash makes no sense. Fortunately, through the persistent efforts of my fellow Alexandria trial lawyer Jeremy Flachs, with an assist from me, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to amend City Code Section 9-12-6 to require City Cabs permitted to operate in the City to also carry uninsured and underinsurance limits of $100k/$300k.
If you have any questions about this change, please feel free to call me at 703 836-3366 or email [email protected]. Jeremy and I have now set our sights on obtaining similar modifications to the taxicab limits in both Fairfax County and Arlington Counties as passengers in cabs operated there to face the same risks and need the same level of protection that will soon be afforded those in the City of Alexandria.
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