Did you know that if you are involved in an accident while riding in a bus or taxi cab your medical treatment will not be covered by your Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?  As many readers of our materials will know, PIP coverage is generally the primary source of payment for medical expenses following a motor vehicle accident in Florida.  (If you don’t already know this, you should download a free copy of our Florida consumer guide to PIP.)

Many people don’t realize that, in Florida, buses, taxis, and other similar vehicles that carry people for a fee are classified as “common carriers”. Under Florida law, common carriers do not qualify as “motor vehicles” for automobile insurance purposes.  As a result, PIP benefits are not available for accidents related to those kinds of vehicles.  People who are injured in bus or taxi accidents will need to rely upon group health insurance or other similar benefits, or will need to be prepared to pay cash for their medical expenses.

On the plus side, however, common carriers owe their passengers the highest degree of care for their safety.  This means that bus and cab drivers owe a higher degree of care than simply “reasonable” care.  In other words, an action or omission that might not considered simple negligence, might still expose a bus or cab driver, and by association, his or her employer, to liability for any damages caused to an injured passenger.   Obviously, this difference in the quality of proof needed might help an injured passenger recover compensation to pay for medical benefits, as mentioned above.

If you have any questions about an accident involving a common carrier, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-644-4444.

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