In an investigation conducted by a Dallas news station, the agency found that the City of Dallas allowed Yellow Cab — the region’s largest taxi company — to operate without the required insurance coverage needed to process and pay the claims passengers who were injured in their taxis.
Investigators also learned that the cab company employed disingenuous and ruthless tactics against injured passengers in order to avoid having to compensate them for their medical costs.
An emergency meeting was called on Sunday evening by interim City Manager AC Gonzalez in order to address the problems raised by WFAA News, Channel 8. Gonzalez sent a memo to both the Mayor and Dallas City Council acknowledging that the issue may have been going on for a decade. Gonzalez said that cab companies that are not in compliance, must be within compliance of city ordinances in 30 days.
In incident that happened last January, Mel Stockwell was injured in an accident involving a Yellow taxi cab. According to Stockwell, Yellow has been both threatening and abusive toward him.
Even though Yellow’s parent company, Irving Holdings, paid for the replacement of Stockwell’s car that was totaled by one of their affiliate cabs that plowed through a red light, he had also requested reimbursement for cab expenses he incurred after losing the use of his vehicle, and — more importantly — that Yellow pay his medical bills and lost wages, which he said total $48,000.
In frustration, Stockwell went to see Jeff Finkel, one of the owners and managers of Yellow Cab. Stockwell made this audio recording of Finkel saying:
“I tell you what. We made an offer. You can accept the offer, or get an attorney. But we are done, sir. We provided your car instantly. And you want us to pay for cabs also? You’re being ludicrous. You have a good day. I need to ask you to leave my property.”
Stockwell shared his audio recording with the city six months ago, but got no reaction or response.
It is required by law in Dallas that taxi cab companies carry $500,000 worth of insurance. Every dollar of an injury claim must be paid through an insurance policy — not directly by the cab company. Self-insurance for cab companies is not permitted.
The law was intended eliminate any temptation on the part of a hack or cab company to save cash by denying legitimate injury claims filed against them.
Investigations made by News 8 show Yellow Cab is in fact self-insured up to $250,000.
What this does is turn Yellow from a cab company into its own insurance company.
The law does not permit this.
According to Gonzalez, it could be something as simple and seemingly insignificant as a typo from 10 years ago that made it appear Yellow did not need to comply with insurance requirements. Even while some city staff members had questioned about the situation, the questions were left unanswered.
According to attorneys for Yellow, they feel that they are in compliance with the ordinance, and that it is allowed to self-insure. The company says it uses a third-party claims administrator to address the claims of injured passengers.
Other passengers who have been injured such as Diana Lambert, have also been given a legal run around. In her case, Yellow claimed that were not responsible anyway. They contended that the accident was the fault of the cab driver, who is an independent contractor.
Six months ago, a certified letter was sent to the Dallas City Attorney to alert them that Yellow did not have the required $500,000 policy. The city of Dallas never responded to the letter.
With this new memo, the city is responding, saying it will develop any “process changes and additional enforcement actions” to make sure the rules are followed.
As you can see, these are just some of the tactics that companies will employ in order to get out of having to pay any sort of personal injury or accident claim. It is the law that accident victims are entitled to damages by law. That is what we are here to do.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a taxi cab, give us a call today. We are here to help you and will act as the point of contact between you, the insurance companies and all involved parties.
Medical costs, ongoing treatment, pain and suffering can all be a part of a personal injury claim. When you call our offices we will arrange for you to meet with an attorney who will go over the details of your case and outline several courses of action. We can get your claim launched right away and we have years of experience successfully representing our clients in the Texas courts.
Your initial consultation is confidential and without cost to you. Give yourself peace of mind. Call today.