Taxi Crash Kills Two In San Francisco

Taxi Crash Kills Two In San Francisco

Investigators believe that excessive speed was the primary factor in a crash that involved a runaway taxi and several pedestrians.

The wreck happened outside San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center. Initially, a speeding car hit a taxi. The force of that collision propelled the taxi onto the sidewalk. It hit three pedestrians, killing two women from Vero Beach, Florida. “People just want to drive like they are on the freeway, around here,” one witness remarked.

Such wrecks are a social justice issue, as well as a safety issue. “South of Market is an area that is disproportionately afflicted with traffic accidents,” noted San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey.

First Party Liability

Excessive speed, which has long been a serious problem, became even worse during coronavirus lockdowns. As the streets emptied, many motorists pushed the envelope to see how fast they could go. When the world reopened, this bad habit didn’t change.

Speed increases the risk of a wreck and the force in a wreck. A car traveling 60mph takes three times as long to stop as a car traveling 30mph. Speed has a similar effect on the force in a collision, according to Sir Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion.

Excessive speed is also negligent, even if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) wasn’t exceeding the speed limit at the time of the wreck. The posted limit is a presumably reasonable speed under ideal conditions. Environmental and mechanical factors come into play here. If the sky is dark or the road is wet, drivers have a legal duty to slow down. The same thing applies if their vehicles are large, like a big pickup truck or SUV, or their brakes are in less than tip-top shape.

For a San Jose car accident lawyer, cause is often an issue in multi-vehicle crashes. In the above wreck, victims and survivors could probably file claims against either driver. If Sam filed suit against the taxi driver, the taxi company would most likely blame the other motorist for the wreck. These claims involve joint and several liability, a very complex legal doctrine. The bottom line is that the victim is eligible for compensation. It doesn’t matter who pays it.

This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Third Party Liability

Frequently, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is legally responsible for a wreck, but not financially responsible for damages. That burden falls to a third party. Vicarious liability claims are especially important in wrongful death claims. Frequently, individuals don’t have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate survivors in these cases.

Respondeat superior employer liability is one of the most common third party liability theories in California. This legal doctrine has three basic prongs:

  • Employee: Legally, employers are responsible if their employees are negligent. California negligence law broadly defines “employee” to include most non-employees, like owner operators and independent contractors.
  • Foreseeability: The injury must be a foreseeable (possible) consequence of the employer-employee relationship. If a tortfeasor breaks into the garage and steals a company car, a resulting wreck is not foreseeable.
  • Scope of Employment: Usually, any act that benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment. A taxi driver without a passenger benefits the employer, because of the free advertising the taxi generates.

Other employer liability theories, which often apply in assault and other intentional tort claims, include negligent hiring and negligent supervision.

Reach Out to a Diligent Santa Clara County Attorney

Car crash claims are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer, contact the Solution Now Law Firm. We have offices in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Oakland.


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