The ubiquitous taxicab is a fixture in the more densely populated areas of the United States. The sheer numbers of such vehicles, and the intensive nature of the manner in which they operate, create types and volumes of risks that implicate numerous issues in the area of auto insurance and the insurance coverage afforded in incidents involving such vehicles.
The costs incidental to motor vehicle accidents, thefts of cars and trucks, and similar vehicle-related occurrences in the United States are immense. In addition to the human costs, consisting of some 40,000 fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries annually, the yearly economic cost of such incidents is extremely high. The understandable governmental response to this situation has been the widespread enactment of legislative provisions which, in an attempt to assure that at least some reimbursement is made available to persons who suffer injuries from vehicle-related causes, make it compulsory for the owners and operators of motor vehicles to acquire and maintain insurance on their vehicles in order to be allowed to operate those vehicles on the public streets and highways.
Whether it is warmer weather or increased fuel costs, more motorcycles are evident on America’s roads and highways. There is a greater danger involved in riding a motorcycle than in driving a car. As a result, insurance companies treat motorcycles and their riders differently than automobiles and their passengers. Such treatment does not violate the constitutional right of equal protection under the law.
While the owners and operators of private motor vehicles sometimes think of their possession of auto insurance as totally eliminating any potential tort liability on their parts, such owners and operators remain subject to the tort system to the extent that their insurance coverage does not encompass part or all of their legal liability for an incident that has caused personal injury or property damage to another person. Such a situation can arise, for example, where a court judgment reflecting injury or damage caused by an insured private vehicle owner or operator exceeds the limits of his or her policy, or where the insured’s failure to provide required notice to an insurer or cooperate in the defense of a legal action causes the insurer to assert that it is not required to provide coverage for the loss under the policy.
Without trucks products could not get to the neighborhood store. But traveling the roadways with the artichokes and widgets are shipments of hazardous cargo, like flammable liquids, biomedical waste, and radioactive materials. When a truck containing molasses overturns on a highway, the resulting cleanup can be sticky. When a truck containing dynamite overturns on a highway, the cleanup is very risky.