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Taxi Responsible for Fatal Hit of Passenger After Drop Off (NY)

September 21, 2016

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Recently, the Appellate Division, Second Department, held that a taxi driver may owe a duty to its passenger once the passenger has exited the vehicle. In <em><a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/OConnor-v.-Ronnie-Cab-Corp..pdf">O'Connor v. Ronnie Cab Corp</a>.,</em> 2016 NY Slip Op 05980, plaintiff exited a taxi and walked around the car to cross the street. As plaintiff as doing so, he was struck by another vehicle coming down the street and killed.
The Court found that there were questions of fact as to whether the taxi driver’s positioning of the car when dropping plaintiff off obstructed plaintiff’s view of oncoming traffic causing plaintiff’s incident.  At the time of the accident, the taxi was far from the curb and was partially inside of an active travel lane.
The Court determined that the duty of a common carrier to safely discharge a passenger may have ended when plaintiff exited the vehicle, but the driver’s duty to plaintiff as a pedestrian just began and that it was the violation of that duty that may be the proximate cause of plaintiff’s death.
This decision exemplifies one of the few circumstances where an active driver in a pedestrian knock down case may not be liable for plaintiff’s injuries and instead, the car blocking plaintiff’s view of oncoming traffic may be to blame.  Thanks to Dana Purcaro for her contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:bgibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.

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