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We're being sued, yay
  #1  
Old 03-22-2018, 11:43 PM
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Deserted Deserted is offline
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Default We're being sued, yay

Hello, my friends. You may have noticed that I'm sorta easing back into posting here. Not a lot, but still. Well, do I have a story for you.


Back in January, I received a phone call from a legal assistant informing me that Big Green Cab Company and I are being sued. (Currently I'm listed as "John Doe, driver", but the paperwork will be updated to include my name.) Needless to say, I am... a bit concerned.

See, back in April 2016, I was driving a wheelchair passenger to a medical appointment, a very common occurrence. (You may remember me saying that our single biggest account is medical, and that is not our only medical account.) The passenger refused a seatbelt, which is legal in Desert Hell. (The law requires seatbelts buckled for all passengers in the front seat and all children under 18 16 regardless of where they sit. This passenger was neither.)

A few miles from the destination, a box truck pulled out in front of me, and I slammed the brakes. I avoided a wreck, but the passenger was thrown out of his wheelchair. That sucks, but again, he refused the seatbelt.

Here's what the wheelchair area looks like in the van that this happened in. All that black stuff is non-skid.



He was unable to get back in the chair, so I pulled over and asked if he wanted me to call 911. (Emergency services, for you non-USians.) No, he just wanted back in the chair, so I lifted him into the chair and resumed driving. (His appointment was at a hospital anyway.) Dropped him off and got on with my life.

And now, here we are. He's suing. I finally got a chance to speak with the lawyer last week, and he's confident that this will be dismissed, and if it does go to trial, we'll win because, again, the guy refused the seatbelt... but still. (In the lawyer's opinion, once he refused, I could not legally make the guy wear the seatbelt.)

I've never been sued before, so I'm a bit nervous about this.

ETA: As an aside, this has nothing to do with the lawsuit I talked about in The lawsuit and the rule change.
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Last edited by Deserted; 04-05-2018 at 06:48 PM. Reason: ;)

  #2  
Old 03-23-2018, 12:28 PM
Dave0523 Dave0523 is offline
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I hope you have his refusal documented. "No, Your Honor, he never offered to seatbelt me."

  #3  
Old 03-23-2018, 04:08 PM
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taxguykarl taxguykarl is offline
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Quote:
Quoth Deserted View Post
I've never been sued before, so I'm a bit nervous about this.
Don't be, especially if this nonsense is on video. The passenger refused the seatbelt AND emergency medical services.....come to think of it, doesn't the police report say as much?
Moreover, many individuals have zero or even negative net worth...IOW they are collection-proof. Go ahead and sue, they'll avoid paying damages by bankruptcy.
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My rule
  #4  
Old 03-23-2018, 04:09 PM
earl colby pottinger earl colby pottinger is offline
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Default My rule

The car does not move till you do up the seat-belt.

I have had people claim they will do it later once we get moving, I just sit there and wait.

Now I am not a taxi, I am talking my personal car but I refuse to move till they are belted up.

  #5  
Old 03-23-2018, 09:13 PM
Pixelated Pixelated is offline
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Quote:
Quoth earl colby pottinger View Post
The car does not move till you do up the seat-belt.

I have had people claim they will do it later once we get moving, I just sit there and wait.

Now I am not a taxi, I am talking my personal car but I refuse to move till they are belted up.
I agree, but I'm not sure taxis have the right to enforce that, although if they don't, perhaps their company/municipality/whoever needs to rethink that stance.

Deserted, I worked for a small community paper for nearly a decade, and we got sued a couple of times. It's actually not a big deal. The thing to remember, when you're on the hot seat, is JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT'S BEEN ASKED. Do NOT volunteer extra information, even if it's your own lawyer doing the asking (he/she will probably tell you as much). When it's the opposition, they might try to get you to say something detrimental to your case by pushing your buttons and yanking your chains (makes you feel kinda robotic, don't it ... ) Don't let them get to you. Just smile pleasantly and ... answer the question. In as few words as possible. Never argue, and don't even try to defend your actions or protest your innocence ("So ... you're saying my client refused the seatbelt? Is that what you're saying??" "Yes." PERIOD. )

"The other side" also sometimes tries the silent gambit, in which you have given your response and they say ... nothing. And continue to say nothing, in the hopes that you will become so uncomfortable in the silence that you'll blurt out something they can use. I used to just do the "meditation pose": I would look down at my hands, which were resting on the railing, and just stand there (in Canadian courts, there is no chair or bench in the witness stand, which sucks, IMO) -- also remaining silent. Because the judge will only allow it to go on for so long before calling the lawyer to account. The judge will say nothing to you because it's not up to you to break the silence -- either the lawyer has more questions, in which case they need to get on with it, or they don't, in which case the witness is done ... and can go have a beer.

The only thing I realized halfway through one of my court appearances was that I was doing a great Bobblehead impression.
Lawyer: "So ... blah blah blah. Is that correct?"
Me: *nods* Yes.

Lawyer: "And you then went on to blah blah blah?"
Me: *nods* Yes

Lawyer: "And you did let my client know that blah blah blah?"
Me: *nods* Yes

All ... the ... way ... through ... the ... freakin' ... trial.
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Last edited by Pixelated; 03-23-2018 at 09:20 PM.

  #6  
Old 03-23-2018, 11:47 PM
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morgana morgana is offline
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Quote:
Quoth earl colby pottinger View Post
The car does not move till you do up the seat-belt.
My rule also. And if there's any resistance I tell them about what happened to my mother when she wasn't wearing her seatbelt . . .

One used-to-be-friend, I actually took the keys out of the ignition, got out, leaned against the car and called the other friend we were going to meet, to tell her we were going to be late. Jackass swore at me, but he put his seatbelt on.

  #7  
Old 03-24-2018, 03:57 AM
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Monterey Jack Monterey Jack is offline
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Both my Dad and brother never put on their seatbelts, which means I have to deal with the annoying automatic "Put on your seatbelt, ya idiot!" chime for ten minutes.

  #8  
Old 03-24-2018, 04:14 AM
Buzzard Buzzard is offline
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There's only one person I know that gets a no-seatbelt pass from me. The guy got T-boned in his truck, with the driver door mashed all the way to the gearshift in the center. Had he been wearing a belt, he'd have been cut in half instead of mangled.
Since then, no belt for him, and for him alone... okay dude.

  #9  
Old 03-24-2018, 11:25 AM
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Trixie Trixie is offline
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Wearing a seatbelt isn't a big deal to me, it's just habit. I've been doing it since I was a kid when the cars only had lap belts. Yes, I am old. Though I can only remember one time that I totally forget to put the seatbelt on was when I was moving my car and didn't even realize until I was putting it back in park. Now getting out of the car while still having it on is another story but that will usually happen when I go to work and it's probably subconsciously me not wanting to be there.
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2018, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Quoth Dave0523 View Post
I hope you have his refusal documented. "No, Your Honor, he never offered to seatbelt me."
I did what the company required at the time: I sent a specific message through the dispatch terminal (code 70) that meant "passenger refused seatbelt."

Quote:
Quoth taxguykarl View Post
Don't be, especially if this nonsense is on video.
It's not. No camera inside the van except my dash cam, and that points forward.

Quote:
Quoth taxguykarl View Post
The passenger refused the seatbelt AND emergency medical services.....come to think of it, doesn't the police report say as much?
I didn't call the police. After all, no crash = nothing happened, as far as the police are concerned.

Quote:
Quoth taxguykarl View Post
Moreover, many individuals have zero or even negative net worth...IOW they are collection-proof. Go ahead and sue, they'll avoid paying damages by bankruptcy.
Yeah, that's me. But if this guy wins, any winnings he gets will come out of insurance ($1,000,000 policy) since Big Green Cab Co is also a named defendant.

Quote:
Quoth earl colby pottinger View Post
The car does not move till you do up the seat-belt.

I have had people claim they will do it later once we get moving, I just sit there and wait.

Now I am not a taxi, I am talking my personal car but I refuse to move till they are belted up.
Quote:
Quoth Pixelated View Post
I agree, but I'm not sure taxis have the right to enforce that, although if they don't, perhaps their company/municipality/whoever needs to rethink that stance.
It's determined by company policy. At Big Green Cab Co, if the passenger refuses the seatbelt... At Cab Co That Is Yellow, it's strictly enforced: no seatbelt, no ride. Other companies, other policies.

Quote:
Quoth Pixelated View Post
Deserted, I worked for a small community paper for nearly a decade, and we got sued a couple of times. It's actually not a big deal. The thing to remember, when you're on the hot seat, is JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT'S BEEN ASKED. Do NOT volunteer extra information, even if it's your own lawyer doing the asking (he/she will probably tell you as much). When it's the opposition, they might try to get you to say something detrimental to your case by pushing your buttons and yanking your chains (makes you feel kinda robotic, don't it ... ) Don't let them get to you. Just smile pleasantly and ... answer the question. In as few words as possible. Never argue, and don't even try to defend your actions or protest your innocence ("So ... you're saying my client refused the seatbelt? Is that what you're saying??" "Yes." PERIOD. )
Good advice, thanks. I'm supposed to get called down to the lawyer's office in the next week or three to give a statement, so we'll see what happens then.

Quote:
Quoth Buzzard View Post
There's only one person I know that gets a no-seatbelt pass from me. The guy got T-boned in his truck, with the driver door mashed all the way to the gearshift in the center. Had he been wearing a belt, he'd have been cut in half instead of mangled.
Since then, no belt for him, and for him alone... okay dude.
The law here has an exception to the front-seat-everybody-wears-it law: a written note from a doctor stating that the passenger cannot wear a seatbelt.

Quote:
Quoth Trixie View Post
Now getting out of the car while still having it on is another story but that will usually happen when I go to work and it's probably subconsciously me not wanting to be there.
__________________
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you speak with the Fraud department. -- CrazedClerkthe2nd
OW! Rolled my eyes too hard, saw my brain. -- Seanette
she seems to top me in crazy, and I'm enough crazy for my family. -- Cooper
Yes, I am evil. What's your point? -- Jester
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