A taxi company and its driver were sued for wrongful death (negligence) when a passenger who was intoxicated exited the cab, and then within a half an hour walked into heavy traffic and was killed by a drunk driver.
On March 11, 2015, a Santa Barbara Court jury concluded the decedent’s mother could not collect even though the municipal law required a taxi driver to allow a passenger to exit only at a curb.
The Plaintiff’s lawyer argued the taxi cab was a common carrier and owed a higher standard (duty) of care to ensure the safety of its customers. The outcome was not based upon a lack of negligence by the defendants, and/or any one of them, however, but their neglect was deemed not the proximate cause of the death of the passenger. In other words, the conduct was not a substantial factor causing the death of the passenger in both time and location.
It is noteworthy that the 78 year old driver of the vehicle that struck and killed the victim was arrested and charged with felony hit and run. His blood alcohol was three times the legal limit, he entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to one year in the County Jail and three years’ probation. His insurance carrier paid the family who settled for policy limits of $30,000.
The case is: Quintanar v. Absolute Cab LLC., et al. (Santa Barbara Super. Ct., originally filed May 13, 2014).