Public transportation is defined as any means of transportation that follow specific routes, charge a fee and is available to the public. Public transportation usually includes public buses, trains, and trolleys, as well as taxis. In some states, public transportation also includes school buses and even private limousine companies.
Personal injury law involving public transportation pays close attention to negligence, and public transportation companies in some states are subject to the “common carrier” law. In the United States, a common carrier (or simply “carrier”) is an entity whose business transports people or goods from one place to another for a fee. Carriers may be held liable for the injuries of passengers, but only if the plaintiff can prove negligence.
However, liability can be difficult to prove when the public transportation entity is owned by a state or a municipality, as many public transportation entities are. Whether an at-fault public transportation entity is public or private may make a difference to the ease in which you can get compensated after an accident.
Annual Bus Accident Statistics
-There are 30,000 commercial buses on the road in America alone.
-Every day, there are 450,000 school buses on the road.
-Children on school buses annually experience 12,000 injuries.
-Around 11 children die each year from a bus accident.
Bus accidents where the driver is at fault
If you are injured as a passenger of a commercial vehicle, a third party claim can be made to the insurer of the at-fault driver. When filing a claim for compensation for an injury caused by an accident on public transportation, you may be eligible to be compensated for:
-Expenses related to medical care, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
-Replacement of income as compensation for lost wages for not being able to work due to injuries suffered in the accident.
-Home services to help with grooming, dressing, showering and bathing, and other personal needs that you cannot perform on your own due to injuries sustained in the collision.
You have the right to file a claim for compensation against the company that manages the public transportation that caused the accident.
How negligence is determined in bus accidents
To determine the responsibility or fault after a bus accident, a special investigation will be needed and the factors that may have caused or contributed to the accident will be reviewed, such as:
-If the bus driver was fatigued.
-If the driver received proper training or had been qualified prior to the beginning of the work engagement.
-If the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
-If the bus was overloaded.
-If the bus was properly maintained.
How to make a claim after an accident with a public transportation company
Public transportation companies are usually state or municipal agencies, and, for accident claims filed against them, unique laws may apply.
In order to file a claim against a government entity, there are deadlines that are known as statute of limitations. These deadlines vary from state to state.
If your injury case involves the potential liability of a government entity or employee in Texas – for example, you were hit and injured by a vehicle owned by a state agency — you cannot simply file a lawsuit against the government.
Instead, you need to file a formal claim with the governmental unit that you believe may be responsible for causing your injury, and the claim needs to be filed within 6 months of the underlying incident. The claim should include a description of the damage or injury, the time and place of the incident, and a summary account of what happened.
The government must receive notice of your claim within six months after the date that it occurs. However, cities are also allowed to enact a shorter notice time period as well. Houston, as well as several other major cities in Texas, uses a 90-day timeframe to receive notice. That means that if you do not provide notice to the City of Houston of your claim within 90 days of the date of the incident, you may lose your right to start a claim at all.
Also, most states have limits for injury claims against state or municipal agencies, such as public transportation companies. The special rules may also place limits on how much can be recovered from government entities. The cap on what you may recover from a governmental entity is as low as $100,000 in some states.
Why do you need a lawyer to claim compensation or to file a lawsuit?
Having a lawyer establish a claim against a state or municipal agency is important because there are strict guidelines that need to be followed.
Our lawyers have experience with these sorts of claims, as well what information and arguments to present in order to fight for a positive outcome for you or your loved one.
How PMR Law can help
If you were injured in an accident with a commercial bus or other public transportation vehicle, it is important that you understand your legal rights.
The attorneys at PMR Law can help you understand the complicated laws related to accidents involving public transportation. We will work with you to fight for the terms of a settlement, including compensation and reimbursement, which your injuries deserve.
An attorney who has experience with public transportation claims will be able to consult with you about your legal rights and open an investigation into the full cause of the accident to help determine true liability. Get in touch with us so we can evaluate your case for free. Call PMR Law at 832-481-3427 and a member of our team will get in touch with you immediately.
PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms of America, by Rue Ratings. Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction. Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers, as well as the American Academy of Attorneys, have named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40. Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings. PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum.