3 FAQs About Public Transportation Accident Claims
Serious accidents involving public transportation are almost always newsworthy because they tend to cause considerable damage. Even when everyone survives, the resulting injuries are often severe. Fortunately, victims and their surviving loved ones have the right to pursue damages from the liable party.
If you sustained injuries or lost a family member in a crash that involved a public transport vehicle, you probably have a lot of questions about the claims process. The most strategic way to proceed will depend on the circumstances, so it’s wise to consult a lawyer who has extensive experience handling these cases.
Below, we’ve answered a few general questions about public transportation accident claims:
1. Who Might Be Liable for a Public Transportation Accident?
Although various government agencies are typically responsible for operating public transportation, the applicable city or state entity is not the only party that might be liable for these accidents. Other potentially liable parties include:
- The vehicle’s maintenance contractor;
- The vehicle’s manufacturer; and
- The operators of any other vehicles that were involved in the crash.
2. How Is Suing a Government Entity Different from Suing a Private Citizen?
There are some key differences between accident claims involving government entities and those involving private citizens. For example, the typical statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits against private citizens is four years; however, the lawsuit filing deadline is just three years in cases against government agencies. Additionally, claimants must provide written notice to the applicable government agency well in advance so the required 180-day investigation can take place before the lawsuit can be filed.
3. What Should I Do Following a Public Transportation Accident?
If you are injured in a bus, rail, or ferry accident, the steps you take in the immediate aftermath—and over the days and weeks that follow—could end up making or breaking your case. Critical steps include:
- Photographing the scene;
- Gathering the names and phone numbers of any other passengers and eyewitnesses;
- Seeking medical care in a timely manner; and
- Following your doctor’s orders.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, it’s wise to seek legal counsel. Although it’s possible to file a claim against a major transportation provider on your own, a seasoned attorney can help you avoid critical mistakes and ensure you’re treated fairly. Your lawyer will:
- Conduct a thorough investigation;
- Gather evidence of liability;
- Obtain statements from other victims and/or eyewitnesses;
- Handle all correspondence with the opposing party;
- Track your damages;
- Handle settlement negotiations; and
- Prepare your case for court if necessary.