FAQ: Transit Accident Injury Claims Info

Buses ● Trains ● Cable Cars ● Light Rail ● Taxis ● Ferries ● Shuttles

If you were hurt in an accident with a common carrier — a city bus, MUNI train, cable car, taxi or other public transit vehicle — the San Francisco personal injury firm of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger can help you find answers and financial recovery.

The San Francisco transportation-injury information below will be a useful starting point as you begin to explore your options. But it is not a substitute for accurate legal information that is specific to your case. Every case is different. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can explain how the law applies to you.

Contact Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger online or call us toll free at 1-415-906-3764. Put our experience to work for you.

California Public Transit Injury FAQs

Question: What types of vehicles are considered "common carriers"?

Answer: California law applies a rather broad definition to "common carriers." This is beneficial for injured people, as common carriers are required to use the "highest duty of care" in transporting passengers safely from one place to another. California courts have held that common carriers include buses, taxis, trains, LRVs, ferries, airplanes and even certain amusement park rides.

Question: What does it mean that drivers are required to use the "highest duty of care?"

Answer: This means that the public transit driver/operator must be especially careful in delivering passengers safely to their destinations. This obligation is different from the standard duty of care that requires that each of us act reasonably in our day-to-day affairs.

Question: Is there a special time frame within which I must bring my case if I was hurt on a city bus, train, ferry or other type of public transportation?

Answer: Yes, this is called the "statute of limitations." The general statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. HOWEVER, if you were hurt by a vehicle that is owned or operated by a public transit district or government entity, you are required by California Government Code to file a "tort claim" before you can file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for filing of a tort claim is 180 days following the accident. Failing to file the government tort claim within that time can bar you from ever bringing your lawsuit to Superior Court.

Question: Is the statute of limitations the same for children?

Answer: In most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is much longer when a child is injured. In the case of public transit accidents, however, the statute of limitations for children is the same as it is for adults. A child who is injured by MUNI Railway, SamTrans, Golden Gate Transit, Golden Gate Ferry, or other public transit system must file a government tort claim within 180 days of the date of injury.

Claims against government entities can be complicated and confusing. A California public transit injury attorney can explain all of the applicable rules to you. If you have sustained a serious injury, contact Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger or call toll free 1-415-906-3764 or 415-906-3764. We handle public transit accident claims across the Bay Area.