In general, public transportation is a safe and cost-effective way to travel. When bus, train, taxi, and cable car accidents do take place, however, they tend to cause serious and life threatening injuries. If you are involved in a public transit accident and suffer an injury, you will likely qualify for benefits through the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Liability in Public Transportation Accidents
Many states, including California, are at-fault states. This means that the at-fault driver will face liability for the accidents and injuries he or she causes. Every driver is responsible for maintaining a reasonable duty of care on the roadways. As professional drivers and operators, public transportation employees face an increased duty of care when compared to passenger vehicle drivers. They must take reasonable steps to maintain their vehicles and keep travelers safe on the roadways.
Determining liability can help injured individuals understand the legal process for compensation. If a public transportation employee is at fault, a municipality or transportation company may be responsible for the resulting accident. If a passenger vehicle driver is at fault, his or her insurance may cover the resulting injuries. In some cases, accidents arise from auto defect. In these instances, an auto manufacturer or maintenance company may face liability for the accident.
When Public Transportation Organizations Are NOT Liable
For a public transportation agency to face liability, it must engage in negligent and unsafe activities. If, for instance, you stand up during your commute and fall down as a bus or train slows down for a traffic light, the transportation company and driver may not face liability. Travelers cannot hold public transportation organizations liable for their unsafe travel behaviors.
If you are concerned about liability in any public transportation injury incident, discuss the situation with a local legal advisor. Understanding liability can help you take appropriate steps after any transportation related incident.
What to Do After a Public Transportation Accident
After a public transportation accident, you can take steps to protect your right to compensation:
- Record the incident. Use your smartphone or a pen and paper to record as much as you can about the incident. Take pictures of your injuries and the accident scene. Write down witness information. Record responding offer details, and collect insurance information from all the drivers involved. When you can, write down as much about the accident as you can remember.
- Accept medical support. Whether you go to the hospital with emergency responders or schedule a visit with your primary care physician, always seek medical support. Some injuries will not cause immediate harm. Instead, they take days or weeks to cause serious and debilitating symptoms. Seek medical support to identify and treat injuries before they worsen.
- Talk to an attorney. Personal injury attorneys almost always offer free consultations. Take some time to discuss your situation with a firm known for handling public transportation accident cases. Discuss your legal options, ask questions, and determine the next steps in the case. In cases involving serious and debilitating injuries, a personal injury attorney can protect your rights to fair compensation.
A public transportation accident can change many lives overnight. Transportation insurers will start working immediately after an incident to reduce their liability and the payouts they make to accident victims. If an injury keeps you out of work, prevents you from engaging in normal daily activities, or requires ongoing treatment, you may have grounds for a negligence-based legal claim. Never accept an initial insurance settlement offer before you speak to a qualified legal representative. You deserve fair and full compensation for your suffering.