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Cochran Firm Blog, Philadelphia

Public Transportation Accidents

Public Transportation Accidents can sometimes be covered under personal injury law. Learn how to file a successful claim.

Public transportation is the most common way people get around in major cities in New Jersey, Maryland, California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. This form of transportation has many benefits, such as convenience and efficiency. However, as more people use these services, the risk of public transportation accidents also increases.

Furthermore, the top city that uses public transportation in the United States is New York City. In NYC the public transportation system moves the largest number of passengers on the subway with 1.7 billion riders in 2014 according to The Best Cities for Public Transportation.

Injuries can happen while riding buses, trains or even with transportation owned by a public transportation company, such as taxis or Uber. Additionally, drivers and pedestrians that are on the road or crossing the road are at risk of being involved in a public transportation accident.

In most cases of public transportation accidents and injuries, the person injured must prove that the public transportation company was at fault to win the case. The outcome is based on many different factors, but the main factor that’s considered in public transportation injury law is negligence.

How to determine fault?

While getting in an accident on a public transit where one or more persons are injured, determining liability can be very hard. It’s going to be even harder to pursue a case against a major transportation agency if you are the only person hurt among a group of people.

The general concept of proving negligence against a transportation system is similar to a standard car accident, but there are many added factors that make it more complex. In a car accident, if someone hits you or causes you to have an accident, it is fairly easy to determine who is at fault. On the other hand, considering incidents like hit and runs, reaching out to a Hit and run lawyer in Philadelphia might be crucial. In order to protect themselves from lawsuits, transportation companies have various safety regulations to prevent a potential auto accident lawsuit.

Proving Negligence

If you suspect that the main cause of your injury is due to the negligence of a public transportation company or the operator of a bus, train etc, here are some examples to help you determine whether you have a legitimate case or not.

If you are a frequent passenger on public transportation, you will notice warning signs posted throughout the vehicle and for sometimes seemingly silly things. These signs are placed for a reason: to protect the passengers and to protect themselves from potential lawsuits. If there is a clear warning to stay clear of a certain area and a passenger ignores the sign, the transportation company is not going to be at fault for an injury sustained. 

If the passenger was in no way at fault for their injuries, responsibility for the negligence can lie with one person or even a group of people. It isn’t necessarily the person who is in charge at the time or the most obvious person. An injury on public transportation could be caused by the driver or perhaps someone who didn’t inspect the vehicle properly. A driver who takes their hands off the wheel to adjust the seat could be considered negligent if someone is hurt during that time. A faulty part within the equipment or vehicle that causes an injury would be considered negligence at the fault of the inspector or the company as well. 

Common Carrier Law

Something to consider when pursuing a lawsuit against a public transportation company is the “common carrier law.” It’s heavily dependent on what state the accident occurs, but the majority of companies in most states are subject to what is known as the “common carrier” law. This law is an older legal terminology for people or businesses that provide public transportation for a fee. The meaning behind this law is to, in a sense, protect the public transit. The reason this law was placed in effect is to ensure that the public transportation system isn’t getting fined or sued daily for all the small things that could arise while someone is on public transit.

The common carrier law generally applies to buses, trains, trollies and sometimes taxis. Each state has a different common carrier law. Uber/Lyft’s etc may be included depending on which state you live in. Sometimes even school buses can fall under that category and even a private limousine company.

What to Do After Public Transportation Accidents

A large percentage of people don’t know the process of making a claim. There are many things you should do if you feel that you have been injured in a public transportation accident.

Firstly, you should seek medical attention if you are injured on a plane, train, bus, subway, etc. As soon as you are able to leave the site of the accident, it’s important to go straight to the doctor and be examined by a medical professional. The reason you want a medical examination by a professional is to document that you have been injured and have it in writing from a doctor should you decide to pursue a lawsuit.

If you were involved in an accident that happens on any of the modes of transportation discussed, chances are the company will reach out to the police to report the accident and talk to witnesses (people standing around to see if they saw what happened). However, if the company does not take action first, you will have to. Gather as much evidence as you can. It’s vital to make sure you keep a record of all the damages and injuries. Lastly, reach out to a truck accident lawyer to get a better understanding of your case and see what options you may have.

Contact Our Team

At The Cochran Firm, we have a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to help better serve you. Our team of personal injury lawyers is here to help you. With the years of acclaimed experience, let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a FREE no-obligation consultation at 1-800-THE-FIRM or chat with us now on our website to learn if you have a case and how we can help you.