Most people trust that, when they board a city bus or other type of public transportation, they will arrive at their destination without injury. Public transportation can include a wide variety of transportation methods, such as buses, trains, planes, subways, cable cars cruise ships, and more. The question is, if you are injured in a public transportation accident, who should be held liable?
Who is responsible for public transportation accidents?
Determining responsibility for an accident involving public transportation can be very complicated. Why? Because in many cases, there are professional drivers, business owners or even government entities, insurance companies, and others. Regardless, whoever is sued will surely be well-equipped to defend the case and attempt to avoid liability.
The issue of passenger safety
The basic legal issue in a case involving public transportation is personal injury. Therefore, it will be necessary to prove that the responsible party was negligent in causing the accident and your injuries. The good news is, public carriers are held to the highest degree of care when transporting passengers from place to place. If you are able to prove that the transit company failed in that duty, they will likely be held liable for any of the resulting personal injuries a passenger suffered.
Liability for property damage
Public transportation companies can also be held liable for any property damage, which can include vehicles, carry-on items, and luggage. A case involving loss or damage to property is typically less complicated than those involving personal injuries. When you have only a property damage claim, it may be easier to work directly with the transportation company to perhaps settle your claim. Often, these companies will have comprehensive insurance policies that can reimburse you for your damages.
Roadway safety issues
In addition to injuries sustained while you are a passenger on some form of public transportation, there are also the accidents that involve other drivers on the roadway. There are many different situations where a public transportation operator could be held liable for collisions with other vehicles. The most common examples are the buses that share the road with other cars and trucks.
Legal issues that arise in public transportation cases
Many questions will arise following a public transportation accident case. Was the driver of the vehicle distracted, speeding, or disobeying traffic laws? Was the public transportation vehicle itself poorly maintained or in need of repair? Whatever the underlying cause, a collision with most public transportation vehicles will almost always have substantial consequences.
Public transportation accidents often result in serious injuries
Depending on the specifics of your accident, an extended stay in the hospital and extensive vehicle repair are likely. Many people also lose income as they are unable to return to your daily routine. In some very unfortunate circumstances, people lose their jobs due to such extended absences.
If you have questions regarding public transportation accidents, or any other personal injury issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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