If you were injured while taking public transportation, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the company in charge of that line. Filing personal injury claims against public transportation systems differs from filing lawsuits for other personal injury cases. Take a look at what to expect if you’ve been hurt on public transit.
Common Carriers: Upholding a Higher Standard of Care
Common carriers include public transportation systems such as public buses, trolleys, trains and taxis. The general population is expected to provide a reasonable amount of care for others, but common carriers such as these are expected to provide an even higher standard of care.
For example, we are expected to drive the speed limit, but we often talk to our passengers while we drive. Bus drivers and other public transit employees are also expected to follow speed guidelines, but they are not allowed to talk to their passengers in order to provide the highest standard of care.
The Negligence Factor
Like other personal injury cases, if you are hurt on public transit, you still need to prove that the public transportation system was negligent in some way and that this negligence caused your injuries. This can be tricky in certain circumstances because of the higher standard of care common carriers are required to uphold.
To demonstrate, let’s say that your bus driver swerved unexpectedly causing you to fall and injure yourself. The bus driver may not have actually been negligent if they swerved because a young child ran into the street in front of them. However, if they swerved because they were conversing with another passenger, they may be found negligent.
Filing a Claim if You Were Hurt on Public Transit
Public transit companies are agencies of your local municipality or state, so filing a claim against them involves special laws. Many of these particular laws apply to the timing when you must notify the transportation company of and file your lawsuit against them.
If you’re going to file a personal injury lawsuit against a government agency like a transportation company, you often only have six months or less to notify the company in writing of the exact circumstances surrounding your accident. You may also experience a statute of limitations, which is a shorter deadline for filing your actual lawsuit against the company. Additionally, you must make sure that you are filing your lawsuit against the appropriate government entity and that your notice is delivered to the correct department. Failure in either of these can result in your claim being barred.
Another important factor to be aware of going into your case is that most states have limitations on the amount you can receive for your damages from government agencies. In some cases, this amount can be as low as or even lower than $100,000.
Consult a Professional Attorney
Because of the particular requirements involved in filing a case against a government entity, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case. If you were hurt on public transit near in the Chattanooga, TN area, contact one of the experts at McMahan Law Firm.