How do public transit accidents differ from other accidents?
If you are a car owner, you likely have some familiarity with how to file a claim if you are ever in an accident with another privately owned motor vehicle. But generally, most forms of public transportation are overseen or run by local or state governments. As such, if you are ever involved in an accident with a public transit bus or train, there is a different process you must go through when seeking compensation for damages.
For one thing, local governments may place caps on the amounts for which they can be held liable. Additionally, when pursuing compensation, an injury victim will usually need to file a "notice of claim." This notice must be filed within a certain time frame and for a specified amount, prior to the filing of a lawsuit.
One significant difference is that public transportation entities are what are known as common carriers. A common carrier is a professional transporter of passengers or goods. Drivers for common carriers must adhere to a higher level of standard of care when operating a vehicle. This means that they are expected to exhibit greater competency than the average person when operating their vehicles.
Therefore, if you are in an accident with a public transportation vehicle, you may be able to prove the operator was negligent if he or she did not meet the established standards of competency.
When seeking damages from a public transit company, it may be beneficial to have an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney on your side. The attorney could investigate the case to discover if the accident was due to negligence on behalf of the operator. The attorney could also help make sure you file all the requisite paperwork correctly and on time.