Anytime you suffer an injury and it’s someone else’s fault you feel helpless, embarrassed and angry. When it happens on public transportation it can be even worse because you feel like the driver or operator should’ve been more careful, should be the best driver possible. You might even wonder if you’ve got any recourse to collect compensation for your injuries.
The truth is, it can be even easier to prove liability for a public transportation injury, but it can also be much more difficult to collect damages. It’s important to understand the legal statutes involved with these types of accidents so you can get the settlement to which you’re entitled. Explore your various legal options if you’re involved in an accident that leaves you hurt on public transit, and why a lawyer might be your best bet.
Understanding Common Carrier Laws
Public transportation services, from taxi cabs to jet airliners, all function under a concept known as Common Carrier Law. This law increases the responsibilities these services have to their clients. Essentially, everyone owes each other some duty of care in the sense that we’re responsible for not causing harm to each other. With transportation companies, this duty is increased.
That means it can be easier to prove liability. You must still, however, prove that someone was negligent somewhere along the way.
Proving Negligence when You’re Hurt on Public Transit
Negligence is essential to injury lawsuits. It’s the concept around which they revolve—the ability to demonstrate that someone else’s irresponsible actions or lack thereof caused your injury. There are three elements to proving negligence.
The first is that the defendant actually owed you the aforementioned duty of care. With public transportation companies, this is established by common carrier law. The second of these is that the company violated their responsibility by acting irresponsibly, and the third is that these actions were the cause of your injury.
Consider the case where you’re on a bus and standing up. Suddenly and out of nowhere, a dog dashes into the street right in front of the bus, something the driver never could’ve seen coming. He brake-slams to avoid hitting the dog and you fall and get hurt. It’s unlikely you can claim the driver of the bus was negligent. If, however, the bus driver was eating and drinking while talking to another passenger and wasn’t paying attention at the time, negligence could well come into play.
The Problem of Municipalities
The problem many people face when trying to sue a transportation agency is that many of them are under the auspices of local or regional government agencies, and government agencies enjoy immunity against many types of prosecution, or at the very least, cap limits on settlements. When you can sue, there are specific and strict requirements you have to follow.
That’s why when you’re hurt on public transit your best bet is to seek the services of a qualified West Virginia personal injury lawyer like the attorneys at Stewart Bell, PLLC. Get in touch with us today for more information and to discover how we can get you justice.