Airport shuttles, school buses, ferries, and pedicabs — these are some of the options which residents of the area use to get around the city and state. In a recent accident involving a school bus, a child was injured on Old Hammond Highway. This brings up a question about whether an injury claim can be made to a public transit provider. The simple answer is yes, but it may be a complicated process.
Unless a parent can make a claim against the carrier who was involved in the accident, or the automobile driver involved, they may have to pay the resulting medical bills on their own. Making an injury claim against a public transit provider is more complicated than dealing with a driver in a two-car accident, but that should not prevent a victim from seeking compensation.
Types of Claims Against Public Transit Providers
When a public transit vehicle is involved in an accident, there are specific types of claims which may be filed. This largely depends on the type of accident, how it occurred, and who was at fault. Some of the potential claims may include:
- Medical bills — an accident victim who suffered an injury while traveling on public transit could be entitled to claim their medical expenses.
- Property damage — if a victim was operating their car and was injured in an accident caused by a public source of transportation, they may be entitled to file a property damage claim.
- Pain and suffering — a claim may include pain and suffering as well as loss of enjoyment of activities or life when they have suffered an injury while using a public transit provider.
- Lost wages — when someone is out of work recovering from their injuries or is unable to return to work due to the injury which was suffered in an accident involving public transit, they can include this type of claim.
Depending on several factors, including the victim’s condition, there may be other types of claims which may be included in a demand for settlement.
Claim Types and When Claims May be Appropriate
Not every incident which occurs involving public transit is grounds for filing a claim. However, there are certain types of claims which may be made and times when a claim is appropriate. Some of these include:
- A victim’s car was involved in an accident with a public transit carrier and the carrier was at fault for the accident
- A passenger on a public transit carrier suffered an injury after an accident involving another vehicle
- A pedestrian is struck by a streetcar, bus, or other public transportation carrier
These are a few of the types of accidents in which a victim may have a claim against a public transit provider. As with any type of accident, a victim should seek medical attention following an accident whether or not they believe they have suffered an injury.
Steps to Launching a Successful Claim Against a Public Transit Carrier
Filing a claim against a public transit authority is a lot different than filing a claim against a driver of another vehicle. First, there are often shorter deadlines, employees such as the driver cannot be held personally liable under Louisiana statutes, the employer must be held accountable.
Some of the steps which must be taken include:
- Filing an incident report
- Having the information necessary to prove who was at fault
- Identifying all financial losses to value a claim accurately
- Filing a claim with the appropriate insurer
- Negotiating a settlement before the right to sue expires
In Louisiana, all claims against a government agency are handled through Sedgwick, including those involving public transit providers. First and third-party claims are handled through this system. This would be the system for filing an accident report and filing a claim. Once the claim has been filed, an insurance adjuster will reach out to the victim to request further information.
Like any personal injury case, there are certain requirements to establish liability. The primary ones are that the carrier owed the victim a duty of care, that the duty of care was breached, that the breach resulted in an injury, and that the injury resulted in a financial loss.
When anyone uses a public transit system, the duty of care is obvious. The person is paying a fee for using this transportation option and there is an expectation of arriving at their destination safely. When a transit driver fails in that duty by speeding or ignoring a traffic signal, they have breached their duty. If during that breach an accident occurred resulting in an injury the victim has a right to hold them accountable.
Potential Outcomes and Damages That Can Be Awarded
As with any personal injury claim, damages can vary significantly depending on a number of factors. While the maximum that an injury victim may collect is $500,000 this amount does not include lost wages or medical bills. An accident victim who has suffered an injury because of a public transit provider employees’ negligence should be held accountable for the losses a victim suffers. There may be some cases when not only the public transit carrier is liable for those losses, but others may also be liable. Some of these claims may be due to:
- Poor maintenance
- Poor hiring practices
- Failure to warn of hazards
- Improper signage
Each accident is different. Some victims suffer an injury on public transit because of unsafe conditions in the vehicle, others because a tire blew out, and others because another vehicle struck the bus in which they were a passenger. Regardless of the reasons for the accident, the victim has a right to not suffer financially as a result of an accident for which they bear no responsibility.
Protecting Victims Interests Following a Transit Accident
The simple answer is, yes, victims can file an injury claim against public transit providers. However, these claims are complicated and oftentimes, the best option for a victim is to seek legal help.
Since each accident is unique, it stands to reason that to pursue a claim that the conditions of the accident must be investigated, and fault must be determined. In some cases, this process can be complicated. Anyone who suffers an injury in an accident involving a public transit provider should consider contacting a public transit accident injury attorney as quickly as possible. Call the firm today at 504-526-2222 or contact us online so that you can set up a consultation.