Taking public transportation can be a lifesaver for a lot of people. Buses are invaluable for helping individuals reach their intended destination with little work and money involved. Like any form of transportation, there always runs the risk that you may be involved in an accident. Injuries can run the gamut from something as minor as soft tissue injuries, to serious head trauma. While you may still be able to recover for personal injuries, there are some differences between the laws that apply to most personal injury cases and public transportation companies.
The Common Carrier Law
For recovering damages in a personal injury suit, negligence must be proven. To prove negligence, a plaintiff must demonstrate that someone had breached their duty of care, which caused an accident that harmed the victim. While public transportation injury law is still based on negligence, in some states, public transportation is subject to common carrier law. Common carriers include buses, trains, and taxis. In some states, it also includes school buses and private limousine companies.
Under common carrier law, negligence must still be proven, but the duty of care that the carrier owes its passengers is elevated; some even say that carriers owe their passengers the very highest degree of care. This means that the carrier’s duty to act reasonably in taking care of its passengers is greater than the average person’s same duty.
In some states, this heightened duty only applies when the injury occurs while the bus is in operation, while in other states, this heightened duty of care extends to all situations. This means that this elevated duty would apply even in a situation where someone slips and falls at a bus station.
However, it is important to reiterate that negligence must still be proven to recover for any damages. It is not enough for someone to slip and fall at a bus station, the station owner must have been negligent. For instance, an individual who spills his or her drink and slips cannot recover from the bus company.
A Shortened Statute of Limitations
Public transportation companies, such as bus companies, are state or municipal agencies, where State Tort Acts apply to all claims brought against them. Under State Tort Acts, there are time and notice deadlines for filing claims. Though these deadlines are different from state to state, they may include the following:
- A short deadline of six months or less to notify the bus company in writing of exactly what transpired, including all the circumstances of the accident.
- A shorter deadline for filing suit against the bus company.
It is important to note that some states can be extremely strict with these requirements by barring recovery for something as simple as sending notice to the incorrect municipal office or government entity. Most states also have limits for how much someone can recover against state or municipal agencies. These limits often differ on a state-by-state basis, with some states capping damages at $100,000 or less.
Atlantic City Personal Injury Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Advocate for Victims of Bus Accidents
There are many important things to keep in mind when filing a claim against a bus company for injuries sustained due to its negligence. Because of this, it is extremely helpful to consult with an experienced Atlantic City personal injury lawyer at the D’Amato Law Firm. If you are in the Egg Harbor and Atlantic City, New Jersey area, let us help you. For a free consultation, call us today at 609-926-3300 or contact us online.