If you are involved in a public transport accident, you can recover unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In Pennsylvania, the legislature has set a limit of $250,000 on how much you can recover from a Commonwealth agency, and $500,000 on how much you can recover from a local agency. The suit would typically be against the municipal transportation agency, but you can also sue the particular bus or train operator. In almost all instances, the municipal agency is ultimately going to be responsible for the behavior and conduct of the bus operator. So, ultimately, the defendant is the municipal agency. If the agency in question is considered a local agency, in order to recover for pain and suffering damages the injured party must have sustained a “permanent loss of bodily function”.
Is Contributory Negligence Ever A Factor In These Cases?
Contributory negligence can be a factor in these cases if there is a situation in which someone is struck by a bus, train or trolley while they’re walking or driving their own vehicle. There would have to be an investigation into whether or not that person was negligent, and if so, whether or not that negligence contributed to the accident. If we’re instead talking about a passenger on one of those vehicles, the issue of comparative negligence would really not come into play.
In Pennsylvania, the issue that is most significant for a passenger of a vehicle (like a bus or a trolley) is what’s called the Jerk and Jolt Doctrine, which means that the courts presume a certain amount of movement and jostling around on a bus, trolley or train. This is something that they would expect the passengers to understand. If there is a sudden start, unexpected stop, or a strange turn in the absence of an actual collision, then you would need to prove that that movement was extraordinarily unusual in order to recover against the municipal agency.
Are Public Transportation Accident Cases Harder Than Other Auto Accident Cases?
Public transportation accident cases are not always harder to win than other auto accidents. However, if the municipal agency is a local agency, as opposed to a commonwealth agency, you must show that there is a permanent loss of bodily function in order to recover for pain and suffering. Demonstrating this can be a hurdle in some cases. The aforementioned Jerk and Jolt Doctrine can be a hurdle if it’s just a single vehicle situation. Finally, under so-called governmental- or sovereign-immunity, claims can only be brought for injuries that result from the “operation” of the bus, trolley or train. Courts have interpreted that requirement to mean that the vehicle, or at least some portion of it (such as its doors) must be in motion at the time.
Why Is It Important To Hire An Experienced Attorney To Handle These Cases?
As noted above, there are specific requirements and particular rules that apply to suits against transportation agencies for accidents on busses, trolleys, trains, etc. An experienced attorney will be able to ensure that these stringent requirements are complied with, and that your case can be properly assessed. Because the same agencies tend to get sued a lot, it is helpful to have an attorney who has some knowledge about how the agencies work, what documents they have, when they have been compliant in producing all of their documents, when they’re playing games, and how they negotiate.
For more information on Damages In Public Transportation Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (215) 569-1212 today.