Getting hurt while riding public transportation like a bus can be scary and embarrassing. With everyone crowding around, paying attention, you feel mortified as well as injured. You also might wonder whether you have any recourse to get compensation for your injury.
The truth is, in most cases you can file suit to collect damages when you’re injured in this way, though you’ll need to prove negligence on the part of the carrier. Learn about your legal options when you’re hurt on public transit, including why it’s so vital to have the services of a qualified personal injury lawyer.
Common Carrier Laws
Most transportation companies, whether airlines, trains, buses, subways or cab companies are bound by what are known as Common Carrier laws. While we all have a certain degree of responsibility to protect one another’s well-being, this duty of care is heightened for transport groups. That means they must be even more careful than most to ensure the safety of their passengers.
This doesn’t mean, however, that a lawsuit against them is automatic. You’ll still need to prove negligence against them. For example, if you’re on a bus which swerves or brake slams because a child suddenly darts out into the street, the driver probably wasn’t being negligent. If, however, the driver was reading the newspaper and brake slams because they weren’t paying attention, negligence is going to be much easier to demonstrate.
In order to prove negligence and collect your settlement, you must establish three things. The first of these is that the carrier owed you a duty of care. This is the easiest to prove, as Common Carrier Law attaches and is assumed.
The second thing you have to prove is that the driver, operator or carrier company violated this duty of care through careless behavior that wasn’t in keeping with the way a reasonable person would act in a similar situation, and resulted in an accident. Finally, you must show that this accident was the cause of your injury.
The problems in filing damages against transportation companies come in the special procedures involved in the case. Many of these companies, you see, are municipal agencies and filing a claim against the state or federal government can be quite complicated.
There are strict deadlines, statutes of limitations and immunities involved when trying to sue the government. In addition, there are limits as to the maximum settlement you can receive. In Colorado, for example, there is a cap on damages of $350,000 for single claims.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
If you live in Colorado and have been hurt on public transit, the best way to ensure that your claim is heard and reviewed and that you get the full compensation to which you’re entitled is to secure the services of a qualified personal injury attorney.
At Heuser & Heuser, our attorneys have decades of combined experience in battling insurance companies, protecting the rights of victims, and helping injured people get justice for the injuries they suffer. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, just give us a call and tell us about your case at no charge.