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Injured on Public Transit? Here’s What You Need to Know

When you’re hurt on public transit it can be very embarrassing, as well as confusing. You’re sure that you deserve compensation, but you’re not sure how to go about filing a suit, or even if you can. Public transportation, including trains, buses, and subways, have different legal processes when it comes to personal injury claims.

If you’ve been hurt on public transit, you may be able to make a claim against the company running the line you were injured on. Let’s take a closer look at how the rules in public transit cases differ from standard personal injury claims.

“Common Carrier” Law

Like other personal injury cases, public transportation cases are still based on negligence. However, in some states, the public transportation company may be subject to the “common carrier” law. A common carrier is a dated legal term for the businesses or people that provide public transit. In addition to public trains, buses, trolleys, and metros, they also include taxis. They may even include private limos and school buses, depending on the state.

There is generally a higher degree of care required of common carriers than of average people when it comes to the wellbeing of passengers. The injured party hurt on public transit must still prove negligence on the side of the company in order to win a case. However, common carriers are inherently said to owe passengers even the highest degree of care in providing safe transportation methods in many dates.

The common carrier law means that these transportation companies are far easier to hold responsible for injuries that are suffered by passengers under their care. So even if someone slips and falls on a train platform, the transportation company in some states will be held responsible. It makes it far easier to demonstrate that such a duty of care existed in the first place.

Proving Negligence

Even with common carrier in place, as the injured party, you still will have to prove negligence. Perhaps you got hurt because a bus driver swerved unexpectedly and you were thrown to the floor.

Now, if the driver was swerving so as not to hit a child that ran out into the street, they would not be negligent, because they were exercising care in not hitting the child. However, if the accident happened because they were chatting with a passenger and not watching the road, they would be considered negligent.

Making a Claim

Unlike other lawsuits, there will almost always be notice deadlines and time deadlines for making claims against public transportation companies, as they are municipal or state agencies. The deadlines will differ from state to state, but you will likely have less than six months to notify a public transit company of the accident and its precise circumstances. There is also typically a statute of limitations, meaning the deadline for filing a lawsuit against the company is shortened.

If you’ve been hurt on public transit, it’s likely you need a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the complicated legal process ahead of you. We at Parrish DeVaughn Law Firm in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have plenty of experience dealing with such cases. Give us a call today.

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