Recently a San Francisco women was awarded a $15 million dollar settlement after she was injured while riding an AC Transit Bus. She fractured her spine when bus she was riding sped over a speed bump at 30mph in a 15 mph zone. KPIX-TV of San Francisco reported that the bump caused her to fly in the air and land hard back on her seat and the whole incident was caught on the buses surveillance camera.
This is just one of many cases that have recently involved personal injury on a bus. If you happen to get injured while riding a bus, consider these five legal points:
1. Was the bus private or public? Determining whether the bus is public or private will change your path considerably. There are different approaches when suing the government compared to a private business.
2. A “notice of claim” is required for lawsuits against public entities. If the defendant is a public agency, you will file a Tort Claim. The requirements will vary state to state, but the guidelines will have to be followed closely. Usually the government must be given notice within a certain time frame or you case can be voided.
3. There may be a cap on damages for injury. Depending on the laws of your state, you may only get a portion of what you sued for. If the state has a cap of $500,000 (like Pennsylvania does), your $14 million claim won’t do you much good beyond the cap.
4. The manufacturer may be liable. If your injury is related to mechanical failure, you may also be able to file a claim for defective manufacturing against the company who manufactured the bus.
5. Buses are “common carriers.” Because buses carry people or goods from point A to point B, they have a high standard of safety they must strictly follow.
If you are involved in an accident while riding a bus, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to talk about your case. Only an experienced accident attorney will be able to answer your question and make sure you are not taking any actions that may hurt your case.
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