Public transportation ridership has increased by approximately 35 percent over the past two decades, nationwide. This increase is due to growing and more efficient ground transportation systems in place in many metropolitan areas and higher fuel costs making driving less affordable. In addition, environmental awareness has made public transit more appealing as a way of reducing carbon monoxide emissions. With more people relying on public transportation the number of accidents has risen in proportion. Florida, as a state, has mirrored these national statistics.
When one or more persons is injured in a public transportation accident, determining liability can be a great deal more complex than with a car accident. Injuries can also occur in many different ways to persons on the bus or train, in an area used by the transportation company, or as a driver or pedestrian on a public road or sidewalk. The sheer size of most public transportation vehicles can also cause a much greater amount of damage than a car. Types of public transportation include passenger trains, light rail, buses, van pools, taxis, ferries and aircraft.
In an accident involving public transportation, fault can lie with one or more parties. Some of the causes of public transportation accidents can be:
- Driver or operator negligence
- Lack of safety procedures or equipment
- Lack of training
- Other drivers
- Other passengers
- Road or track hazards
- Defective equipment
Common Carrier Safety
In Florida, businesses and government agencies that operate public transportation vehicles are considered common carriers. They are responsible for, and assumed to provide, safety over and above what is considered “reasonable.” People rely on them daily and they are entrusted to provide high safety standards. Negligence by a common carrier in Florida is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1000 fine.
Claims Against Public Agencies
A large percentage of the Florida public transportation system is owned and operated by county and municipal governments. The Florida Tort Claims Act permits people to file suit against municipal and county governments for injuries received in a public transportation accident. That is provided they follow certain protocol. The law places a four year time limit on filing a case and restricts the amount of damages and legal costs that the injured party can receive. In addition, if a person filed a claim, in the same accident, with their health insurance provider for medical expenses, the provider may try to claim part of any settlement received.
Your Public Transportation Accident Attorney
Determining liability in a mass transit accident injury case can be a very complex and arduous procedure. A crash, involving the public transportation vehicle, may have one or several contributing factors with negligence involved. An experienced public transportation accident attorney can reconstruct the events leading up to the accident and determine the true cause and responsibility.
Dolman Law has the attorneys on staff with the experience to successfully sue all parties who are negligent in a public transportation accident. If you, or someone your care about, received injuries while riding public transportation, or were injured by a public transportation vehicle, contact Dolman Law today. You deserve to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Dolman Law has the resources to fund your case until you win. A free consultation is waiting, but you need to call today while the facts are still clear.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765