Riding on public transportation like buses can be more affordable, better for the environment and more than 10 times safer than driving a car. Despite these benefits though, accidents can happen.
While we hope you haven't been injured in a private tour bus or public transportation accident, if this did happen to you, don't worry. Accident.com can help you understand how your state’s or city’s laws may affect your claim and what to expect once you’re ready to seek compensation.
Injuries From a Public Transportation Accident and Common Carrier Laws
When you're driving your car, you have a duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws. For public transportation operators, this duty is even greater. Not only do they need to follow the law, but they also need to make sure your trip is as safe as possible. In some states, this duty applies even when a crash doesn't cause an injury.
The higher standard of care for public transit operators might sound like great news for your injury claim. However, these “common carrier” laws can also have limits that reduce both the time you have to get compensation and the amount you can get.
Your time limit for telling the government about a public transportation injury depends on where you were injured. The time limit may be shorter than the limits that apply to private companies or individuals. For example, your time limit for filing a claim with the City of Austin is 45 days. You have 90 days to file a claim with the City of New York.
There may even be time limits for getting any extra information the government needs to decide if they're liable for your injury. Governments can restrict what forms you use and the method of your claim filing too. If they reject your injury claim, there could also be a short deadline for filing a lawsuit to question their decision.
Besides time limits, there are often monetary limits on what you can get for an injury from a public transportation accident. Compensation may be limited to $100,000 in some areas, but the actual amount can vary based on what city or state is responsible for your injury.
Acting quickly is important with public transportation injury claims because of these limits. So, be sure to get prompt medical treatment (even if you feel okay now) and a free consultation with an Accident.com injury lawyer. Both of these actions can help you get the right information and review your options for pursuing compensation before time runs out.
Private Transportation Injuries and Group Settlements
Private companies such as Greyhound, Peter Pan and Trailways own tour buses and charter buses. These companies may still be held to the same standard of care as a government agency. However, the company’s commercial insurance policy will cover your injury claim instead of the government, so the time limits that apply to a public transportation accident might not apply to your injury. Still, it's important to get quick medical help and review your options to get the compensation you deserve.
Tour bus companies must hold a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. The amount can be as low as $500,000 or up in the millions depending on the state. Some policies handle injury claims differently than a typical auto policy would. Instead of individual settlements, they'll divide a large settlement evenly among all passengers who were on the bus during the accident. While this method could result in a fair payout, it could also negatively impact passengers who were more badly hurt in the accident.
If you file a claim against a commercial policy, don't provide information about the accident or your injury with any third party who might have conflicting interests. While liability might be clear to you, any details you provide could affect the outcome of your claim.
The laws on injuries from a public transportation accident can be hard to navigate, and the time to file your injury claim could be running short. For these reasons, it’s important to speak with an injury attorney so you can explore your options. Accident.com offers a free consultation with a nationwide network of injury attorneys who have the experience and knowledge you need to review your injury claim and maximize your recovery.