Fortunately, thousands of people safely utilize public transportation services on a daily basis. However, the unfortunate reality is that accidents can occur. When those accidents result in injuries, an individual may be faced with a personal injury claim.
Public transportation providers include many forms of transit, such as public or municipal transit authorities, taxis, commercial bus lines, air carriers, and even entertainment-focused services such as cruise ships, ski resorts, and amusement parks. As providers of a publicly-used service, the owners or managing entities of these services are responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of associated equipment, such as cars, buses, boats, ski lifts and rides. While the majority of individuals utilize these services on a daily basis with no threat or actual injury, accidents do occur and occasionally people are injured.
In the event of a transportation-related injury involving a single person, a claim may be required. As with other types of personal injury claims involving liability, it is the responsibility of the claimant to demonstrate some level of negligence leading to the accident and injury. This may involve demonstrating that fleet vehicles were not suitably or accurately repaired or inspected, that training was not sufficient for staff to safely and knowledgeably operate the equipment, or that through willful neglect of a situation, the defendant allowed the accident and injury to occur. This may require a discovery process orchestrated by your personal injury attorney.
In the case of larger-scale accidents, such as mass injuries on a public transit line, a cruise ship or on a specific ride or park attraction, a larger investigation may be conducted by an external entity (such as a safety bureau) in order to determine the exact cause of the accident. One aspect gaining increasing attention, for example, is operator error or misconduct: A public transit operator who causes and accident, for example, may be scrutinized for operating infractions such as the use of a personal device or mobile phone, a practice prohibited by most companies and public organizations that offer transportation services. In cases where a large number of people are injured or killed by the negligent actions of an individual or entity, the settlement process may be conducted in a group format similar to a class action.
Mass transit accidents vary widely in range and scope. Depending on the severity of the injuries sustained by passengers, fatalities caused as a result of the accident, and the number of affected individuals, settlements can be complex and may require significant time investment on the part of the attorney(s). While some passengers may have sustained only minor injuries, others may be more seriously affected. In many large-scale accidents, wrongful death suits also enter the scenario, in cases where a spouse or family member was killed as a result of the accident.
No matter the scope of your personal injury, (whether you are injured in a single instance or as a result of a catastrophic event) an attorney can guide you through the claims process. In the event of a class action, having legal counsel to help you understand your options and accurately represent the severity of your injuries can make a difference in the amount of compensation you receive.