Using public transportation in Arizona comes with many benefits, including saving gas and helping the environment. It may not, however, be the safest mode of transportation if the vehicle and/or its driver is unreasonably dangerous. In 2017, 232 fatal traffic accidents involved buses in the U.S. Intercity buses accounted for 13% of all bus-related fatal accidents from 2007 to 2017. If you get into an accident involving public transportation, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the city for damages.
What Causes Public Transportation Accidents?
Every year, millions of people rely on Arizona’s public transportation system to get them where they need to go. It is up to the city to reasonably ensure the safety of its vehicles and drivers. A public transportation accident in Arizona could involve a public bus, train or the Valley Metro Rail. Most accidents are preventable with due care from the entity in charge. Negligence is the main factor behind most public transportation accidents in the state. A personal injury lawyer can investigate your bus accident and help you understand who or what caused the crash.
- Bus company negligence
- Negligent or distracted bus drivers
- Other negligent drivers
- Poor driver or employee training
- Unsafe or poorly maintained vehicles
- Slip/trip and fall hazards onboard
- Bus or train station hazards
- Vehicle defects
- Violent crime
As the victim of a personal injury caused by a public transportation company, you may have grounds to file a claim if the entity in charge reasonably should have prevented your injuries. Determining the precise cause of the accident will be a necessary step before you may file a claim. Multiple parties may have contributed to the accident, or else the city could be solely liable.
Starting the Claims Process
If your lawyer believes the city is responsible for causing your public transportation accident, your claim will look different from a typical motor vehicle accident lawsuit. Under the Arizona Tort Claims Act, a citizen can file a claim against the government if the entity or person who caused the accident would reasonably be liable for negligence if he or she had been acting independently. Filing a lawsuit against the city or state government comes with unique rules and requirements.
First, you or your lawyer must file a written claim with the government agency allegedly responsible for the public transportation car accident within 180 days of the accident. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to any financial compensation. The written notice must contain a description of the accident, how your injuries happened, how much compensation you are seeking and evidence to support your claim. The government entity then has 60 days to issue a response. If the entity does not respond, your lawyer may then take the case to court.
From there, the trial process will look much like any other traffic accident case in Arizona. It will be up to your lawyer to prove the public entity (or one of its employees, such as a bus driver) was negligent or reckless, and that this is what caused the bus accident. If an employee caused your accident, the city will be vicariously liable. Your lawyer will also need to prove that you suffered real, specific damages as a result of the defendant’s actions. Working with an attorney could improve your chances of successfully securing a settlement or verdict award.
A successful lawsuit against the city for a public transportation accident could result in payment for your medical costs, lost wages, property damages, legal fees, and pain and suffering. Your specific losses and the severity of your injuries will determine the potential value of your lawsuit. After a serious public transportation accident, retain an experienced injury attorney in Arizona to help you through the complex aspects of your case.