Public Transportation Accidents: Know Your Rights

The definition of public transport (also known as mass transit, public transit or public transportation) is any system or network of motorized or electric transport provided for citizens' use by a municipal government.

Stringent standards and regulations are in place to ensure riders' safety on public transportation, but nevertheless, accidents happen. Public transportation accidents result in roughly 18,000 injuries and 240 fatalities each year in the United States. About 80 of those fatalities are related to commuter or light rail systems, another 80 or so are bus-related and about 60 involve heavy rail transport. Around 12,000 injuries are linked to the bus systems, about 4,500 involve heavy rail lines, and roughly 1,250 are light rail-related.

It's vital that you act quickly to preserve your rights if you or loved ones have been injured in public transportation accidents. It's difficult to navigate the maze of liability law by yourself. Furthermore, transportation companies and municipal governments may dispute your claim. The longer you wait, the more evidence disappears and the harder time your attorney will have trying to build a case.

Legal Support For Injuries On Every Form Of Public Transit

Public transportation is provided, at taxpayers' expense, by cities and towns. Public transportation includes:

  • Municipal railways (BART, Caltrain)
  • Municipal bus and train services (Muni buses, trolley buses, streetcars, cable cars)
  • Passenger ferries
  • Elevators, escalators, and moving walkways
  • Transit operators and districts

State and federal laws require all public transportation authorities to exercise the greatest safety and precaution when transporting passengers to avoid public transportation accidents. Municipal transit agencies are obligated to maintain safe operating procedures and practices, keep to their schedules, carry a reasonable number of passengers, pick up and drop off passengers at the proper place, accommodate the elderly and the infirm, and properly maintenance their equipment. If a transit authority fails in any aspect of its duty, then it may be held liable for negligence in an accident.

Common causes of public transportation accidents include unsafe or poorly maintained roads; malfunctioning equipment; intoxication, negligence or recklessness on the part of the driver or operator of the vehicle; failure on the part of the driver or the carrier to follow adequate safety procedures (plus state and federal regulations); and poor weather conditions.

How The Belli Law Firm Can Help You

Navigating the labyrinth of public transportation law and class-action complaints by yourself is a daunting task. Often, multiple parties bear responsibility for an accident and there may be multiple victims as well, leaving you unsure of what your specific rights may be. If you've been injured in an accident related to public transportation — if, say, you were riding in a trolley that struck a motor vehicle because the driver wasn't paying attention or you were walking on the street and an intoxicated bus driver hit you — you should act quickly to preserve your rights as a victim and litigant.

The public transportation lawyers at The Belli Law Firm have years of experience with personal injury and accident injury cases — including cases in which the victim died and his or her relatives are now seeking justice and restitution. If you've been injured by a mass transit system or common carrier's recklessness or negligence, you're within your rights to sue for damages.

When you have been harmed, you need an experienced and aggressive law firm on your side. At The Belli Law Firm, our San Francisco Bay Area public transit accident attorneys understand how difficult the legal process can be for individuals and their families. We care about the challenges you and your family face and it shows. Call the personal injury attorneys at The Belli Law Firm today for a free initial consultation and a review of your case in our Mill Valley, California, office. Call us at 415-579-3136 or fill out our contact form.