Who is Responsible for Injuries in an Accident With Public Transportation? How is Fault Determined?
Public transportation accidents happen more often than they should, often leaving numerous people injured as a result of a single crash. Not only do multiple people often sustain injuries in accidents involving public transportation, but these accident types can be particularly complicated when it comes to recovering compensation, especially when the driver of the public transportation was to blame for the crash. The following considers what you need to know about responsibility for injuries after a crash, including how fault is determined in a public transportation accident.
Determining Fault in an Accident With a Public Transport Vehicle
If you are involved in an accident with a public transport vehicle, determining fault for that accident is a crucial part of recovering the compensation that you are owed. Because South Carolina is a tort liability state, in order to recover damages for your injuries and losses, you must prove that another party is at fault.
It is best to work with an attorney who can help you to determine fault. If you were another driver in a crash (i.e. an accident involving your vehicle and a public bus), you will need to prove that you did not cause the accident through your own negligence. Witness reports, police reports, accident scene evidence, and more can all be used to do this.
If you were a passenger on a public transport vehicle (such as a passenger on a public bus) at the time of the accident, then there will probably be multiple parties who are interested in helping you to determine fault. The same sources of evidence listed above can be used.
Who is Responsible for My Injuries?
As mentioned above, accidents involving public transportation and the claims that follow are often especially complex. In an accident involving two passenger vehicles, the insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for a victim’s injuries. The victim also has the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver. This is also true in accidents involving vehicles of private companies, such as a taxicab; the victim can file a lawsuit against the company for damages.
In an accident involving a common carrier like a public bus, you still have the right to file a claim against the carrier’s insurance. However, drivers of public buses work for the government, as buses are owned by government entities. That means that if you want to file a lawsuit to recover compensation, you must follow the regulations for filing a claim against a government entity. Keep in mind that drivers of common carriers are protected from individual liability; their employers are liable in their place under the theory of respondeat superior.
While the South Carolina Tort Claims Act does allow for a claim to be filed against a government entity, there is a cap on the amount of damages a person can recover. To be sure, the act reads that no person shall recover a sum that is more than $300,000; in a single occurrence, the limit is $600,000, regardless of the number of claims or claimants. You will also need to file a notice of claim with the government entity in advance, a requirement that does not apply for personal injury claims involving private parties.
In some cases, a private party may be responsible for an accident involving public transportation. For example, another driver, or the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part may be to blame. When this is the case, you have the right to file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party for damages. You will also have the right to recover compensation for all losses, without a cap on compensatory damages.
Why You Need to Work With an Attorney
Accidents with public transportation vehicles are very complicated. While common carriers have a duty to operate their vehicles with the highest standard of care, this duty is often breached, and other drivers or passengers are harmed as a direct result.
If you have been involved in an accident involving any type of public transportation in South Carolina, it is important that you contact our public transportation accident attorneys at the Joye Law Firm. We know how to thoroughly investigate an accident, determine liability, and file a claim before it is too late. We also know how to prove damages and negotiate for a settlement amount that addresses the extent of your losses.
If you have questions, we have answers. To schedule a free case consultation with our talented injury attorneys, contact us today by phone or online. We are ready to work for you.