Public Transportation Lawsuits

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Jul 16, 2021Fact Checked

If you have been injured in a public carrier accident aboard a bus, train, or plane then you may be able to receive compensation by filing an insurance claim against the carrier or pursuing legal action.  In either event, the process of recovering damages from a public carrier is likely to be long, complicated, and best managed by an attorney.

Public Carrier Claims and Lawsuits

If you are pursuing compensation for an injury suffered in a public carrier accident, you will need to prove that the carrier was negligent and responsible for your injuries.  Public carrier negligence is typically determined by laws regulating carriers that hold them to standards of safety and care.  Proving a public carrier violated regulations and caused your injuries can be difficult, so as you move forward with an insurance claim or a lawsuit for public carrier accident damages, take some helpful tips into account:

  • Keep Track of Evidence:  Immediately after a common carrier accident, you should make an effort to track all evidence that supports your injury claim.  Photos of the scene, medical records of your injury and treatment, witness statements, police reports, and every document pertaining to your injury are important.  If you are working with an attorney, you do not need to gather everything yourself, but be prepared to assist by pointing the lawyer in the right direction.
  • Provide Correct Notice:  Some common carriers require specific notice, filed within a certain time, of injuries suffered while using their services, and include these requirements in their transportation agreements. To determine whether such a notice is required and within what time, seek the advice of an attorney.
  • Watch What You Say:  Public carrier accidents are typically high dollar affairs and will involve investigations by insurance and legal professionals.  During the course of your public carrier insurance claim or lawsuit, you will be required to speak with parties representing the carrier and it is important that you speak carefully.  Anything you say can be used to diminish or deny your claim, so stick to the facts of the accident, don’t answer questions that aren’t asked, and consult an attorney if you are uncomfortable.
  • Keep In Touch With the Attorney:  If you hire a personal injury attorney, keep in contact with your lawyer throughout the process.  Attorneys manage the case, but you are responsible for the important decisions and need to keep yourself informed.  

Lawsuits and insurance claims against public carriers are complicated affairs, so consulting an attorney is a good course of action – particularly if you are seriously injured.  Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, and do not require you to sign an obligation after speaking with them.

Public Carrier Lawsuit Time Limit

Most states require that a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages be filed against a common carrier within a certain time period. This time period is called a statute of limitations. If a lawsuit is not brought within the time period specified by the statute of limitations, the injured party loses his right to sue and recover losses for his or her injuries. Most courts strictly apply the statute of limitations with only a few exceptions.

For example, California’s statute of limitations generally requires a personal injury action to be filed with the court within two years from the date the injury occurred. If you have been injured by a common carrier, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney right away to determine the appropriate statute of limitations which covers the filing of your complaint.

Lawsuit Against Government Owned Carriers

If the common carrier is a government-owned entity (i.e., owned by the federal, state, county or city government), there may be special notices that must be given within a certain time period to the government entity before filing a legal claim. The time limit and notice requirements are usually set forth within the local municipal regulations. Sometimes, the time limit in which to provide notice is very short, such as 30 to 60 days. An experienced attorney will be able to give you reliable information as to appropriate time limits and notice requirements.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

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