How Are Public Transportation Accidents Different from Auto Accidents?

by Julien G. Lamothe

The average number of car accidents in the U.S. every year reaches six million. Accidents are a common occurrence on our roads, regardless of whether you’re driving your car or traveling on public transport. All vehicles are subject to the risk of accident or injury.

However, there are distinct legal differences between an auto accident and a public transportation accident. If you are involved in either kind, you’ll need to know the difference, know what to do, and know where to go for help.

Public Transportation Accidents

Statistically, public transportation is safer than traveling by car.

Many people are legally responsible for keeping passengers safe when using public transportation, including the driver and the company or governmental system that operates the vehicle. Common carrier law requires that the driver manages the vehicle in a way that maintains passenger safety and wellbeing. If an accident occurs, you might be able to sue the driver or owner under this law.

After a public transportation accident, you should seek medical treatment for your injuries and gather information about the accident. If you are injured, you can file a compensation claim or lawsuit, but first, you’ll need to determine who is liable. Depending on the circumstances, the liable party could be the driver, the company which operates the vehicle, or the governmental system.

Working with an experienced lawyer can ensure that you sue the correct party.

Auto Accidents

Auto accidents are subject to specific laws and legal guidelines. You, as the driver, have a duty of care to other drivers on the road. If you fail to uphold that duty, you can be held liable.

How you act after an accident can be used against you in an accident claim, so you want to ensure you respond smartly. After an accident, make sure you:

• Call 911 and file an official police report.
• Seek medical attention for any injuries.
• Gather essential information about the accident (e.g., license plate numbers, insurance information, driver’s license information, contact information for any witnesses, photographs of the damage, and where the accident occurred.)

After a car accident, you and your lawyer need to determine the amount of fault you hold. The accident may not have been your fault or you could hold all the blame. It could also be a combination of outside factors, your breach of duty, and the other driver’s breach of duty. In Louisiana, the percentage of fault you hold determines how much compensation you’ll receive.

Comparative Negligence

Louisiana has a pure comparative negligence law. Depending on your percentage of fault, your insurance may only offer partial coverage. However, even if you were partly at fault, you can still receive partial compensation from the other driver.

Who To Sue?

Louisiana is a “direct action” state. In most other states, an injured party can file a lawsuit against whoever caused the accident. Under the Louisiana Direct Action Statute, you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company of the other drivers involved in the accident.

Summing Up the Differences

There are several differences between getting in an accident when you’re using public transport versus driving an auto vehicle. Though some common sense rules apply regardless of the kind of accident, the target of the claim, and who can be held liable is variable.

Confused About What to Do Next?

If you’ve recently experienced a public transportation accident or auto accident, you can get the guidance and clarification you need from our team of experienced lawyers. Contact our law firm to schedule your free consultation.

Lamothe Law Firm Best Lawyers 2018
U.S. News Best Law Firm Badge
AV Preeminent Rating Badge
American Board of Trial Advocates
New Orleans Magazine top Lawyers
Super Lawyers Badge
National Association of Distinguished Counsel Top One Percent Badge
MultiMillion Dollar Advocates Forum Badge
National trial lawyers Badge
2018 CityBusiness Leadership in Law Award