Who is Responsible for Injuries Caused on Public Transportation?

by Julien G. Lamothe

Public transport usage in the US has increased by nearly a third over the last two decades. For many Americans, it’s the smart choice, as not only is it better for the environment, but statistically, it’s also ten times safer than traveling by car.

Unfortunately, accidents and injuries do still happen, and when they do, it is crucial to determine who is responsible for getting the compensation you need.

What Causes Accidents on Public Transport?

There are numerous causes for public transport accidents from driver fatigue or inexperience to external collisions. However, there are several other, less obvious causes that could potentially cause injury, including:

• Being hit by objects falling from overhead luggage racks
• Getting caught in mechanized doors
• Standing passengers falling due to reckless driving
• Tripping down the stairs of double-decker buses
• Injuries caused by poorly equipped entrance/exits

Don’t Underestimate Minor Injuries

Injuries sustained on public transport can be severe or life-threatening, such as head trauma or spinal cord damage due to a head-on collision. They can also be moderate or minor injuries such as a twisted ankle after a tumble due to unsafe driving. However, even minor injuries can have significant effects on the victim’s life.

A broken arm might sound innocuous, but the knock-on effects could significantly impact a person’s professional and personal life. Exorbitant medical fees from X-rays and hospital visits can put individuals and families under financial strain. Getting appropriate compensation for a public transport accident can make a huge difference to the victim, but it is necessary to identify who is responsible for receiving payment.

High Standards for Transit Companies

Common carriers are considered to be businesses that transport people or goods. These companies must adhere to stringent safety regulations, exercising a high standard of care for their passengers.

The Louisiana courts impose such standards on common carriers on account of the gravity of their responsibility to deliver passengers safely to their destinations and the passenger’s reliance on them to do so. Failing to reach these standards increases the risk of accidents and, in turn, makes the carrier subject to liability, should they occur.

The Division of Liability in Louisiana

However, Louisiana’s comparative fault law, which can be found under the Louisiana Civil Code Art. 2323, means that the claimant may be partially liable for their injuries. The law can reduce a plaintiff’s claim in proportion to the percentage of their fault in the accident.

That might sound like bad news for someone trying to claim compensation for an injury incurred while traveling on public transport, but the good news is that, even if it is determined that the claimant is 90% at fault for an accident, they are still eligible to recover some compensation.

Seek Medical Care

If you find yourself the victim of an accident on public transport, it’s vital to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. This not only ensures you get the treatment you need but also provides proof that establishes that the accident was the cause of your injury.

Many passengers wait to see a doctor often because of the adrenaline after the accident masks symptoms, but in doing so, they could negatively impact their chances of receiving compensation. The more time left between the incident and the discovery of any injuries, the more difficult it is to prove that they are linked.

Choose Lamothe Law Firm for Experienced Representation

Owing to the high standards to which common carriers are held, there is a good chance that their liability can be proven, regardless of whether the accident is caused by a negligent driver or an unsafe vehicle. However, there are often limitations, such as a short window to file notice of a claim against a public transit authority.

It’s essential to work with an attorney experienced in personal injury cases. If you have been injured on public transport, contact Lamothe Law Firm for a free consultation.

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