Dedicated to the pursuit of justice

What To Do If You’re Injured On Public Transportation

August 9, 2022 Car Accidents

If you get injured while on public transportation—such as a bus, train, or subway, the carrier may be liable. These companies are bound by common carrier laws, which means they have a higher duty of care to ensure passengers are safe. As a result, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Step to Take

  1. Get immediate medical attention. If you are severely injured, call 911. Emergency medical responders will arrive to treat you. If your injuries seem minor, see a doctor as soon as possible after leaving the scene. 
  2. Notify the police. Depending on your unique situation and the severity of your injury, it may be in your best interests to notify the police. An officer will come and create an accident report that can be crucial to your insurance claim. 
  3. Report the injury. Notify the driver, operator, or employee about the incident and let them know you are injured. Ask that an incident report be made and let them know you would like a copy. When giving details about the injury, stick to the facts and avoid discussing fault. 
  4. Document the scene: Take photos or videos of where the injury took place, the hazard that caused it, the surrounding area, and your injuries. There may also be surveillance footage that you can request. 
  5. Speak to witnesses. If anyone saw your injury occur, ask for their contact information and if they will make a recorded statement on your phone. 
  6. Hire a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer. Your lawyer can connect you to medical specialists that will provide you with the care you deserve. They will also immediately begin investigating your accident to collect evidence that supports your claim, determine liable parties, and deal with the insurance company on your behalf to obtain fair compensation.

“Common Carrier” Law

San Diego personal injury lawyer

Public transportation companies and their employees are held to a higher standard of care. If the company or an employee fails to exercise the level of care expected under the law, they can be held liable for any resulting injuries and losses. Part of that duty also involves: 

  • Regularly inspecting and maintaining the safety of their vehicles and equipment. 
  • Performing background checks on potential employees before hiring them (e.g., accident history, traffic violations, substance abuse, etc.). 
  • Providing proper safety and driver training to drivers and operators.  
  • Exercising reasonable care to protect passengers from potential harm by a third party. 
  • Creating realistic schedules that encourage drivers and operators to refrain from engaging in reckless behaviors to meet strict timelines. 
  • Warning passengers of potential hazards. 

Injury claims are often successful against public transportation companies because of the very high standard of care they owe passengers. However, when an accident occurs, you still must be able to prove that the common carrier breached their duty of care and that the violation directly caused your injuries, which resulted in financial and/or personal losses. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Public Transportation Injury Claim?

In California, you have only six months to file a claim after a public transportation injury. The claim must be filed with the corresponding transit authority, for instance, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). If the transit authority does not address your claim, you have two years from the date of the injury to pursue a lawsuit. If you fail to meet these deadlines, you will lose your right to recover compensation.