Considering that hundreds of millions of rides are provided by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) annually, it’s not much of a surprise that sometimes people get hurt in transit. There are major differences in seeking compensation from the Transportation Authority and a standard at-fault driver, however. Even if you’ve handled an auto collision claim on your own before, you need a skilled personal injury attorney when dealing with an organization like SEPTA that is governed by different rules.
How a SEPTA Case Differs
It is critical to understand that the clock starts ticking as soon as your accident occurs. You have two years to bring a case against SEPTA, however, there’s a major catch here that doesn’t apply to a standard car crash. Due to SETPA’s status as a government agency, you are legally required to provide a notice of intent that you plan to file a lawsuit.
That notice must be brought within a strict six-month deadline of the date of your injury. Going beyond that date can see your case tossed out and your right to compensation completely denied.
There is also a second, but equally important, difference to understand. For a case to be successful, the SEPTA vehicle must be technically classified as “in-operation” at the time of your injury. That means the vehicle must have been moving and not just idling at a pickup point, which can create legal hurdles.
Why You Need an Attorney for a SEPTA Case
Both of those differences highlight why it's important to consult an attorney if you were hurt on a SEPTA route. In addition to filing within the deadline, personal injury lawyers can potentially get around that last requirement.
For instance, a lawyer may be able to show that a sudden stop was considered legally “extraordinary” and directly caused your injury, or prove that poor maintenance or faulty parts were responsible for an injury while the vehicle idled.
Whether you were struck by a SEPTA vehicle or injured while riding as a passenger, an attorney can gather crucial evidence to prove your case, such as:
- Video from the surveillance devices installed on all SEPTA buses
- Eyewitness testimony from other passengers or bystanders who saw the incident
- Medical documentation showing your injury was caused by the accident
- Other sources including accident reconstruction, vehicle maintenance, or medical experts
Did You Suffer an Injury on a SEPTA Vehicle?
Because of these key differences from standard car crashes, SEPTA claims are best presented by an attorney with knowledge of how the Transportation Authority operates. Having a lawyer handle your communication also makes insurance carriers and SEPTA itself more likely to settle a case.
If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident, set up a consultation today to discuss your case or sign up for our newsletter for more information on the challenges in SEPTA cases and how to overcome them.