Septa does everything they can to defend/not pay money to people who fall on their buses. They have some help. Pennsylvania courts have “rigged” the law in their favor in order to make it more difficult to sue them if you fall in one of their buses.
Septa calls it the “jerk and jolt doctrine.” It says that Septa is only responsible for a fall on a bus if the jerk or stop of the bus was highly unusual and extraordinary. They use this as an excuse to deny most of the fall-down claims on buses. Attorneys who don’t handle a lot of Septa cases wind up dropping or losing the case. 

We Go All In To Fight SEPTA

Your lawyer must be prepared to go all in to fight Septa. If you pay your fare, and then fall before you get a chance to sit down, most times Septa will deny the claim. That is when you need to be aggressive. Septa has many video cameras on its buses. You have to request a copy of the video and let them know that if they don’t produce it, you’re going to take the case to court and convince a judge or jury that they are hiding the video because it shows evidence that your client should win the case.

Always Get The SEPTA Accident Report

You need to get the names of the other people that were on the bus. You must get a statement from them that shows how the jerk or stop affected them. If your client was by himself or herself, then you have to file suit and get the septa accident report which may identify the names of the other passengers on the bus.

We Won The Case Despite the Jerk and Jolt Doctrine

You need to figure out if there’s anything about your client that should’ve alerted the Septa bus driver that he or she needed special attention or more time to sit before the bus moved. I had a man coming to my office and said that he fell hurting himself and was taken to the hospital. Septa claims people called him and rudely denied his claim. They said the bus driver did nothing wrong and started moving the bus normally like he would for anyone else. However, my client wasn’t like anyone else. He previously lost all the fingers on both of his hands. When he got on the bus, he had a septa handicap placard and when he showed it to the bus driver could clearly see that he only had thumbs and not fingers. He didn’t have the ability to hold on to anything as he went back to his seat, and the driver pulled off (like he would for anyone else) and my client fell and injured himself. We were able to win the case, despite the jerk and jolt doctrine.