I have a long history of success involving SEPTA accidents in Philadelphia and have dealt with insurance adjusters and their SEPTA accident lawyers for over thirty years. Looking back on one particular SEPTA accident case, during a jury trial, SEPTA had offered my client $100,000 to settle. At the time, my client was tired of the trial and wanted to return to her home in Puerto Rico. Against my advice, she told me she was willing to settle for $120,000, and SEPTA refused. Afterward, the client allowed me to continue trying the case in court. Two days later, the jury came back with a verdict of $1,500,000. This is one of the many accident cases that SEPTA remembers when I bring a new claim against the agency on behalf of one of my clients.
SEPTA Accident Procedure
The bus driver should provide you with a form that you can fill out after the SEPTA accident occurs. This will identify you as a passenger on the bus during the accident. The form comes with a duplicate. Fill out one, and give the bus driver a copy. A major setback that can delay the settlement of a case against SEPTA occurs when the agency has trouble identifying if you were actually on the bus when the SEPTA accident occurred. Unfortunately, very often people will either try to jump on the bus after it’s been involved in an accident or claim they were on the bus when they were not. SEPTA runs into this kind of fraud all of the time. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to fill out the form that the driver hands you immediately after the SEPTA accident. Make sure that if the bus driver does not voluntarily hand out a form, you ask for one. The form will ask for the following information:
- Name of bus driver. Get the bus driver’s name, and write down a detailed description of them. This should include as much information as possible but at the very least, sex, race, height, weight, and distinguishing features in case you need to identify him or her at some point.
- Bus and route you were on. Make a note of the time, bus number, and route number of the bus you were on.
- If there were witnesses. Try to collect the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses at the scene of the SEPTA accident.
Additionally, record contact information for some of the passengers on the bus, including names and phone numbers. This is particularly important if you are injured as a result of a sudden stop. There are special rules which apply to sudden stops on SEPTA buses. Basically, if you are claiming you are injured as a result of what appears to be a sudden stop, you can only make a claim for injuries if you can prove that the stop was unusual or extraordinary. This is known as the “jerk and jolt” rule. It’s not enough that you were thrown and injured as a result of the stop. You need to show that other passengers were also thrown and injured. Obviously, the best way to do that is to get the names and phone numbers of your fellow passengers. Having others who rode the bus explain the situation in an accurate way that is consistent with your version of the story will help your case a lot when you are presenting it.
Be Sure to Report Your SEPTA Accident Injury!
Report your injury to a healthcare provider immediately. If you feel it’s necessary, request transport to an emergency room. If you don’t think an emergency room is necessary, at least make an appointment to see your primary care physician or some other healthcare provider as soon as possible. In either case, tell the doctor what is bothering you and how and where you were hurt. In every SEPTA accident case, SEPTA requests and/or subpoenas copies of the victim’s medical records. If these records don’t indicate that you were injured on a SEPTA vehicle, the agency will delay or deny the claim, which will require extended litigation.
SEPTA is a state agency, and special rules apply that would not apply to you and me. If you fail to follow these rules, you will inevitably lose your case against SEPTA. Make sure you get an experienced Montgomery County SEPTA accident lawyer to handle your case. Even though SEPTA can be a very cheap and convenient way for thousands of people to travel around the city, we are all at risk when it comes to traffic accidents involving mass transit. There is an inherent danger for passengers riding in a vehicle without seat belts, especially when that vehicle is known for making continuous sudden stops.
The Heslin Law Firm has handled cases for the passengers of SEPTA vehicles and its drivers, as well as for pedestrians who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since SEPTA is considered a “common carrier,” under the law the agency is required to be held at a higher standard of care when dealing with the safety of its passengers. So, if the company fails to reach the required level of quality, it can be seen as negligent. Since SEPTA is a state agency and has immunity from certain suits, cases can become very difficult to present in court, and the success rate of these SEPTA claims have severely diminished.
Free Consultations for Personal Injury SEPTA Accident Victims
Getting representation from an experienced Delaware County SEPTA accident lawyer is very important when dealing with government agencies. The Heslin Law Firm has extensive experience with public transit cases and has obtained for its clients the financial compensation they deserve for more than 30 years. Let the professionals handle your SEPTA accident case today! If you have any questions, please contact Gary Heslin, our Philadelphia SEPTA accident lawyer for a free consultation.