Serving hundreds of thousands of riders daily, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) can be incredibly helpful in getting where you need to go. Unfortunately, it is also responsible for frequent injuries.
Whether you are traveling via the regional rail, trolleys, or the bus system, an injury caused by SEPTA may have you out of work and wondering how you are going to get through the coming weeks.
While recovering from an injury, your medical costs and usual monthly household bills should be the least of your worries. That’s why you need an attorney to help hold the negligent party responsible for your financial damages.
Even if you have a valid case, compensation for your injury can be denied or delayed due to several common defenses SEPTA may use to avoid paying what you are owed.
Frequent SEPTA Defenses Against Paying Claims
Due to the lack of seatbelts, large blind spots, overall vehicle size, and occasional driver negligence, injuries are inevitably going to occur with SEPTA busses. Those injuries may be more serious than other types of car crashes due to the size of the vehicles. No matter the extent of your injury, by retaining a personal injury lawyer you have a better chance at receiving full compensation to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
To avoid personal injury liability, these are several of the most common ways SEPTA can attempt to delay or entirely deny paying for your injury:
- Running out the clock on the statute of limitations. First and foremost, it's important to know the statute of limitations is shorter for a SEPTA case than other types of vehicle collision personal injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania. You only have six months from the date of the injury to provide notice of your intent to file a lawsuit, which is why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
- Arguing the vehicle wasn’t technically “in operation” while stopped. If the SEPTA vehicle wasn’t “in operation” when the accident occurred, your claim may be invalid. Even if the key was in the ignition and vehicle was turned on, a SEPTA bus isn’t considered to be operating unless it is in motion. If you are injured while the bus is at a complete stop, such as when the driver is letting passengers on or off the vehicle, your claim can be denied. There are exceptions to this rule that are important to discuss with a skilled Philadelphia personal injury attorney, however, such as potentially defective vehicle parts or poor maintenance that may have caused the injury.
- Claiming a sudden stop doesn’t rise to the “extraordinary” level required for compensation. Many injuries onboard SEPTA property occur when a vehicle comes to a sudden stop, rather than actually colliding with a car or building. In these cases, the “jerk and jolt” doctrine can have a major impact on your ability to receive compensation. Under this rule, a sudden stop must be considered “extraordinary” for SEPTA to be held responsible for the injury, which is defined as an uncommon and unexpected stop in motion. What exactly is meant by an uncommon and unexpected stop is open to interpretation by a judge, which is why you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to help gather evidence to prove your claim is valid under the law.
Were You Hurt in a SEPTA Accident? Let Us Help!
Did you sustain an injury while riding a SEPTA vehicle, or were you struck by a negligent SEPTA driver while traveling in Philadelphia? Having an attorney represent you shows SEPTA you are serious about receiving compensation for your injury and makes the organization more likely to negotiate. With an attorney’s assistance, you can avoid receiving a lower settlement than you deserve.
Get in touch via the Heslin Law Firm online submission form to start a consultation to discuss your accident and how to potentially receive compensation for your injuries.