Among the largest and most frequently traveled transit systems in the nation, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is an integral part of the state’s infrastructure. While many passengers take trolleys, busses, and trains every day without any problem, the system isn’t without serious dangers. Distracted or tired drivers, broken down vehicles, and even improperly maintained walkways have all caused devastating injuries that could have been avoided.
Common SEPTA Accident Injuries in Philadelphia
With hundreds of millions of fares completed every year, perhaps it isn’t surprising that people are injured on SEPTA rides. Due to the high volume of passengers and extremely wide range of vehicle types, collisions are obviously going to happen eventually. That’s when a SEPTA injury attorney becomes incredibly important. Heslin Law Firm has a strong track record of fighting for the legal rights of victims in:
Whether you were a passenger during a train derailment, directly struck by a SEPTA bus, or were harmed on Transportation Authority property, you may end up dealing with:
- Back and neck problems
- Bone fractures
- Disfigurement, lacerations, and amputations
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
All of these possible injury types from a SEPTA crash can directly interfere with your ability to work a regular job and leave you with huge bills and long-term physical or emotional issues. Contacting an attorney quickly is paramount to protecting yourself and recovering damages to remain afloat financially after the accident.
How to Proceed After Suffering an Injury Due to SEPTA’s Negligence
There are unique challenges and pitfalls standing in the way of receiving compensation in SEPTA cases, even when the driver is clearly at fault. While you may think of SEPTA solely as a transportation provider, as a state-run government agency it has a different legal status than a taxi or cargo truck company.
As a common carrier, SEPTA is held to a high legal standard of safety to protect passengers. However, as a government agency, SEPTA also has sovereign immunity that shields it from litigation. That immunity can be overcome in specific exceptions with the help of an attorney. In particular, a lawyer will need to help you handle issues like:
- “In operation” requirements. In most cases, a SEPTA vehicle has to actually be moving for the driver to be held liable for your injury. It can be difficult to obtain compensation if the vehicle was stopped when you were hurt. There are instances where this can be overruled due to clear negligence, such as broken steps or if the driver closes the door on a passenger.
- Jerk and jolt doctrine. Pennsylvania courts maintain that being thrown when a bus suddenly stops moving doesn’t immediately entitle you to compensation, because the vehicle is expected to stop and start frequently. If you were hurt when a bus slammed to a stop, you need to provide evidence that the jolting stop was “extraordinary” and outside the realm of normal operations.
- Statute of limitations. Written notice of your intent to file a lawsuit must be provided to SEPTA within six months of the accident. If that notice isn’t crafted properly and delivered on time, a lawsuit against SEPTA will be dismissed.
We’ve seen the severe damage suffered in SEPTA accidents first hand, which is why we are passionate about helping victims recover damages. Depending on how you were injured, you may be able to seek compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional damage. Our team operates on a contingency fee basis in SEPTA cases, so you can afford to hire an attorney to protect your legal rights and hold the negligent driver responsible.
Achieving a positive outcome is more likely if you take the right steps immediately following a bus or tram injury. If you remain conscious after the accident and aren’t immediately transported to the hospital, you should always:
- Ask for an incident report from the driver
- Get details on the driver’s name and the bus, train, or trolley route
- Notify law enforcement so they can investigate the accident
- Take photos and video of the scene
- Talk to witnesses and gather their contact information
- Visit the emergency room or a walk-in clinic as soon as possible
- Schedule a consultation with an attorney
Our Experienced SEPTA Litigation Team Wants to Help Protect Your Legal Rights
When you or a family member were harmed by SEPTA’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney who has successfully handled this type of case and knows what it takes to deal with the legal complexities. Don’t wait to get help. Call Heslin Law Firm today to set up a consultation.