With more than 100 bus routes and hundreds of millions of fares completed every year, SEPTA is relied on by huge numbers of people to get around the Philadelphia area. Many passengers reach their destination and then head home without any incident, but sadly that isn’t the case with every ride. All it takes is one negligent driver failing to uphold their duty of care to completely upend your life.
How SEPTA Bus Injuries Occur
SEPTA accidents may involve pedestrians or bicyclists struck directly by a bus, or a car crash when a bus driver isn’t paying attention and doesn’t stop in time. In some cases, passengers can also be hurt on a bus if it stops unexpectedly and you are thrown from your seated or standing position. Any of these SEPTA accident varieties can be caused by:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Lack of proper bus maintenance
- Improper hiring and training practices
- Running a red light or failing to yield
- Speeding or other traffic violations
While SEPTA is often at fault in these situations, there are times when fault may lie with another party, such as a different driver on the road causing the collision in a multi-vehicle accident. An attorney can help in these cases by thoroughly investigating the incident and finding the best route towards your financial recovery.
Types of SEPTA Bus Accident Injuries
No matter how the accident occurred, injuries from a SEPTA bus collision can be severe—especially for pedestrians. Due to the large size of public transportation busses, accident victims may end up dealing with:
- Back injuries
- Bone fractures
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring
- Emotional issues like PTSD, depression, and anxiety
- Internal bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Vision problems from eye injuries
- Wrongful death
Steps to Take After a SEPTA Injury
When these types of public transportation accidents happen, you may find yourself in a precarious situation where you can’t work while dealing with a serious injury. If you are wondering how to pay the bills and get on with your life, there are several important steps to take to protect your legal right to compensation. For your best chance at holding the negligent party responsible and recovering damages, make sure to always:
- Fill out the incident report card provided by the bus driver.
- Note the driver’s name, bus route, and address where the accident took place.
- Take photos of the scene if possible.
- Gather contact information for eyewitnesses who were in the bus or on the street or sidewalk during the accident.
- Document your injuries by seeing a doctor as soon as possible.
- Avoid providing a recorded statement to the insurance company.
- Contact an attorney and let them handle communication with insurance and SEPTA.
An attorney’s help is critical in SEPTA cases, as public bus accidents in Philadelphia differ from standard vehicle collisions when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. There are special rules that don’t apply in a normal car crash due to SETPA’s status as a government organization run by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Specifically, you must provide notice of intent to sue SEPTA within a reduced timeframe, but that’s not the only pitfall an experienced attorney can help you navigate. SEPTA also uses what is known as the “jerk and jolt” doctrine, which can cause issues when seeking compensation if you were hurt while riding the bus. Under this rule, your attorney must show a sudden bus stop occurred under extraordinary circumstances you couldn’t have reasonably expected.
Whether the “jerk and jolt” rule applies to your case or not, your attorney will need to gather and present evidence proving your injury was caused by negligence. That may involve using video from inside the bus, eyewitness accounts, employment records, police reports, and testimony from experts about how the accident occurred and the impact it has on your life.
With that evidence in hand, your legal representative can seek damages for hospital bills, future medical costs if you require ongoing treatment, and lost wages from time away from work, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Don’t Wait to Talk to a Legal Professional After a SEPTA Bus Accident
Achieving financial recovery after a SEPTA collision depends on quickly getting assistance from a skilled lawyer who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law in Pennsylvania. Contact our office to set up a consultation and discuss the specifics of your case. We want to learn about your injury to find out if Heslin Law Firm is the best fit for your situation.