Between busses, trolleys, and trains, SEPTA operates a sprawling public transit network that many Pennsylvania residents and visitors rely upon every single day. You might be tempted to think commuter trains, elevated railways, and subways are a safer bet than busses or trolleys due to their limited movement range. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, as injuries and deaths on SEPTA rail lines still occur every year. If you were hurt on regional rail or a local train, an attorney can help protect your legal rights and assist in seeking financial recovery.
Philadelphia SEPTA Rail Accident Injuries
Although most commuters reach their destination without being hurt, injuries are more common than many SEPTA travelers realize. These injuries occur when the Transportation Authority fails to enact the proper safety precautions to protect passengers. That may involve rail conductors who don’t uphold the basic duty of care they are legally required to provide, or when SEPTA itself doesn’t properly maintain railways and stations.
Passenger injuries can occur due to complete train derailment, or riders may suffer serious harm when the train strikes objects, animals, people, or even other trains on the track. These collisions come with a high chance of permanent, life-altering injuries. Victims in SEPTA train accidents have suffered:
- Amputation/loss of limbs or fingers
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Nerve and soft tissue damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries such as concussion, coup-contrecoup impacts, or penetrating open wounds
SEPTA train accident victims are also often hurt when colliding with a wall if the vehicle starts or stops unexpectedly, or they can be injured by a malfunctioning door. Those aren’t the only ways that railway accidents occur, however. Pedestrians are also susceptible to injury in a rail station due to slip and fall caused by damaged infrastructure or other negligent safety hazards.
How You Can Hold SEPTA Responsible for Your Pain and Suffering
Serious accidents take place often enough that SEPTA sets aside a portion of its annual budget to pay out claims for injured passengers. Obviously, the Transportation Authority wants to keep that amount as low as possible, so victims are frequently provided an initial offer that is far less than deserved. An attorney helps ensure you get everything you are truly owed based on the severity and full impact of your injuries, such as:
- Economic damages for lost wages while recovering from the SEPTA rail injury
- Further economic damages in the future when the injury impacts long-term employment
- Medical costs for the emergency room visit and hospital stay
- Additional future medical bills for rehabilitation, therapy, and surgeries
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Mental anguish and emotional injuries like anxiety, PTSD, and severe depression
- Wrongful death if a loved one passed away in a SEPTA train accident
To increase your chances of a successful outcome, it is vital to take certain steps quickly. Unless you are suffering life-threatening injuries that require immediate attention, always take the time to fill out the incident form provided by the train operator. From there, it is also important to gather information about the driver as well as contact information for other passengers who witnessed the accident.
Taking pictures or videos of the accident’s aftermath also saves evidence that may be critical to recovering a full and fair settlement. While SEPTA vehicles are now equipped with cameras, they may not show every angle needed or cover areas that show the full story of what occurred.
Documenting your injuries should be your next course of action, typically by visiting the emergency room as soon as possible after the accident. You want to protect your health while creating a paper trail that links your injuries to the accident.
From there, the single most important step is seeking out an attorney. Personal injury cases involving SEPTA have a shorter statute of limitations than other lawsuits. Victims are legally required to file a notice of intent to bring a suit against SEPTA within six months of the accident date. Starting this process quickly is critical, as your lawyer needs time to investigate your injury and acquire compelling evidence it was caused by negligence.
Consult an Attorney After Any SEPTA Accident Injury
Because SEPTA is both a transportation provider and a government agency, there are stricter rules in place for train accident personal injury cases. You need an attorney with experience in SEPTA litigation to represent you and protect your legal rights. Get in touch with Heslin Law Firm to discuss your case and find out what steps to take next.