Buses are convenient, inexpensive, and for the most part safe modes of transportation throughout the United States. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority(MBTA) alone boasts over 114 million annual riders on buses and trolleys, and an additional 165 million heavy rail riders. With so many individuals relying on public transportation to get them to and from work, home, and errands safely, the operators, mechanics, and other transportation personnel have a duty to riders to keep them safe from carelessness or negligent actions. Failure to fulfill this duty may lead to accidents, which can in turn lead to legal liability for the transportation provider.
Understanding Governmental Immunity
Individuals in public service positions or governmental entities possess a defense to legal claims known as immunity. Immunity prevents such persons from being held individually liable in their capacity as a government employee, and allows them protection in the form of indemnification, which allows for reimbursement for any damages or expenses that arise from defending such actions. These are similar to the types of protections that police officers and prosecutors have while working in their official capacity enabling them to work without fearing prosecution for innocent mistakes.
These limitations do not mean that public employees cannot be sued. In fact, public employees are often sued in some cases successfully when they are found to have acted negligently, recklessly, or inappropriately during the course of their employment. In addition to the operator, a successful lawsuit may seek redress against a negligent designer, manufacturer, mechanic, or other individual that contributed to an accident that caused injury to an individual or group of people.
Private Transportation Companies
Private transportation companies can have additional entities that can be found liable in the event of an accident. While the vehicle designer, manufacturer, mechanic, or operator may still share responsibility, a private company may have a parent company or affiliates that can be also named in litigation. When a person purchases a bus ticket, they have often (inadvertently) agreed to some sort of contract which limits the bus company’s legal responsibility. While these contracts are not without merit, they often will not dismiss any legal claims arising out of an operator’s intentional conduct, negligence, or reckless action that causes harm to passengers. Do not simply assume that you cannot have recourse for your injuries simply because you agreed to certain terms. No one can use a contract whether signed or implied to remove liability due to intentional negligent conduct.
Boston Bus Accident Attorneys
Whether the injury you suffered was due to a product defect or plain negligence, and regardless of whether you were injured on a public or private bus or similar mode of transportation, you may be entitled to compensation. You may be eligible to recover wages you lost from being away from work, medical expenses, property damage, or even pain and suffering. There are many individuals who are hesitant to pursue legal claims out of fear they will not be able to sue a public entity or a large private company. John J. Sheehan urges you not to shy away from pursuing what you are entitled to by law. Our experienced bus accident litigation attorneys have the knowledge necessary to navigate claims against the city, state, or private entities based on our client’s unique needs. Please contact our Boston office to learn more about your legal options.