How to Sue for a Bus Accident Injury in Massachusetts
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 legal liability for the transportation provider. In these situations, victims may file a lawsuit against the entity that is responsible.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident in Boston, please call the Boston bus accident injury lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at your earliest convenience. We can provide you with an evaluation of your case free of charge the first time that you call. To hear more, you can reach us at our offices at (617) 925-6407.
Determining Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident Injury Lawsuit in Massachusetts
To bring an effective personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff must show that the defendant named in the lawsuit was at fault for causing the plaintiff’s injuries. Typically, these allegations suggest that the defendant was somehow negligent.
Many parties may be liable for bus accident injuries due to negligence. The key for your lawsuit is determining who was at fault in your situation and how. Our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers can assist you in these efforts.
As a starting point, you should consider how the bus driver may have been negligent. Bus drivers have a duty to their passengers and other people on the road to drive carefully and safely while obeying all rules of the road. If the bus driver caused an accident by accelerating through a yellow light, for example, the bus driver (and, by proxy, their employer) will likely be liable for the accident.
The employer may also be liable for their hiring and safety practices. If the bus company fails to screen for DUIs on a driver’s record or lacks a proper training program for their drivers, they may be directly negligent for any harms that might foreseeably follow.
You can even file a lawsuit if the bus driver was not the one that caused the accident. If you were a passenger on a bus that was hit by a negligent driver in an ordinary passenger vehicle, you can sue that driver and recover from their insurance provider for your injuries.
Can You Sue the Government for a Massachusetts Bus Accident?
Even if your accident involved a bus that was owned or operated by a government entity, you still may file a lawsuit against the government to pursue compensation for your injuries. You should be aware, however, that these situations are a little more complicated because of a legal concept known as 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.
Suing 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.
Common Bus Accident Injuries in Massachusetts
When you get injured in a bus accident in Massachusetts, you might not even realize it until later. This is why it is so important that you always visit the emergency room and get a thorough medical evaluation after any type of accident. Without this necessary step, conditions such as the ones featured below may go undetected and you may hurt your chances to seek recovery for them.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are a number of different types of traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, that may occur as a result of the violent force created by a bus accident. Not all TBIs present the same way. In fact, many will not produce symptoms for several days or even weeks after a person sustains one. A common type of TBI is a concussion, which is created by bruising or swelling of the brain. People who suffer concussions often experience symptoms like slurred speech, sensitivity to light, and nausea. If you are experiencing any of these or other strange symptoms after a bus accident in Massachusetts, get a thorough medical assessment as soon as possible.
Internal bleeding may result from a number of other injuries sustained in a bus accident. One of the most common causes of internal bleeding is fractured ribs. Internal bleeding is very difficult to detect without medical assessment and has the potential to become more serious or even life-threatening without treatment.
You may have heard about whiplash, but you might not recognize it when it happens to you. Whiplash is a soreness or stiffening to the muscles around the neck resulting from strains caused by undue force. While mild cases may resolve themselves over time, whiplash may require extensive physical therapy combined with medication to return the victim to their ordinary range of motion.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit for Bus Accident Injuries in Massachusetts?
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, potential injury plaintiffs are bound by the statute of limitations to file their claim within a certain period of time. For bus accident injury lawsuits, that time period runs for three years from the date that the victim sustained their injuries. If you fail to file your lawsuit within three years of your accident, you will likely be barred from recovery.
In situations where the defendant is a government entity, you will face additional notice requirements that you must meet in order to succeed in your lawsuit. These notice requirements change depending on which government entity you plan to name in your lawsuit. Fortunately, our Cambridge personal injury attorneys are well aware of the various notice requirements in the area and can help you satisfy your legal duty to notify the defendant in your lawsuit if you call us in time, so don’t wait to act on your claim.
Speak to a Massachusetts Bus Accident Injury Attorney Today About How You Can File Your Lawsuit
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 Wakefield personal injury lawyers have the knowledge necessary to navigate claims against the city, state, or private entities based on our client’s unique needs. Give us a call at (617) 925-6407 to learn more about your legal options or to obtain a free initial case review.