Public transportation is meant to make our lives easier. It is a convenient way to commute around town when parking is a hassle or driving is not possible. As a cost-effective way to travel, the Metro and train system around San Diego is a lifesaver for many. But public transportation is not immune from accidents. Train and metro accidents happen all the time. What is the recourse for the parties responsible?
Personal Injury Claims and Public Transit in El Cajon, Chula Vista, and La Mesa
The first step in successfully pursuing a settlement from a personal injury case is determining who is liable for the damages. In some cases, identifying the guilty party is cut-and-dry, but in the case of public transportation, determining liability is a little trickier. Public transit accidents are subject to what is known as common carrier law. “Common carriers” is simply a term for public transportation avenues like buses and trains.
These vehicles are held to a higher duty of care than a typical driver. In other words, the operator of a common carrier must make a reasonable effort to keep passengers safe, but this effort is more than what is expected of an average driver. If a common carrier operator fails to adhere to this higher standard of care, it is considered negligent.
A common carrier may be found negligent in a few different scenarios:
- Failing to warn passengers of potentially dangerous conditions
- Operating a common carrier while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to adhere to the governing body’s rules or regulations
While a common carrier is expected to provide the highest level of care to their passengers, it is up to the plaintiff to successfully prove negligence if he or she wants a settlement.
Pursuing a Common Carrier Claim: Time Is of the Essence
Since common carriers are often employed by a government entity, the process for filing a personal injury claim is a little different. The statute of limitations is much shorter, and you generally only have six months to inform a public transportation company of your accident before pursuing a settlement. Public transportation entities also have lower caps on settlement amounts, so taking a proactive approach to your claim is best to achieve the outcome you are seeking.
Retain the Help of an Experienced Attorney
As you can see, the laws surrounding common carriers like trains in San Diego are complex and rely on strict deadlines. If you have been injured in an accident involving a Metro or train, your best course of action is to immediately retain the services of an experienced personal injury law firm.
Several roadblocks can diminish your chances of getting the settlement you deserve. For example, the simple act of sending your written statement to the wrong department can result in your claim being denied and the statute of limitations passing before you have a chance to act. At the law offices of Howard Kitay, we are familiar with the bureaucratic runaround and will not let paperwork get in the way of your fair settlement.
Our law offices have been representing the needs of serious accident victims in El Cajon and the San Diego area for over 20 years. We are more than just a group of lawyers and associates; we are impassioned advocates for the citizens in our community. We practice on the notion that our clients should never have to pay for someone else’s negligence.
If train and metro accidents caused injury in El Cajon, La Mesa or Chula Vista, we urge you to contact our office to set up a free case evaluation. A member of our team will listen to your story and advise your next steps—all at no cost to you. To speak with us about your San Diego train accident case, contact us today.