Public transportation accidents are accidents involving public airplanes, buses, trains, subway, taxis, and rideshare vehicles like Uber or Lyft. These accidents are taken more seriously than others since these vehicles hold more than one person, usually a mass group of people. If these public transportation vehicles, or “common carrier” vehicles, get involved in an accident, more than several people can get injured.
What are Common Carriers?
A common carrier is a type of transportation vehicle that transports one or more persons in exchange for money. Popular examples include Greyhound and Metro buses, airplanes, yellow taxis, and rideshare vehicles.
The Texas Supreme Court defines common carriers as:
“A common carrier is under a duty to exercise such a high degree of foresight as to possible dangers and such a high degree of prudence in guarding against them, as would be used by a very cautious, prudent, and competent man under the same or similar circumstances.”
Finding Negligence with Common Carrier Accidents
When proving negligence with regular motor vehicle drivers, lawyers look for “ordinary” and “reasonable” decisions. With a common carrier driver or operator, they must be “cautious,” “prudent,” and “competent.” It’s easier to determine who remains at fault when it comes to public transportation accidents.
The people who could be responsible for these wrecks including:
- The driver
- The owner of the common carrier
- The manufacturer of the common carrier*
- The company or individual who failed at maintenance of the common carrier
*These people are only liable if there are defective parts.
Unlike with typical motor vehicle accidents, determining fault may be difficult with public transportation accidents if the entity is owned by the state or municipality. Finding out whether the entity is public or private will help you in your public transportation accident case.
If the common carrier is owned by a government entity, restrictions may apply regarding these cases including:
- Statute of limitations
- A 180-day timeline for Texas
- A written notice of the lawsuit before filing the lawsuit.
Each state handles government entity lawsuits differently, and most time, they are difficult. Contact your lawyer to see if you are able to file a government entity lawsuit in your state.
Common Injuries with Common Carrier Accidents
Like all other accidents, common carrier accidents have injuries of the same nature, like:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Slip and fall injuries
- Lacerations and amputations
What to Do If You’ve Been in a Common Carrier Accident
Because there’s more at stake with these kinds of accidents, it’s important you stay protected. Collect all information you can from the accident. This includes statements, photographs, contact information, the company of the vehicle you were riding in, etc. The more information you collect, the more you can provide for your attorney for your case.
After that, seek medical attention immediately. Obtain all medical evidence and reports. Some injuries take weeks, even months, to appear, and once they do, people won’t believe that it came from the accident. Documenting your injuries as they come will help build your case. Once all this has been taken care of, it’s best to contact a lawyer for your public transportation accident.
Remaining vigilant on the road isn’t just for commuters in their own vehicles. Staying safe goes for all vehicles, especially common carriers. If you have been involved in a public transportation accident, don’t hesitate to contact your personal injury lawyer right away. Most insurance companies don’t wait to collect information that could damage your case if you go to trial and it’s vital that you protect yourself as soon as possible.