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Personal Injury

Unique Legal Considerations for Mass Transit Accidents

April 13, 2015 | Dominique A. Penson

When a mass transit accident occurs, there may be many different factors involved and various individuals or entities at fault. As a result, there are some unique limits associated with personal injury claims after a public transportation accident.

First, it’s important to consider that there may be special rules involved if you are attempting to sue a government agency. Because government entities control the majority of mass transit, a public agency could be partially liable for an accident. However, many federal and state laws require that you give proper notice to the government before you file a lawsuit (ex- a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of an accident for claims against the NYC Transit Authority). Then, the government has a set period of time in which it can attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement with you. Claims against government agencies also tend to have a shorter statute of limitations than other types of lawsuits (ex- Law suits against the NYCTA must be commenced within one year and 90 days). 

If, however, you are filing a lawsuit against a private transportation company, it will proceed in much the same way as any other injury case. That company must take efforts to show that it is taking reasonable efforts to keep all individuals and passengers safe and that it was not negligent in the accident in question.

Commercial airlines have even higher standards of safety because they transport much larger groups of people. Their potential liability in personal injury lawsuits is much greater. However, there are a few unique protections afforded to commercial airlines. For example, plaintiff’s lawyers cannot use the opinions of the investigators, even “probable cause” conclusions found in National Transportation Safety Board investigations.  However, in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the airline, there normally is a presumption that if a plane crashed,  the pilot or the airline was negligence in the operation and/or the maintenance of the plane. 

For more information on the unique considerations that could impact your personal injury claim after a mass transit accident, speak with a skilled New York attorney at [ln::firm_name].

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