The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) oversees many important aspects of Philadelphia’s public transportation system. From trolleys to regional rail systems, SEPTA handles the important administrative details of these public services, including any personal injury claims resulting from accidents.
If you have been involved in an accident on public transportation in Philadelphia, you need a personal injury lawyer with experience in public transit and SEPTA claims on your side. SEPTA accident claims are complex to navigate, and an attorney can best negotiate with SEPTA’s legal claims department to get you the compensation you deserve.
At Munley Law, our SEPTA accident attorneys in Philadelphia know what it takes to pursue a mass transit accident claim. Contact our law offices today when you call or fill out our online form. We offer free case consultations, and you will not be charged for our services unless we win money for you.
$32 Million Wrongful Death
$26 Million Truck Accident
$17.5 Million Car Accident
$12 Million Product Liability
$9 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$7.5 Million Auto Accident
$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Accident
$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury
$5 Million Medical Malpractice
$5 Million Bus Accidents
Passenger Injuries in SEPTA Accidents
One of the most common types of SEPTA accident claims involves becoming injured as a passenger. As operators of “common carriers,” bus, trolley, and paratransit operators have a high duty of care to their passengers, with strict requirements to follow the same road laws as other vehicles. A driver breaching that duty of care can result in severe injury or even death to their passengers.
If you were injured as a passenger in a SEPTA bus accident, you may be able to pursue compensation for your pain, suffering, and economic damages. However, the path to pursuing a SEPTA lawsuit may differ depending on your situation.
- If you do not own a motor vehicle or live with a relative who owns one, SEPTA will be required to pay your medical bills, up to $5,000. This requires submitting a benefits application and reporting your injuries before a deadline.
- If you do own a motor vehicle or live with a relative who owns one, you may need to pursue compensation through your car insurance. This is true even though you were not driving a car at the time of the accident. However, in some specific cases, pursuing compensation through SEPTA is still possible.
In either situation, it is important to reach out to a Philadelphia SEPTA accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Only an experienced SEPTA accident lawyer can review all the details of your case to determine your best avenues for compensation. An attorney can also ensure all filing deadlines are met and communicate with all involved parties while you take the time you need to focus on your recovery.
Car and Pedestrian Accidents Involving SEPTA
Pedestrian accidents with SEPTA buses can be especially catastrophic. In 2020, 11% of all fatal crashes involved intercity buses, while 35% of all fatal crashes involved transit buses. Due to the extreme weight and speed difference between pedestrians and buses, these types of accidents can result in broken bones, spinal cord, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
Often, bus accidents involving pedestrians happen when buses run red lights or through crosswalks, failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians. A bus may swerve and clip a pedestrian on the sidewalk, often with a side mirror.
Another common type of SEPTA bus accident is collisions with other vehicles. Usually, your vehicle insurance will cover your medical treatment, as outlined in your insurance policy. However, you must provide notice of your injuries to SEPTA within six months of your injuries if you want to preserve your personal injury lawsuit options.
If you are hit by a SEPTA bus as a pedestrian or driver, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. For your best chance at getting the compensation you need, you should speak with a SEPTA accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Other Common Types of SEPTA Accidents
While bus accidents are among the most common types of SEPTA-related accidents, SEPTA also covers many other modes of public transportation. If you are hit by a train, subway, or trolley, you may have options to pursue compensation for your injuries through a SEPTA lawsuit.
Train and railroad operations, in particular, have additional responsibilities exceeding most types of SEPTA transportation. In addition to maintaining their motor vehicle, railroad operators must maintain train tracks, crossing gates, and warning lights. Failure in these duties can cause catastrophic, often fatal, accidents.
If you were a driver or passenger injured in a train accident due to a broken crossing gate or defective tracks, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries or the loss of your loved one. Our SEPTA accident lawyers can help you pursue justice.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim Against SEPTA
Specific limitations apply to any personal injury claims made against SEPTA. As a government agency, SEPTA is protected by specific laws and government regulations that would not apply to a private entity.
Any injured victim in a SEPTA accident must notify SEPTA within six months of the date of the accident to pursue a personal injury lawsuit later. This involves filing and submitting a claims form within the deadline. Without this notice, you will lose the right to pursue a personal injury claim against SEPTA.
Even with a claim filed with SEPTA, there are additional restrictions for SEPTA lawsuits. SEPTA is only considered liable for any injuries from the negligent operation of public transit vehicles. Specifically, your injuries must have been caused by a SEPTA vehicle put in motion by an operator. SEPTA has previously been considered immune from liability in cases involving uneven wheelchair ramps, improperly “kneeled” busses when passengers were exiting, and overcrowding resulting in a passenger falling from the bus when it came to a complete stop.
SEPTA is also protected from liability in the case of sudden jerks and jolts of a bus leading to passenger injury. The “jerk and jolt” doctrine in Pennsylvania maintains that SEPTA passengers injured in such bus motions can only pursue and recover compensation if the acceleration or deceleration was beyond a passenger’s reasonable expectation. The burden of proof, in this case, falls to the plaintiff and can be demonstrated through surveillance video and eyewitness testimony.
SEPTA Accident Liability Limits
SEPTA is protected under the Sovereign Immunity Act, which provides upper limits to personal injury claims. These limits are in place to ensure SEPTA, as a public agency, does not go entirely broke if someone files a successful personal injury claim against the entity.
In SEPTA personal injury claims, victims are limited to $1,000,000 per accident, with a liability of $250,000 per injured person. Since the $1,000,000 per accident limit applies no matter how many victims there are in the actual accident, it is important to file as soon as possible to not potentially miss out on compensation.
However, SEPTA accidents can overlap with other types of personal injury cases. Often, a SEPTA accident may also include elements of premises liability, defective products, and more. These can further complicate the avenues for an injured victim to obtain compensation.
Protecting Your Rights After a SEPTA Accident
If you were injured in an accident involving a SEPTA vehicle, there are several important steps to take to preserve your right to a case. Since SEPTA is a government agency with specific protections, taking every possible step toward preserving evidence is vital to the success of your claim.
Some steps you can take in the immediate aftermath of a SEPTA accident include:
- Recording the vehicle and route number
- Noting the time of day and location of the accident
- Obtaining the name of the SEPTA driver and any other involved drivers or witnesses
- Ensuring the driver records your information for their SEPTA incident form
- Taking pictures of the accident, including the license plates of all involved vehicles
- Seeking medical attention as soon as possible to create a record of all injuries directly related to your accident
After an accident, SEPTA drivers are required to give incident cards to passengers, to identify all passengers on the bus during the accident. If you are given this card, be careful in filling out all details carefully, as it will be used by SEPTA should you make a claim. Keep a duplicate of the incident card for your records so your attorney can use the information to evaluate your claim. If your driver did not hand you a SEPTA card, your attorney can help you fill out one instead.
Do I Need a SEPTA Accident Attorney?
SEPTA accidents are complicated and require fine attention to detail to navigate properly. In the aftermath of an accident, you should be focusing on healing and recovering, not filing paperwork on time or negotiations with at-fault parties. A SEPTA accident attorney can best help you in pursuing the compensation you are owed.
With an experienced SEPTA accident lawyer from Munley Law on your side, you can rest assured that all aspects of your case are being handled with the utmost care. Our experienced legal team can investigate the circumstances of your case and preserve the evidence needed to support your claim. We can also ensure all documentation is filed with SEPTA on time and in full so there are no risks to your right to file your claim.
Contact the SEPTA Accident Attorneys at Munley Law Today
Victims of bus and public transit accidents deserve justice. If you or your loved one was injured in a SEPTA accident, reach out to the SEPTA accident lawyers at Munley Law right away. SEPTA claims are complicated and have specific filing deadlines, so the sooner you involve an attorney, the better an expert can protect your claim.
Choosing an experienced law firm is important. At Munley Law, we have served injured victims throughout Philadelphia for the last six decades. In that time, we have recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We know how to navigate even the most complex of personal injury claims, and we are ready to put that experience to work for you.
We do not get paid unless we get money for you! Call or contact us online right away for a free consultation with one of our legal experts.
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Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
1617 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19103