Public transportation is one of our most valuable community resources, making getting around Oklahoma City easy and affordable. While we appreciate the value of public transit, we also understand that there will always be risks associated with riding on our city buses — like any vehicle on the road. It doesn’t take much for things to go wrong on public transportation, and when they do, you deserve to understand your rights and options as a victim.
In this blog, we’ll review the specifics of public transpiration negligence laws in Oklahoma and what to do if you find yourself trying to navigate the challenging medical and legal process after a bus crash.
Bus Accidents Are More Common Than You Think
Unfortunately, bus accidents have made a lot of headlines in recent years. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, bus crashes with fatalities increased steadily by 21.6% between 2001 and 2010. In Oklahoma, crashes on public and school buses are becoming disturbingly frequent.
Understand Oklahoma’s Common Carrier Laws
Public transportation vehicles — buses, trains, or even school buses — that are involved in crashes are subject to “common carrier” laws. Common carriers refer to businesses or entities that provide transportation, including the government. Common carriers owe the public a higher “duty of care,” meaning that drivers must make more effort than the average layperson to avoid negligence and protect their passengers and others on the road.
For example, when you drive a car, you often chat with your passengers, eat a snack, or talk on the phone. A bus driver, being held to a higher level of care, should not engage in these seemingly normal behaviors because they owe their passengers an exceptional duty of care. However, this doesn’t mean bus drivers are always careful or fit to drive.
When a driver makes a mistake and causes you and other passengers harm, you deserve justice.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt on a Public Bus
If you sustain an injury on a public bus or other transportation, the laws around seeking justice and compensation are different than if you were injured in a car accident.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Statute of Limitations for Public Transportation Crashes in Oklahoma Is 1 Year
Because the potentially negligent party is the government, there are special laws that impact when you can file a suit. These laws expedite the timeline of when you can make a claim against the negligent bus driver or bus system to just one year following the public transit crash.
The Victim Must Prove Negligence
Despite the common carrier’s duty to provide a high degree of care, it’s always up to the victim to prove negligence. Under the Oklahoma Tort Act, employees and other agencies can only to be sued if there was a clear breach of contract, act of negligence, or wrongdoing. Proving this negligence can be tricky. If you have questions about what it means to prove negligence after a crash on public transportation, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away.
Damage Caps Affect Your Ability to Get Compensation
In cases involving government agencies, damage caps limit the amount of compensation victims are eligible to receive after a crash on public transportation. The amount can vary based on your claim, the pain and suffering you experience, and the type of accident you’re involved in.
If you have questions about what you’re eligible to collect, proving negligence, or just want to discuss your options before you lose the ability to file a claim, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
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A Personal Injury Lawyer Could Help After a Bus Accident
As soon as accidents involving common carriers and government agencies happen, they immediately become extremely complicated. Filing a claim with the right department is critical, and any mistakes in this process could cause your claim to be denied. Also, the laws around liability and government agencies are designed to protect bus drivers and other workers who are trying to do their jobs responsibly. This can make it challenging for victims who have been harmed by reckless or negligent drivers.
It’s not right, but these legal hurdles prevent many victims from getting the compensation they need to lead healthy lives — and the justice they deserve. An experienced Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can help victims navigate the challenging systems designed to trip people up.
A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims:
- Collect and preserve evidence
- File the appropriate claims with the correct departments
- Make a claim before the statute of limitations expires
- Focus on their healing by taking charge of the claims process
If you or someone you love has been harmed in an accident while on public transportation, you don’t have to fight the system alone. When you need help, answers, and justice, contact a compassionate personal injury lawyer.
Get Your Free Public Transportation Crash Case Evaluation With Atkins & Markoff
At Atkins & Markoff, we believe that every victim deserves the resources they need to live full, healthy lives after a crash. That’s why we meet with every potential client individually at no cost. During our discussion, we’ll get to know you, listen to your story, and offer the best legal options for you and your family moving forward.
Chambers, M. (2017, May 20). Transportation Safety by the Numbers. United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.bts.gov/archive/publications/by_the_numbers/transportation_safety/index
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.