Bus Accident Litigation in Florida
Public transportation is the preferred method of transportation for many Floridians. It is inexpensive, convenient, and generally safe. However, due to their sheer size, the amount of passengers on board, and a lack of safety features, busses can also be dangerous and lead to injuries of passengers or passers-by. The same concerns go for charter busses, subways, local trolleys, airport shuttles, or other forms of mass transit in Florida. Knowing what to do from a legal perspective in the wake of a bus accident will ensure the proper parties are held accountable and that you are compensated for your injuries accordingly.
Bus Accident Litigation Generally
When you initiate legal action after being injured in a bus accident, the first thing to consider is who/what entity should be held responsible. If you are on a private charter, that may be the driver, the company, or its affiliates. Sometimes your ticket may discuss legal limitations or waivers of liability—these statements do not necessarily, and often do not, preclude bringing legal claims. Private companies are usually easier to bring legal action against since there are clear parties responsible for injuries.
Consequently, determining the liability in a public transit accident can be much more difficult. From a legal perspective, a concept called sovereign immunity can severely limit the liability of public transit drivers, imposing time restrictions, claim preclusion, and other limitations on legal claims arising from injuries allegedly caused by public transportation drivers. Similar to the contract limiting liability on the back of a private bus ticket, these limitations do not mean you cannot bring a lawsuit—it simply means there are more hoops to jump through than if you were suing a private company.
Types of Actions
The type of legal action you may wish to bring will depend on the nature of the accident or injury. The two most common claims in bus accident litigation are negligence and products liability.
Negligence is a concept where, given the nature of a relationship, someone has a responsibility to do something for someone else and failed to do it. A bus company has a duty to ensure that passengers on their bus remain safe in transit. Such companies must anticipate possible hazards and pre-emptively ensure they are dealt with. The duty extends to safety features of the bus itself, but also security measures for passengers on board. The bus company has a responsibility to its passengers to make sure problem patrons do not threaten the physical safety of others on the bus, do not jeopardize the use of safety features (blocking exits with belongings, etc.), and to make sure the drivers are free from distraction. This duty extends to other drivers on the road, in addition to pedestrians.
Products liability is a legal action in which there is an alleged design defect or flaw that caused injury to a person. A products liability lawsuit in the context of a bus accident may include faulty seatbelts, inadequate railings for grip, use of non-safety glass, or manufacturing issues. These lawsuits may implicate other people and entities, such as a mechanic who worked on the bus, the person who installed the seats, or the company hired for the last safety inspection.
Miami Bus Accident Attorneys
Bus accident litigation requires that potential claims be brought quickly and effectively. This legal protection afforded to public transit drivers under sovereign immunity in particular sets limitations that require experienced, knowledgeable bus accident attorneys that know how to navigate this area of the legal system. At Alan Goldfarb, P.A. you can rest assured that our experienced trial attorneys know the most effective avenues for pursuing your legal claims to ensure the most favorable outcome. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a bus accident in Miami, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our Miami offices today.