Unless it gives its consent, the government is protected from any legal action filed against it. This type of immunity is even extended to its different agencies, including those responsible for public transportation.
If you’ve experienced any type of accident from a mode of public transport, it might be difficult to file a case against the agency responsible for it. Such a case may be a challenge simply because of the fact that it’s filed against a public transportation agency. Even seemingly unique cases, such as throat cancer lawsuits, are easier to manage nowadays by attorneys. Private law firms, like Banville Law, target cases similar to these.
So, what if you’ve found yourself in a slip and fall incident while riding a train to work; who are you going to sue? Or, what if your property gets damaged while in the subway; who can you hold responsible? To know more about the answers to these questions, it might be best to understand the nature of these situations first.
Why Lawsuits Against Public Transportation Authorities Are Difficult
The practice of not suing the government and its agencies started in England. This was carried over to America through a principle called sovereign immunity. In practice, this principle allows the government to use its utilities and resources in helping out its people instead of using the public’s money in defending itself from claims against it. It also includes protection against tort cases, which are wrongful acts committed by persons or entities, including the government, that cause damage.
Until today, many states are still in observance of this immunity against lawsuits filed by private individuals. Although some states have given up their immunity and allowed civil cases to be filed against them, this waiver of protection is strictly regulated.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations
In civil law systems, the statute of limitations is also referred to as the prescriptive period. This is the maximum time after an event within which a person may seek proceedings and appeal from the court.
For example, in a car accident, a person may file an action within the prescriptive period of two years after the incident. Beyond that period, however, you can’t be allowed to bring any case to the court anymore. Filing beyond the statute of limitations would immediately get your case dismissed.
In cases involving public transport authorities, the prescriptive period is usually shorter. It also depends on whether the prescriptive period is on the notice of claim, personal injury, or death. Another factor to consider are the laws of the state involved.
Usually, a notice of claims has a prescriptive period of 90 days. This means that you need to notify the involved agency about your claim within 90 days after the accident. Once you’ve provided the notice, you should file a lawsuit involving personal injury within a year to one year and 90 days, depending on state laws. Lawsuits related to death occurring in public transportation have a two-year prescriptive period from the date of death. In the failure of bringing up these lawsuits to the court, you also miss the chance of holding the public transportation agency responsible.
Reasons For Suing Public Transportation Authorities
Because of its nature, there are only a few circumstances that would allow the suing of public transportation authorities. These would vary depending on state laws and regulations, but, generally speaking, below are the conditions.
Personal Injuries Resulting From Bus Accidents
There are many scenarios involving state-operated buses that may lead to personal injuries. These are the type of injuries that may have been caused by someone else’s negligence.
In the case of publicly owned buses, they can be caused by collisions, being jolted inside the bus due to a sudden stop, and faulty bus maintenance, among others. When the driver hired by a public agency also acts carelessly, the public agency that employed the driver may be held responsible for the injuries you may sustain. This negligence can be the result of inattentiveness, fatigue, or impaired driving.
Just like medical conditions resulting from car accidents, there are also health-related issues that may arise from getting involved in bus accidents.
Personal Injuries From Situations Involving Trains
Many people ride trains daily, which calls for the attention of public authorities to have them maintained properly. However, there may be cases wherein a sudden movement might have resulted in you getting injured. In this case, filing a legal complaint against the public authorities is okay, so long as it’s within the statute of limitations.
Also, accidents resulting from train derailments, poor maintenance, and inadequate train operations can result in legal actions.
Personal Injuries And Property Damage From Stations
Before boarding a bus or a train, many people would usually stay in stations. These areas are under the maintenance of public authorities, too. Thus, slip and fall accidents resulting from an open manhole, leaking pipes, or poorly lit walkways, can be a subject for a lawsuit against them.
You Have A Right Against The Government’s Negligence
Though it might be difficult to win against the state or any of its agencies, remember that certain circumstances allow you to do so. These include accidents resulting from the negligent practices of publicly owned trains and buses. These include their stations, too. Just make sure that you file within the prescriptive period allowed by your respective state so you can receive proper compensation from it.