Who is Liable for Public Transit Accidents?
If you’ve been injured in a public transportation accident in the Phoenix area – a light rail or bus accident, for example – you may be entitled to take legal action and recover compensation with some advice and legal assistance from a Phoenix bus accident attorney.
The Valley Metro bus and light rail systems in the Phoenix area provide about fifty million rides every year – roughly 137,000 rides every day – so accidents are not uncommon. An accident that involved a Valley Metro bus in June 2021 left three people dead and six people seriously injured.
In large urban centers like Phoenix, a catastrophic accident involving a train or bus could kill or injure scores of innocent people. If you are injured because of the negligence of any government agency in Arizona, you have the legal right to seek and recover monetary compensation.
What steps should you take if you are injured in a public transit accident in the Phoenix area? When should you contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer? Keep reading this brief discussion of your rights and public transit accidents in the Phoenix area for the answers you may need.
What Can Cause a Public Transit Accident?
Negligence is the leading cause of public transit accidents. An accident could happen because a government agency was negligent, a bus driver or another driver was negligent.
A public transit accident can become quite complicated legally because so many parties may be involved: injury victims, other passengers, a bus driver, other drivers, pedestrians, the vehicle or part manufacturer, and/or the government agency responsible for the bus or light rail system.
What Injuries Can Be Sustained in a Public Transit Accident?
Injuries sustained in these accidents – such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries – can be catastrophic and sometimes permanently disabling. Assigning liability for these accidents may be difficult because so many parties are involved and because no two accidents are alike.
If you’ve been injured, a Phoenix personal injury lawyer can determine who was responsible for a public transit accident, and your lawyer will then fight aggressively for the justice and the compensation you need.
How Do You Sue a Government Agency in Arizona?
If you bring a personal injury claim against Valley Metro or any other government agency in Arizona, it’s not like a lawsuit against an individual or a private business. Arizona law requires additional steps before a lawsuit can be filed against a government entity or employee..
You or your attorney first must send a written notification – within 180 days of the accident – to the agency you intend to sue. This is called a “Notice of Claim” and the requirements for such a notice are outline in A.R.S. 12-821.01. That notification must describe the accident, explain how and to what extent you were injured, and indicate the amount of compensation you’re seeking. The operative language from this statute is as follows:
- Persons who have claims against a public entity, public school or a public employee shall file claims with the person or persons authorized to accept service for the public entity, public school or public employee as set forth in the Arizona rules of civil procedure within one hundred eighty days after the cause of action accrues. The claim shall contain facts sufficient to permit the public entity, public school or public employee to understand the basis on which liability is claimed. The claim shall also contain a specific amount for which the claim can be settled and the facts supporting that amount. Any claim that is not filed within one hundred eighty days after the cause of action accrues is barred and no action may be maintained thereon.
The government entity then has sixty days to respond to your written notification. You may be offered an out-of-court settlement, but if the government entity rejects your claim or fails to respond to it, you may then file a lawsuit against the government entity of government employee.
How Are Claims Against Arizona Government Agencies Resolved?
Before you send the agency a notification of your intent to sue, and while you await a response, your personal injury attorney will be compiling and assessing the evidence, interviewing the witnesses, and preparing the strongest possible personal injury case on your behalf.
If the agency offers you a settlement, discuss with your lawyer whether to accept the offer, negotiate privately for a better settlement, or proceed to trial. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will explain to the jurors how and to what extent you were injured. Your lawyer will then ask the jurors to find in your favor and order the government agency to compensate you.
But you must have the right attorney fighting on your behalf from the beginning. As soon as you have been treated for your injury or injuries, schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a personal injury attorney in Phoenix.
What Else Should You Know About Public Transit Accidents?
If you were injured in an accident while riding a bus or a light rail, you may not have seen what caused the accident. Your attorney will immediately begin an investigation of the accident’s cause, review the written police accident report, and interview the witnesses.
What Compensation Can an Injury Victim Recover?
A personal injury lawsuit that prevails against a government agency could recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and related damages. Your exact losses and the extent of your injuries will determine how much your claim is worth.
Your personal injury attorney will fight aggressively and effectively to recover the maximum compensation amount that is available. Arizona prohibits punitive damage awards – awards that are intended to punish liable parties – in personal injury cases that involve government agencies.
How Can You Choose the Right Public Transit Accident Attorney?
At Moore Injury Law, our award-winning legal team has decades of experience defending clients who have been injured in accidents that were not their fault. We have an impressive record of success recovering compensation for our clients in cases arising from transportation accidents.
An attorney at Moore Injury Law will handle your injury claim on a contingent fee basis. You will pay no lawyer’s fee upfront and no lawyer’s fee until and unless we recover your compensation. If you’ve been injured in a bus or light rail accident, we will evaluate your case without cost or obligation.
To learn more or to begin the legal process, call Moore Injury Law in Phoenix at 602-795-6605, and we will put the law to work for you. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence – or if you’re injured by someone else’s negligence in the future – make that call at once.