Your Legal Options After a Public Transportation Accident in California

Being involved in a public transportation accident can be a harrowing experience, leaving you with physical injuries, emotional distress, and significant financial burden. In such situations, understanding your legal options is crucial. The public transport accident lawyers at Stalwart Law can advise you on the legal pathways you can take following a public transportation accident in California.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

The most common legal option after a public transportation accident is to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. This could be the transportation agency, a negligent driver, or even a third-party if their actions contributed to the accident.

To succeed with a personal injury claim, you need to establish four key elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. This means you must demonstrate that the defendant owed you a duty of care, they breached that duty, their breach caused the accident, and you suffered damages as a result.

Dealing with Government Entities

In California, many public transportation entities are considered government agencies. Claims against them are governed by the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA). Under CTCA, you must file a notice of claim within six months from the date of the accident. If the agency rejects your claim, or if they don’t respond within 45 days, you can proceed with filing a lawsuit. This aspect makes pursuing compensation a bit more complex than regular personal injury cases, and underscores the importance of prompt legal action.

Car Accident

Understanding Comparative Negligence

California operates under a system of pure comparative negligence. This means that if you’re found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages but are found to be 20% at fault, you would receive $80,000.

Seeking Workers’ Compensation

If you were working at the time of the accident—say, as a bus driver or a transit worker—you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can cover your medical expenses, a portion of your lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation if you’re unable to return to your previous job.

Hiring a public transport accident attorney

Given the complexities of public transportation accidents, particularly those involving government entities, it’s advisable to hire a personal injury attorney. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, help gather necessary evidence, handle negotiations with insurance companies, and represent your interests in court, if necessary.

Public transportation accidents can lead to serious injuries and complicated legal scenarios. However, by understanding your legal options—including filing a personal injury claim, navigating government claims under the CTCA, understanding comparative negligence, and seeking workers’ compensation—you can take steps to secure the compensation you need to recover. An experienced public transport accident attorney can be an invaluable ally in navigating these options and working towards a fair resolution.

* The articles provided on the Stalwart Law website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used as professional legal advice or as a substitute for legal consultation with a qualified attorney.  

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