Can You Sue SEPTA if You Were in a Crash?
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a lifeline for many, providing essential transportation services in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. However, accidents involving SEPTA buses, trains, and trolleys occur often and can result in severe injuries.
Fortunately, our SEPTA accident lawyers are here to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Suing SEPTA after being injured in an accident involving one of its vehicles can be extremely difficult. Certain laws are in place that can protect SEPTA from suit. However, exceptions are made, and other parties besides SEPTA could also be named in your lawsuit.
Contact The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for your free case review with our SEPTA accident attorneys.
Can You Sue SEPTA if You Were Injured in an Accident?
If you have been injured in an accident involving a SEPTA vehicle or on SEPTA property due to the negligence of the agency or its employees, you could be entitled to sue for damages. This typically includes situations where a SEPTA driver was negligent while operating a vehicle. You could also file a lawsuit against SEPTA if the accident was caused because they failed to properly train their employees or did not maintain their vehicles properly.
However, Suing SEPTA can be more difficult than other parties due to the legal principle of “sovereign immunity.” While this can be a difficult hurdle to overcome, our SEPTA accident lawyers can examine your case to determine the best steps to recover the compensation you deserve. The principle of sovereign immunity generally protects state agencies from being sued in many types of cases. There are exceptions, however, and the negligent operation of a vehicle is usually one of them.
Moreover, you would typically need to demonstrate that the SEPTA driver was at fault and that the vehicle was in operation at the time of the accident. This means if you were injured while boarding or alighting from a stationary bus, for example, different rules might apply to prove negligence.
If you are able to sue SEPTA, you should be aware that there are limits on the amount of compensation you can recover. Due to SEPTA being a government entity, Pennsylvania law caps the maximum compensation at $250,000 per injured party and $1,000,000 for a single case.
Can Other Parties Be Held Liable for a SEPTA Accident?
Navigating the aftermath of a SEPTA accident can be complex since multiple parties can potentially be held liable for your injuries. Besides SEPTA itself, other parties could bear responsibility depending on the specifics of the incident. The following are other parties commonly named in a SEPTA accident lawsuit:
The SEPTA Driver
If the accident was caused by the negligence of a SEPTA driver, they could potentially be held directly liable. For instance, if the driver was distracted, under the influence, or breached traffic rules when they injured you, they would likely be the most liable party. As mentioned, it might be difficult to sue SEPTA itself, so suing the SEPTA driver might be the straightest path to compensation.
In some cases, another driver might be at fault for an accident involving a SEPTA vehicle. It is not uncommon for other people to drive aggressively to get around a SEPTA bus or beat a trolley at an intersection. If another driver’s negligence causes a SETPA bus or train to crash, that driver should be held accountable.
If an accident is caused by faulty equipment or poor maintenance, a third-party contractor responsible for maintaining the vehicles could potentially be held liable. For example, if a brake failure leads to an accident and it is discovered that the maintenance contractor did not adequately service the brakes, they could be sued for damages.
In certain situations, a government entity other than SEPTA could be held responsible. For instance, if a poorly designed or inadequately maintained road contributed to the accident, the city or state agency responsible for road maintenance could potentially be held liable.
What Evidence is Used to Prove a SEPTA Accident Case?
In SEPTA accident cases, a variety of evidence is often utilized to demonstrate fault or damages. However, acquiring the necessary evidence to back up your assertions can prove to be challenging since some of this evidence might be in SEPTA’s possession. Fortunately, our team can help you obtain the evidence that you have a right to use in your case. The following types of evidence are the kinds most commonly used in a lawsuit involving SEPTA:
If you have been in a SEPTA accident, it is important to document any injuries you have sustained by getting medical care, which will provide you with medical records to prove your damages. This information can help prove the harm you suffered and how much compensation your treatment will require. Waiting for injuries to heal on their own is not recommended, so it is best to seek medical attention promptly if you are the victim of a SEPTA accident.
When it comes to proving fault in a case, witness statements are incredibly valuable. Witnesses can provide insight into what happened before, during, or after an incident. For example, if a driver ran a red light before causing an accident, an eyewitness statement can be used as evidence. Thus, it is important to gather contact information for any witnesses to their accidents.
Expert witness statements are another type of evidence that can help determine fault in a SEPTA case. These witnesses are considered experts in their field due to their education, training, and experience. They can simplify complex topics for the court to understand.
Physical evidence from the scene of a SEPTA accident can also be used in your case. Physical evidence can be helpful to illustrate the severity of your accident. It is also commonly used to bolster your testimony when telling your story in court.
Photographic evidence can also be crucial in your SEPTA case. For instance, taking pictures of a bus after the accident could provide insight into how the accident occurred and its severity. Additionally, photographs can be used to establish the circumstances surrounding a crash, such as road and weather conditions. Therefore, it is important for victims to take photos and videos of their accident scene if possible.
Photographic evidence is also useful in establishing damages. For example, SEPTA might try to argue that your injuries were the result of another accident or condition. However, pictures taken of the vehicle at the accident scene can prove that the damage was actually caused by the crash in question.
Our SEPTA Accident Lawyers Can Help
For a free case assessment, speak with our SEPTA bus accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940.