Hundreds of thousands of people use the public transportation systems in Kentucky every year. When getting on board a bus, these passengers expect to get to their destinations safely. For many, this is their main reason for taking a bus instead of driving themselves. Unfortunately, these bus rides don’t always end safely. Vehicles used for public transportation are no more immune to accidents on the road than others, and they do sometimes happen. Not all public transportation accidents involve any other vehicles, either. People get hurt while standing on buses, and while boarding and disembarking. These entities have insurance that will cover medical bills and other expenses if you are injured on, getting on, or getting off of one of their buses.
So, what can Kentuckians do if they are injured on public transportation? And what kind of injuries should passengers report to the authorities?
Common Causes of Public Transportation Injuries
When many people consider injuries resulting from an accident on public transportation, they often only consider accidents that involve other vehicles. However, most of the injuries sustained on public transpiration don’t involve a collision with other vehicles. The majority of public transportation injuries come from a person simply being on the bus, which is riskier than it sounds. Some of the most common causes of these injuries include:
Slip and falls due to wet platforms and wet floors, particularly in the winter when snow is carried on by passenger’s shoes;
Drivers who are distracted while talking to other passengers;
Overloaded buses that cause more slip and falls;
Sudden starts and stops, which could cause a person to fall, hit their head, or get whiplash; and
Loose items inside the bus, such as bags and phones that hit other passengers in the event of a sudden stop.
It may seem as though the injuries sustained on a bus are not that severe, but that’s not always true. For example, if a passenger hits their head on the window or twists their knee during a sudden stop or jolt forward, they could sustain a concussion, traumatic brain injury, or torn ACL or meniscus, which are all very serious injuries that will require extensive medical care. When passengers are seriously hurt on a bus, it’s important they report the injury to the driver, even though it is embarrassing, and fill out an incident report immediately
Filing an Incident Report and Filing a Claim
Whether you have an injury from riding the Trans Authority of River City (TARC) in Louisville, Transit Authority of Lexington (Lextran), the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK), or even private transportation like a Greyhound in Kentucky, what you do immediately after your injury can help you recover or, if you do nothing, then it can prevent you from recovering needed funds for necessary medical care.
Regardless of the type of bus transportation, private or public, the first step if you have been injured while riding a bus in Kentucky is to file an incident report. If the bus driver tries to prevent you from filing an incident report then ask the driver for his or her name, and tell them if they do not file the incident report that you will call their company and insist a report be filed. Drivers will sometimes try to avoid filing a report for reasons such as they don’t want to stop on their route to wait for medical care to arrive or the driver may not wish to have any blemishes on their driving record.
When passengers are injured on public transportation, they can often file a claim against the government entity that operates and manages that transportation. This is not the same as filing a personal injury claim in Kentucky, as government entities have certain immunities and the process is quite different.
In order to file a claim against the government in Kentucky, injured individuals must file a claim with their city or county attorney. When filing the claim, it’s helpful if the injured person includes the details of the injury, why they believe a public employee is at fault, any medical bills incurred, and other supporting evidence.
Those hurt on public transportation have only one year from the date of the accident to file this claim. Waiting any longer will likely mean the claim is no longer valid, and the injured individual is barred from receiving any type of compensation for their injuries. In claims against the government, that compensation is also capped at $200,000.
Think You Have a Claim? Speak to a Kentucky Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney
It is possible to file a claim against a government entity in Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Anyone hurt on public transportation, or anywhere else on government property should speak to a personal injury lawyer in Richmond who can help.
If you’re hurt, contact the Morrin Law Office at (859) 358-0300. We know how to hold entities responsible for causing an accident that resulted in injury, and that includes government entities. These are some of the most complicated cases to pursue, so you don’t want to attempt it on your own. Call or text us today or fill out our online form for your free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you.