SEPTA Accident Attorneys
SEPTA (or the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) provides transportation services for residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. Its services include the regional rail, the Market-Frankford Line, the Broad Street Line, trolley lines, the Norristown High-Speed Line, CCT Connect, as well as 121 bus routes. Throughout the region, SEPTA provides more than 300 million trips each year.
While SEPTA is a popular, cost-effective way to travel around Southeastern PA, that doesn’t mean that it is safe. Given the high volume of ridership, it isn’t surprising that passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers often suffer injuries in collisions with SEPTA buses, trains, and trolleys. If you have been hurt in a SEPTA accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover for your losses.
Because SEPTA is a government agency, special rules apply to file a claim for your injuries. At Solnick & Associates, we are skilled at handling all types of personal injury claims, including those involving buses and other common carriers. We offer free consultations for all prospective clients, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
Types of SEPTA Accidents
The SEPTA network is vast and includes trains, buses, and trackless trolleys. With such a bug system, it is little wonder that there are many ways that a person can be hurt while interacting with SEPTA.
Our law firm handles a range of SEPTA claims, including:
- Bus accidents
- Subway accidents
- Train crashes
- Slip and falls
- Trolley accidents
- Wrongful death
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bike collisions
A SEPTA injury can happen while riding on a bus, in a train derailment, slipping and falling on SEPTA property, or even while driving your own vehicle or walking or biking. For example, a bus driver, train operator or trolley driver may:
- Hit another vehicle
- Strike a pedestrian or bicyclist
- Crash into a curb or fixed object
- Drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Travel too fast for conditions
- Fall asleep while driving
- Text or use the phone while driving
Any or all of these issues can lead to accidents that injure passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers and passengers of other vehicles.
If you suffer an injury in these or another way that is connected to SEPTA, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover money for your medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
Filing a Claim Against SEPTA
Because SEPTA is a state agency, claims must be filed in accordance with the rules that govern claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The state is protected from most claims under a principle known as Sovereign Immunity, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Tort Claims Act. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including for the operation of a motor vehicle that is under the possession or control of a state agency such as SEPTA.
Generally, this means that you have to follow a specific procedure to file a claim, have a shorter period of time to do so and that there are limits on the amount of money that you can recover.
First, Pennsylvania law requires that claims against a state agency must be made in writing to the agency. This claim notice must include the name and address of the claimant, the date, hour, and location of the incident, and the name and address of any treating physician. In contrast, personal injury claims against a private party typically start with a demand letter to their insurance company.
Second, the claim notice must be sent to the state agency within 6 months. If this notice is not sent within that time period, then you may be barred from filing a lawsuit against SEPTA for your injuries. For other types of personal injury claims, there is no requirement that a demand letter be sent before filing a lawsuit. For all personal injury lawsuits, including those against a state agency, the statute of limitations (deadline) for filing a lawsuit is 2 years.
Third, there is a cap on damages in claims against the state. Specifically, an individual can recover no more than $250,000 for a single incident. The total amount that can be paid out for an incident among all parties involved is $1,000,000.
These laws can make it more challenging to bring a claim against SEPTA. Other laws may also affect the process, such as rules related to common carriers.
In Pennsylvania, common carriers are held to a higher standard than other types of motor vehicles. A common carrier is an individual or company that is available to transport people for a fee. If the accident involved a common carrier — such as a bus — the federal and state laws may be applied, which can make it easier to prove that the operator was at fault.
Because the rules surrounding SEPTA accidents are complex, it is important to choose a personal injury law firm that has experience handling these types of claims. Your lawyer should be able to evaluate the facts of your case, advise you on your options, and move forward to filing a claim with SEPTA to protect your right to compensation.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Hurt in a SEPTA Accident?
After any type of accident, the first and most important thing that you should do is to seek medical attention. This is especially true if you have suffered a serious or life-threatening injury. However, if you are able to do so, then there are certain steps that you should take after a SEPTA accident to preserve your claim.
First, ask the driver, operator, or another SEPTA employee for an incident report. If you are riding on a bus, trolley, or train, make sure that the driver includes you on a list of passengers. It is important to establish that you were physically on the bus when the accident occurred. Filling out an incident report can help to prove this fact.
Second, write down or record information about the driver, the vehicle, and route. This may include things such as the driver’s name, the number of the bus, train, or trolley, the route number, and/or the location of the incident.
Third, call 911 if someone else has not already made the call. Make sure that the police officer or other first responder records that you were a passenger.
Fourth, document the scene using your smartphone, if possible. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, the driver, and other vehicles involved. If you were injured in a slip and fall, try to get pictures of the area around where you fell.
Fifth, reach out to a Philadelphia SEPTA accident lawyer as soon as possible. Remember: you have a limited amount of time to file a notice of claim, and there is a limited amount of money available for people hurt in a SEPTA accident. The sooner that you consult with an attorney, the better the likelihood that you will be able to recover for your losses.
How We Can Help
Millions of people throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania rely on SEPTA to get to work, school, or to just get around the region. If you are hurt in a SEPTA accident, you may be unsure of what you can do. A Philadelphia personal injury law firm will advocate for your right to compensation.
With more than 30 years of combined experience, Solnick & Associates is well-suited to handle a range of personal injury claims, including those related to SEPTA. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation, contact us today at 215-481-9979 or email us.