Common Causes of Mass Transit Accidents
Unfortunately, mass transit accidents can happen for a number of reasons. Unlike a vehicle accident in which two drivers may both share some of the fault, in almost all cases of a mass transit accident, the injured party will not be held liable. The most common cause of accidents like this is operator negligence. In some cases, the operator may be overly tired or even intoxicated and cause an accident. Or, a driver may suffer from a lack of training and was insufficiently prepared to prevent an accident from happening.
Other accidents could be caused by defective parts. This could be parts from the manufacturer that do not work as they should, or parts or systems that haven’t been properly maintained and therefore don’t work properly. Lastly, accidents could also occur due to damage to the roads or rail system.
Who is Liable?
There are very few cases in which the victim will be held liable, though if this is the case, Texas follows a “modified comparative fault” system. This means that whatever percentage of the liability you’re found to have contributed will be deducted from the damages paid to you.
In most cases, however, fault will lie with another party. Because common carriers like public or private buses, light rail, taxis, shuttles, or ride-share vehicles serve so many different people and are often owned and operated by large organizations, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly who should bear liability (and, in some cases, it will be more than one party). If the carrier is run by a state or local government, that government entity can be sued just like an individual. It’s also possible that a private transit system could be held liable if they failed to perform critical maintenance or properly train their operators. In other cases, the fault will only lie with the driver. Lastly, the parts manufacturer can also be held liable if it’s shown that a defective part contributed to or caused the accident.
Filing a Claim
Typically, under Texas law, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. However, if you’re pursuing a lawsuit with a government agency, you must notify the government within 180 days that you’ll be filing a claim. This makes it even more important that you seek legal help immediately so you don’t lose your opportunity to seek compensation.