I Was In A Bus Accident. Do I Have A Claim?
Yes, if you sustained an injury, you do. Because, by definition, you were on a bus, and don't have damage to your vehicle, it is unlikely, but perhaps not inconceivable, that you would have any type of property damage claim. But certainly, if you sustained an injury in an accident that., again by definition, could not have been your fault because you were not driving, you would be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. The accident may be determined to be the fault of the bus driver, or the driver of the other involved vehicle, or both.
The Maryland Transit Administration is considered a "common carrier" [one who engages in public transportation for a fee].
A common carrier owes a duty to its passengers of safe transport, and reasonably safe ingress and egress from the conveyance. The obligation begins when the passenger enters property owned or controlled by the carrier. A common carrier owes an obligation to its passengers to use the highest degree of care.
I've handled many claims involving city buses colliding with other cars, other buses and city trucks.
What about a situation where there is no accident with another vehicle, but someone claims personal injury due to a sudden start or stop? In this instance, a personal injury attorney must prove that the movement caused by the start or stop was "unusual or extraordinary" , and must show the start or stop created some "definite factual incident" that is "abnormal and extraordinary". In making out their case, the injured person cannot rely on mere "adjectival descriptions of the nature of the stop" to prove his or her case. WMTA v. DJAN, 979 A.2d 194 .
There might be a common perception that any time a bus makes contact with another vehicle or with an intimate object, the occupants of the bus are entitled to monetary compensation. That is not the law. If the occupants sustain verifiable personal injury as demonstrated by the multiple video recordings of the interior of MTA buses, then they would be entitled to collect both economic if any, and non-economic damages resulting from their injuries.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 3/26/19.
If you've been injured, I'd be honored to personally meet with you to go through the specifics of your claim. This initial legal analysis and case opinion is a complimentary service I offer to my prospective clients. Feel free to call me. 410 591 2835.