Many people rely on public transit as a way to get to work and/or to travel. As more and more restrictions from COVID are lifted, many buses and trains will become busy again as Americans in Virginia and across the country get back to “normal life” again. Although public transportation is a convenient way to travel, it can also be a dangerous one. Our firm has reported on countless train and bus accidents that have resulted in the injuries and deaths of many victims.
Injured victims do have legal recourse, however, as the law does allow victims of train and bus accidents to recover financial compensation for the losses their injuries have caused them. In fact, these laws actually hold companies and organizations that provide public transportation to higher standards than other drivers under federal common carrier laws.
A common carrier is an entity that makes a profit by transporting people or property. Examples of common carriers are subways, trains, buses, and cabs. In addition to public transit companies, “amusement” transportation is also considered common carriers. For example, duck boats are used all across the country, including Boston, Arkansas, and Missouri, to drive tourists around the city for sightseeing tours. The companies that run these tours are legally deemed common carriers by the federal government. Trucking companies that transport goods and products are also considered common carriers under the law.
In a vehicle accident between two private citizens, the courts hold the at-fault party to the duty of reasonable care standard. Duty of care is the legal standard that courts use when a victim sues an alleged at-fault party for negligent or reckless behavior. Common carriers are held to a higher duty of care standard than private individuals. This is because the common carrier is asking the public, who pay for the common carrier’s service, to place their trust in the company that it will get the public to its destination safely.
Under Virginia law, common carriers are held at that higher standard because, according to the courts, “the passenger entrusts his safety to the carrier, who alone knows the condition of his vehicle and the dangers of the neighborhoods and environs through which the routes of travel may lie.”
Injuries from common carrier accidents can range from minor to catastrophic, depending on the circumstances of the crash. In addition to physical injuries, victims may also suffer emotional injuries, such as pain and suffering or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Victims of common carrier accidents can pursue injury claims against the party or parties who were liable for the accident for financial compensation for medical lost wages, and other losses. Families of victims who were killed in a crash may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Let a Virginia Accident Attorney Help
There are many causes of commercial bus and train crashes, whether the fault of the bus driver, vehicle malfunctioning, or another driver. If you have been injured in a commercial bus crash or other mass transit accident, contact an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for the losses your injuries have caused you to suffer. Call Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn today at 800-752-0042 to set up a free and confidential consultation and find out what legal options you may have.