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IL injury lawyerCrashing is far from the only way that passengers on public transportation can get hurt. In Illinois, “common carriers” - an old legal term for modes of public transportation - owe the highest duty of care to their passengers. Professional transportation agencies are legally bound to be much more careful about the safety of their passengers than say, a friend giving you a ride in their car. Even if the bus, train, or plane you were on did not crash, the transportation company operating it may still be liable for injuries you sustained while riding. The duty of care involves more than simply not causing an accident. The passenger areas of public transportation vehicles should also be designed and maintained so as to preserve customer safety. If you were injured while using public transportation, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney about whether you may be entitled to compensation.

How do Accidents on Public Transportation Happen?

Public transportation can be risky sometimes. Motor vehicle accidents are not the only causes of injury on public transportation. In fact, you are more likely to be injured in a manner that does not involve a crash. Common causes of injuries on public transportation other than crashes include:

  • Sudden stops - Bus drivers may sometimes need to slam on their brakes to avoid a crash. However, even if the driver avoids an accident, passengers may be violently thrown around due to a lack of seatbelts. Broken bones or even head injuries may result. In some cases, the driver would not have had to brake so suddenly and sharply if they had been paying better attention to the road or driving more carefully.
  • Inadequate security - Security on public transportation is critical. One of the most common dangers associated with public transportation is the other passengers. Common carriers cannot prevent all assaults committed by other passengers, but some degree of security should be offered. Drivers should never ignore an assault in progress taking place on a vehicle they are responsible for. Trains should be equipped with emergency alert systems, like a button or pulley that can be activated by passengers.
  • Falls - Falls are one of the top causes of injury on public transportation. The causes of falls are numerous, ranging from loose or missing handrails where they are needed to ignored spills to unsteady seats.

While public transportation agencies cannot prevent all injuries, they do have the highest duty of care to keep passengers safe. If you were injured on public transportation, an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation.

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Illinois has excellent public transit infrastructure, and commuters and visitors have the option to travel by train or bus all over the state. An unfortunate corollary of great public transit is the accidents that come from having so many vehicles on the road. Although buses and trains are generally very safe modes of transportation, accidents do happen and it is important to know your options if you are involved in a public transit vehicle accident in Illinois.

Was the Driver or Operator at Fault?

The first thing you need to know when determining whether you can take action against a public transit company is whether the accident happened because the driver of the bus or operator of the train was at fault. If you were completely at fault for the accident, you probably do not have a claim; if you were partly at fault for the accident, whether you can successfully sue will depend on how much of the accident was due to the actions of the other driver. Answering these questions and gathering evidence that proves the other driver was at fault often requires the assistance of attorneys or private investigators with experience in these types of accidents.

Can I Recover Damages For My Medical Expenses?

If you have been injured in a bus or train accident, you likely already know many of the ways people suffer after these incidents - in addition to the physical pain, medical treatment, and rehabilitative efforts, wages are often lost, and finding similar future employment may be out of the question. While every case is unique, the good news is that successful lawsuits often do compensate victims of bus crashes and help them pay for their medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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IL injury lawyerSchool buses, city buses, coach buses, and other types of buses transport millions of Americans across the U.S. Some people take a bus to school or work every day and never experience any problems. Unfortunately, other riders suffer serious injuries or even deaths. While rare, fatal and injury-causing bus accidents are not unheard of. Often, when someone is a victim of a bus accident, they face unique challenges recovering compensation for damages. Many buses are owned by government entities. This makes filing an injury claim against a bus driver or bus company particularly complicated.

Injuries Resulting from Bus Crashes

Bus riders assume that the vehicle is safe and that they will reach their destination without incident. However, bus accidents caused by negligent drivers, defective vehicles, poor vehicle maintenance, and other issues can lead to severe injuries. Bus accidents may involve:

  • School buses
  • Public transportation buses such as Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses
  • Private bus companies such as Coach and Greyhound
  • Shuttles
  • Tour buses
  • Private charter buses

Who Is Legally Responsible for a Bus Injury?

Determining fault in a bus accident case is often even more complicated than determining fault in typical car accident cases. This is because so many different parties can contribute to one serious bus crash. Sometimes, a bus crash is caused by a negligent bus driver. The driver may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting and driving, or simply too sleepy to stay alert. Often, the bus company is liable for a bus crash caused by a negligent driver. Bus accidents may also be the fault of third parties including other drivers. Bus crashes may be caused or worsened by poor road conditions, inadequate traffic signals, or dangerous intersections. A bus company’s failure to regularly inspect and maintain buses can also cause crashes.

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IL injury lawyerPublic transportation, including CTA buses and commuter trains, offers many benefits to Illinois residents, including convenience, reduced costs, and a lower environmental impact. However, choosing to use public transit also means placing your trust in the driver or operator to keep you safe from injury. If an accident happens because of the negligence of the driver or another party, you may be seriously injured. In this case, you should know the steps you will need to take in order to recover fair compensation.

Get Medical Help and Hire an Attorney

As with any personal injury case, there are a couple of things you should be sure to do as soon as possible after the accident. The first is to seek medical attention. This ensures that you have detailed information about the extent of your injuries, both for the sake of getting the treatment you need and for creating a record to support your injury claim. Second, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can help you immensely with the following steps and give you a better chance of recovering full compensation for your damages.

Determine Who Is At Fault

If you are injured in an accident as a public transit passenger, someone else is almost always at fault, but it may not be easy to identify exactly who because of all of the different parties that may be involved. Depending on the situation, the negligent party could be the operator of the bus or train, the government organization responsible for the transit system, the driver of another vehicle involved in the collision, or some combination of multiple parties. Thoroughly investigating the accident and speaking to witnesses can help you identify anyone from whom you can recover compensation. You should also know that according to Illinois legal doctrine, public transportation is a common carrier with the highest duty of care to passengers, which means operators can be liable even for injuries caused by third parties and other passengers.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysPublic transportation is a convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly form of transportation for many Americans. Commuters riding a city bus to work, children aboard school buses, and other bus riders often assume that riding a bus is a safer alternative than other forms of transportation. While the vast majority of bus rides are completed without issue, major bus accidents do happen. Passengers involved in a bus accident can suffer devastating, sometimes fatal, personal injuries.

Determining Fault for Injuries Sustained in a Bus Accident

Just recently, three women were killed and 17 others were injured when the charter bus they were riding on rolled down an interstate embankment in California. The official cause of the crash has not yet been established, but it is likely that rainy conditions contributed to the bus driver losing control of the vehicle.

Determining liability in a bus crash is often very challenging—especially when multiple vehicles are involved in the accident. Bus drivers are held to a high standard of care and are expected to do everything in their power to prevent foreseeable passenger injuries. A bus driver may be liable for damages caused in a bus accident if he or she was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a cell phone while driving, or otherwise acting negligently. It is also possible that liability lies with the company the bus driver works for or the party responsible for bus maintenance. If the cause of a bus accident is a malfunctioning piece of equipment, the manufacturer of the bus or equipment may be legally responsible for damages caused in the accident. The liable party in a bus accident could also be the driver of another vehicle.

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