At least 26 people have been injured in a CTA bus accident in Chicago’s Far South Side. The incident offers an opportunity to examine the challenges of pursuing a personal injury claim for injuries sustained in a public transportation accident.
Cause of CTA Bus Accident Unknown
On the morning of October 17, 2018, just before rush hour, a westbound No. 71 bus was traveling on 71st Street near its intersection with Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. At 6:28 a.m., the bus rammed into a pole on the corner of that intersection.
26 people were reportedly hurt in the CTA bus accident. Of these, 21 people were transported to Trinity, Jackson Park, and University of Chicago Hospitals with minor injuries. Five other people who were injured in the CTA bus accident reportedly refused treatment at the scene, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
The cause of the CTA bus accident was not known at the time.
The Challenge of Public Transportation Claims
Chicagoans take over 500 million public transportation rides each year. With that many trips being taken, however, the risk of injury is significant. Trains can derail, buses can crash, and commuters can slip and fall in stations every day.
Because they are paid to transport the public, buses and trains are defined as “common carriers” under Illinois law. As common carriers, they are subject to a higher duty of care for the safety of their passengers, and their operators are therefore expected to be more cautious than regular drivers. Any failure to do so could be considered negligence, and those injured because of this negligence may have a valid personal injury claim against the company operating the vehicle in question.
However, recovering damages in a public transportation accident can be challenging. Often, there may be multiple potential causes, including faulty traffic and train signals, distracted operators, poorly maintained tracks, mechanical failure, or overloaded trains and buses. Sometimes another driver may be at fault instead of the public transportation operator; in that case, the plaintiff must pursue the insurance coverage for that driver’s vehicle.
A personal injury attorney with experience in public transportation accidents can promptly initiate a detailed investigation to figure out exactly what happened. Only by determining the cause or causes of a public transportation accident can the responsible party or parties be properly identified. Depending upon the nature of the accident, an injured person may be able to pursue a claim against the company operating the vehicle, the company maintaining the tracks, if any, the manufacturer of the public transportation vehicle, the driver of another vehicle, or some combination thereof. Identifying all the potentially at-fault parties in a timely fashion is essential because plaintiffs who fail to bring their cases forward within the time frame specified by law may find themselves prevented from obtaining compensation for their injuries.
Moreover, the time specified by law in which an injured party has to file suit or resolve a claim – known as the “Statute of Limitations” – is shorter in cases involving public transportation systems, which are typically owned by cities, municipalities, or other government entities. In Illinois, the Statute of Limitations is typically one year for personal injury cases involving municipalities, as opposed to the two years that an injured party has in cases brought against private parties. Again, failure to file a lawsuit or resolve a personal injury claim against a public transportation system within one year may result in an injured party being forever barred from doing so.
Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys
Because of the inherent difficulties involved in pursuing a personal injury claim for a public transportation accident, consider seeking out the assistance of the public transportation accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers.
At GWC, we have recovered over $2 billion recovered for our clients, earning our position as Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm.
You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys at any time. Call us at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.