Serving Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is the sixth-largest public transit system in the United States, carrying millions of passengers every year. Although your mathematical risk of being injured in a SEPTA accident is lower than what you would face if you drove your own vehicle the same distance, that comforting statistic is going to mean little if you are one of the ones injured.
As a government entity, however, SEPTA is protected by the Pennsylvania Sovereign Immunity Act – basically, it can only be sued to the extent the Act allows, resulting in certain legal quirks that you need to know about. You cannot sue SEPTA, for example, for an accident that occurred when the vehicle was not moving. Additionally, filing deadlines are shorter, and strict limitations on damages apply.
The Pennsylvania legal system is a bureaucratic maze, especially when you are pursuing a claim against SEPTA. Of course, depending on the facts of your particular case, SEPTA might not be the only party you can pursue a claim against – a third-party motorist, a product manufacturer, or even a pedestrian might share the blame or hold complete liability.
SEPTA accident claims don’t enforce themselves, of course. The Pennsylvania civil compensation system requires the application of a considerable amount of energy and expertise to turn an abstract personal injury claim into the tangible reality of money in the bank. After two decades handling SEPTA accident claims, however, putting money into the bank accounts of personal injury victims is what I do best.
My Clients Speak Out
“Jeff is down to earth, like a personal friend. I feel super comfortable in his presence and also with his knowledge of the law. I would and will highly recommend him to friends and family.” – Raymond
“I was hit from behind. The Ins. Company was giving me a hard time. I called Jeffrey and he figured the problem out in an hour. The police officer gave me the wrong numbers for the police report. Awesome job!!!!” – Jamie
My Other Areas of Practice
Bus Accidents: A bus accident claim can arise from a SEPTA accident (regardless of whether SEPTA was at fault), a school bus accident, or some other type of bus accident. Normally, pursuing compensation for a bus accident will involve filing a claim against the government at the local level, which triggers special requirements.
Car Accidents: More personal injury claims arise from car accidents than from just about any other cause. Pennsylvania gets more than its share of injury accidents, with about 150 people injured every single day. Most of these accidents are caused by the carelessness of one of the drivers, although some are caused by pedestrians and others are caused by defective auto parts.
Bicycle Accidents: You can reduce your chances of dying in a bicycle accident by 95 percent by wearing the right kind of bicycle helmet. No matter how careful you are, however, you cannot make riding a bicycle as safe as riding a car, because bicycles are difficult to see and because they offer virtually nothing in the way of frame protection.
Truck Accidents: Commercial trucks, particularly 18-wheelers, carry so much momentum on a downhill grade that it can be difficult to stop in time to avoid slamming into anything in its way. The likelihood of an accident increases further on wet or icy roads. Accidents tend to be serious, and claim values tend to be high.
Medical Malpractice: A good doctor is worth his weight in gold. A careless doctor, on the other hand, is a public menace. While even a good doctor can make a mistake that adds up to professional malpractice, a disproportionate number of malpractice claims involve a relatively small group of doctors and other health care professionals.
Slip and Fall Accidents: A slip and fall accident can sometimes give rise to a personal injury claim if it occurs on someone else’s property. Owners and occupiers of premises have a duty to keep their premises safe for guests. In some cases, a watered-down version of this safety obligation applies even to trespassers (a child taking a shortcut home, for example).
Dog Bites: In some states, you cannot win a dog bite claim against a dog owner unless the owner had reason to believe that the dog was capable of aggressive behavior. Not so in Pennsylvania – a dog owner is considered strictly responsible for the dog’s behavior, although the owner’s lack of knowledge of the dog’s dangerous tendencies might reduce the damages available to you in some cases.
Wrongful Death: When a personal injury victim dies as a result of the injury that gave rise to the claim, the claim does not die with him or her. Instead, it becomes a wrongful death claim, enforceable in favor of close relatives of the victims. A defendant does not have to be guilty of a criminal offense to be liable for a wrongful death claim.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What information should I gather immediately after a SEPTA traffic accident?
If you are not too seriously injured, try to obtain:
- The SEPTA vehicle number
- The approximate time of the accident
- Contact details for witnesses and other victims
- The name of the driver
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
It is VERY Important to fill out a SEPTA Incident Card! If the driver does not offer one, please ask! If you don’t do this, it’s OK–it just makes it easier to confirm you were on the SEPTA vehicle.
What special considerations apply when I sue a government entity like SEPTA?
You must comply with the SEPTA notice of claim requirement within six months of the accident. You must keep your SEPTA Incident Card in order to file a lawsuit, and some grounds for a lawsuit are barred. Other restrictions apply as well.
What is the SEPTA notice requirement?
Before you file a lawsuit against SEPTA, within 6 months from the date of the accident, you must notify SEPTA in writing of:
- Your intention to file a claim
- Your name and address
- The date and time of the accident
- The place where the accident occurred
- The name and contact details of your doctor
Are there any limitations on how much I can win for a SEPTA accident?
Yes. The maximum compensation is $500,000 per person and $1,000,000 aggregate per accident, no matter how many victims there are. The aggregate limit could be problematic if your damages are high and there were dozens of people injured in the accident.
Should I settle my claim or file a lawsuit?
The best strategy is usually to seek settlement first, but file a lawsuit if SEPTA is uncooperative or makes a low-ball offer. You can then return to the settlement table and seek an out-of-court resolution while you wait for trial. Most SEPTA claims are resolved before trial.
Will my personal injury verdict or settlement be taxed?
What are the most common causes of vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania?
The most common cause of vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania are distracted driving, intoxicated driving, speeding, drowsy driving, and poor weather. SEPTA accidents in particular are considerably less likely to arise from intoxicated driving, although on occasion a third party motorist will cause an accident with a SEPTA vehicle due to intoxicated driving.
What happens if the accident was caused by an uninsured third party?
If a SEPTA accident is caused by an uninsured third party, SEPTA uninsured motorist insurance will pay up to $15,000 per victim and an aggregate of $30,000 per accident, no matter how many victims there are. $30,000 is very little if it has to be divided among multiple accident victims.
Will our conversations remain confidential?
Yes. Not only is it against the law for me to divulge our communications to anyone without your permission, it is against my own personal ethical standards. Your secrets are safe with me, and always will be – the end of my representation is not the end of my confidentiality obligation.
My Legal Services are Free Unless You Win
I win about 95 percent of my cases. A batting average of .950 allows me a certain flexibility that I wouldn’t enjoy if every case were a roll of the dice. Because I only lose about five percent of the time, if I don’t win your case, I will tear up my legal bill and you will owe me nothing in legal fees for my entire period of representation. It is the strength of your claim that matters to me, not the size of your wallet.
Time is Running Out
The first step in obtaining compensation for a SEPTA accident is choosing the right personal injury lawyer to represent you. Because tight deadlines apply to SEPTA claims, especially in multi-victim accidents, it is important that you get started right away. Your choice of lawyer might turn out to be the most important decision you make this year.
I devote 100 percent of my practice to helping personal injury victims, just as I have done for the last two decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a SEPTA accident, call me at 800-465-8795 (office), 215-771-0430 (cell), or fill out my online contact form, so that we can schedule a free initial evaluation of your case.