Fault in an accident is important.
After all, fault determines which party is financially liable for injuries.
When you ride public transportation, you expect that the driver of that bus or subway will be responsible and keep you safe. If an accident occurs, you feel betrayed and may place the blame on the driver or operator. Yet, how do you know SEPTA was truly the party at fault?
While SEPTA owes you a duty of care as a passenger, they may not always be the party at fault for your accident and injuries.
How is Fault Determined?
The fault is determined by a variety of pieces of evidence. For starters, each driver statement is taken, police reports are assessed, and witness statements examined. Photographs of the accident scene might also help attorneys determine who was at fault. Of critical importance is the SEPTA video of the accident–most SEPTA vehicles have video cameras that can capture the accident from multiple angles. These videos can make or break the case.
Sometimes, the driver of the SEPTA bus is at-fault. Other times, it could be the driver of the passenger vehicle. In other cases, both parties share part of the responsibility.
Determining fault is complex, and it requires experience handling these types of cases to collect the evidence and properly determine who would be at fault.
When is SEPTA Not at Fault?
As mentioned, SEPTA is not always at fault. Other parties that may be at-fault could include:
- Other Drivers – Sometimes, another motorist could be at-fault for the accident. For example, the driver of a passenger vehicle decides to cut off a SEPTA bus. This forces the driver to rear-end the passenger vehicle. While the bus struck the other vehicle, the other vehicle’s actions caused the accident.
- Manufacturer – The manufacturer of safety components on the bus or another vehicle responsible for the accident could be held liable. For example, a passenger vehicle has faulty tires that cause a blowout and result in an accident between SEPTA and the passenger vehicle. In this case, the manufacturer would be responsible for that incident.
- Another Bus – SEPTA buses do not come in singles; in fact, there are several on the road at the same time. Two buses can collide leaving bus stops, entering traffic, and especially in depots. If the other bus was a SEPTA bus, then SEPTA is still responsible. If it was a private company, such as a tour company, then that bus’s owner would be responsible.
- If the SEPTA vehicle is STOPPED at the time of an accident, it is very difficult to hold SEPTA responsible for liability and medical bills.
When is SEPTA at Fault?
SEPTA could be at fault for an accident regardless if another vehicle was involved. This can include an operator error, improper bus maintenance, or other negligent actions.
If SEPTA is at-fault for the incident, then they are also responsible for paying victim’s damages. Filing a claim against SEPTA is not the same as filing against a private party’s insurance company. In SEPTA cases, you must notify the government of your intention to file a claim. Furthermore, you need a SEPTA accident attorney.
For your SEPTA accident, speak with Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. He can help you determine who was at fault and walk you through the process of filing a claim against SEPTA.
To get started, contact him on his cell at 215-771-0430, toll-free at 800-465-8795, or at the office 215-987-3550. You can also request your free case evaluation online by filling out the online contact form.