Today’s Philadelphia injury lawyer article is about a very common type of SEPTA claims for bus “accidents”, which occur when the bus “jerks and jolts” in such a way so as to cause a passenger or passengers, personal injuries.
As we all know, when vehicles (whether they be cars, busses, motorcycles, etc.) travel on Commonwealth of Pennsylvania streets, the normal motion of the vehicle involves jerking and jolting. This happens on a bus when it has to stop suddenly due to any number of reasons; when the road itself has potholes or defects; or when the driver of the bus suddenly accelerates. The law in Pennsylvania takes into account that these types of things are common, ordinary occurrences that happen whenever a vehicle is in motion. These SEPTA accidents only involve the SEPTA vehicle, as opposed to when the vehicle collides with something.
It is VERY difficult for bus accident attorneys to recover damages for their personal injury clients in a SEPTA accident jerk and jolt case. And it makes sense. If passengers were allowed to sue SEPTA every time they had minor injuries due to the jerking and jolting of their vehicles, SEPTA would be out of business very quickly.
For that reason, the law in Pennsylvania is that a passenger can usually only get personal injury damages if it can be shown by their SEPTA Accident Lawyer that the jerk and jolt was so “unusual” or “extraordinary,” that at least two people were injured as a result of the jerking and jolting. As you can see, that is not an easy burden for bus accident attorneys to overcome.
That being said, I have recovered many, many times on behalf of my clients and against SEPTA for these types of Philadelphia bus “accidents.” I recently settled a case for $40,000 for a lone woman who was injured when the bus jerked and jolted, causing her personal injuries to her neck and back.
Although she testified that she was the only one actually injured, she also said that the force of the jolt was so strong that it knocked her out of her seat, onto the floor and her glasses flew off of her face. Luckily this was a reported accident (meaning SEPTA knew about it right when it happened), and my client was a great witness — very likeable.
So even though these types of Pennsylvania bus accident cases are difficult, they are not impossible. It always helps to report a SEPTA accident as soon as possible so SEPTA cannot later claim that they never knew that it happened (unreported). Of course, it also goes a long way if the injured party is a good, likeable person who was genuinely injured.