The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) is one of the largest, most reliable public transportation systems in North America, used by millions of Philadelphians and tourists daily. But with this winter’s cold, snowy, and icy conditions still making it dangerous to get around the City, accidents are bound to happen and it’s a good idea to review the procedures you should follow if you’re involved in a bus accident in PA before it happens.
An experienced Philadelphia SEPTA accident lawyer will be able to help you determine whether or not you have standing to recover damages if you have an accident, but there are a few steps you must take in order to protect any potential case.
If you are a passenger during a bus accident in PA, time is of the essence.
The driver should give you an accident report form to fill out. Complete this form immediately and give the driver his copy. This proves that you were actually on the bus during the accident. Unfortunately, SEPTA is often subject to fraud, wherein people board a bus directly after the accident and attempt to claim an injury. This is the main reason that many SEPTA buses have cameras now, and in the future, ALL buses will. The best way to protect your own claim is to make sure you’ve submitted the correct and appropriate paperwork.
Besides the official paperwork you get from your driver, make sure to get his or her name and write a brief physical description, including their race, gender, approximate height and weight, and any distinguishing characteristics. Note the time, date, bus number and route number.
The Jerk and Jolt Rule
If you believe your injury is the result of a sudden stop, special rules apply that are separate from standard procedures for a bus accident. PA “jerk and jolt” rules are intended to protect riders in case of unusually rough stops or sudden lane changes. You may want to talk briefly with the passengers who were near you on the bus. Having other passengers who can explain the situation accurately and consistently with your version will help build your credibility when you present your case. These types of cases are very difficult if you are the only passenger claiming injury. It always helps when at least 2 passengers make injury claims. To get the best information about jerk and jolt cases, be sure to call a qualified lawyer who understands the steps you must take in case of a bus accident, PA law, and SEPTA’s procedures.
Report your injury to your healthcare provider immediately.
Even if an emergency room visit is not necessary, make an appointment to see your primary care physician as soon as possible. SEPTA will request or subpoena copies of your medical records. If these records don’t support your claim, they will deny or delay it, postponing your potential settlement and perhaps forcing the case into litigation.
Because it is an agency of the Commonwealth, the law is particularly complex when it comes to SEPTA accidents. Remember, you need an experienced SEPTA accident lawyer on your side if you are involved in a bus accident.
PA and Philadelphia injury lawyer Jeffrey Harlan Penneys is available at 1-800-465-8795 (1-800-injury-law) for a no-cost consultation to determine if you have an actionable case.