Injured in Fall on a Bus...

by Elsa

I was on a city bus in September 2009 returning home from work when the bus came to standstill because of traffic. At that time I was sitting at the back of the bus so I got up and proceeded to walk up as the bus was stopped, but the bus started again and because of the high rate the driver accelerated at I fell over the steps inside of the bus. I got up visibly shaken.

That same evening I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. I went to the doctor who sent me for an X-ray and it was discovered that my lower back was shifted. I saw a back doctor who then determined that if therapy did not work he would have to put in a pin.

I took therapy for approximately 9 months without any relief. My doctor sent me for other tests and the MRI proved that the L4 and the L5 disc were bulging. I went to see an Orthopedic Specialists who then determined that I have to do a hip replacement. I'm now waiting to have that surgery.

Isn't the bus driver and the bus company responsible for paying my bills? What do I have to do to get them to pay for these medical costs and my pain?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Injured in Fall on a Bus...":

It is truly hard to say without knowing more details whether the bus driver was responsible for your injury and if so, whether you have missed the filing deadline.

In order to be responsible the bus driver must meet four elements. First, he owes you a duty to drive safely. There is no mistake that he does owe that duty to all passengers. The second element is breach and is usually the most difficult one to cross.

When the bus driver drove forward and stopped abruptly, is that considered a breach? Perhaps, but likely no. This may have been the fault of a pedestrian on the road, another vehicle or any other condition on the road. In this regard, it would be difficult to argue that an abrupt stop is prima facie breach on the part of a bus driver without more information.

The next problem is that local transit is typically managed by the city, in which case there is probably a 6 month or less statute of limitations to file any claims. Since this happened in 2009, you have likely missed the time period to file unless you filed such a claim by March 2010.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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