Passenger Injuries in CTA Bus Collisions
So you board the bus, pay your fare, and if you are lucky enough to find an open seat, plop yourself down, and patiently (or at least tolerantly) wait for the bus to bring you to your anticipated destination. As you travel along, the last thing you are probably thinking is that the bus could crash. While it is true that CTA buses are involved in less collisions than other motor vehicles, be careful not to let this statistical comparison give you a false sense of security. On average, nearly two dozen CTA bus accidents occur each month in the Chicago area. These include only 'reportable incidents,' though, which are defined as those that cause fatality, bodily injury requiring medical attention, or property damage that exceeds $25,000.
For those that regularly ride CTA buses, knowing the transit authority's bus crash incident rate may have heightened your concern as a passenger, and understandably so. When you use public transportation, you are essentially entrusting your safety to another. Unfortunately, the safety of passengers is often compromised due to the negligent, reckless, unlawful, careless, or unreasonable actions of bus drivers, transit officials, and even other road users.
Some bus collisions occur due to the actions of the person operating the bus, such as when a driver runs a red light, speeds, follows another vehicle too closely, or drives while distracted (i.e. texting, talking on phone, eating etc.). In some cases, fault for the crash can be traced back to the action or inaction of the transit authority itself, such as where the CTA fails to properly maintain the bus (i.e. braking/steering components; tires, etc.), or is negligent in hiring or supervising one of its drivers.
Other motorists or road users (pedestrians / bicyclists) can also cause a bus to collide, or stop abruptly in a manner that injures a passenger. Bus accidents have even been linked to a manufacturer that produced or distributed faulty or defective bus components. Sometimes, the combined negligence of multiple parties lead to a crash, or other incident that results in a bus passenger injury.
When a CTA bus passenger is injured in an accident, the victim can seek compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering, and other damages proximately caused as a result of the crash. Determining who to direct liability at generally depends on which person or entity was responsible for causing the accident, but can also depend on whether a tortfeasor, who is not affiliated with the CTA, carried sufficient insurance to compensate the victim(s) for harm sustained as a result of the crash.
More often than not, liability for injuries sustained by a CTA bus passenger, is directed at the transit authority, which is a governmental entity. It is important for victims to know that claims against the CTA vary from other types of personal injury cases. First, they must be brought within one year of the date of the incident, rather than the two-year statute of limitation that applies to most injury claims. Also, the CTA has a notorious reputation for fervidly defending valid claims, which often results in matters going to trial, as opposed to resolution via settlement.
As bus accident injury attorneys, we know the importance of investigating all remedial and compensatory options that may be available to the victim. We also understand the legal and procedural barriers that must be overcome with claims brought against the CTA. Most of all, we are experienced litigators, prepared to take a matter to trial in order to secure the compensation a victim deserves.
If you were involved in a collision while a passenger aboard a CTA bus, contact the Chicago Bus Injury Lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options. We provide FREE, no-obligation personal injury consultations, and never charge a fee unless we obtain a damage award on your behalf.