What You Need to Know about SEPTA Accident Claims
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) provides transportation to hundreds of thousands of people daily in the five counties that it serves.
Whether you take a bus, train, subway, or trolley, chances are you have ridden on SEPTA at some point.
With these many passengers using SEPTA, accidents are bound to happen.
However, injured victims need to realize that obtaining compensation in a SEPTA accident is not the same as other accident cases, like a car accident involving two private citizens.
Instead, if SEPTA is to blame for your injuries, you will need to make a SEPTA claim on the government, which carries a host of problems.
You should reach out to an experienced SEPTA accident attorney at PhillyLaw to help you with the claim process.
Pre-Settlement Requirements for a Filing SEPTA Accident Claim
Like other states, Pennsylvania cannot be sued in court under the concept of sovereign immunity. Fortunately, Pennsylvania has made several exceptions, one of which involves situations where you are injured because of the negligence of a municipality or one of its employees, such as a bus driver.
Pennsylvania has also adopted many procedural hoops that injured victims need to jump through. These pre-suit requirements can make it harder for someone who is representing himself to obtain fair compensation.
It is critical that you hire an attorney who is experienced in SEPTA claims so that you meet all requirements.
You Must File a Notice of Intent
Pennsylvania law requires that you give the government notice of your intent to sue before you actually file suit in court.
If you fail to give this requirement to the SEPTA accident claims department, your case can be dismissed.
The notice of intent requirement exists to give the government an opportunity to investigate and possibly settle, though settlements are rare.
Your notice must have certain information, such as:
- The name and residential address of the person who has been injured
- The day and time of the accident
- The location of the accident
- The name and office of the doctor who attended you for injuries
SEPTA has a form that you can fill out. You can obtain it from either the SEPTA accident claims department or ask your attorney.
Filing an inadequate notice will impair your ability to get compensation.
However, you can also hamstring your case by including too much information.
An experienced SEPTA claims attorney can make sure that you submit an effective, adequate notice of intent to the correct agency in a timely manner.
You Have Short Time Limits
If you were injured in an accident with another driver, you typically have 2 years to bring a lawsuit for compensation. When suing the government, however, you have shorter deadlines—much shorter.
In most cases, you only have six months to take action, and the clock starts ticking from the date of your accident. If you miss this deadline, then you will lose the ability to receive compensation for your SEPTA claims.
The Amount of Money You Receive is Limited
The state also puts limits on the amount of compensation you can receive. Under the law, you can only receive a maximum of $250,000 per claim up to $1,000,000 per accident.
These caps won’t affect many victims, especially those with minor or moderate injuries. However, if you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic loss, such as paralysis or a severe brain injury, then you might not get fully compensated for the accident.
You also cannot receive punitive damages for your claim, which are sometimes available when the defendant’s conduct has been particularly egregious. No matter how negligent SEPTA has been, you will not receive punitively.
You Should Retain Your Incident Card
After an accident, SEPTA should hand out incident cards. These cards serve as proof that you were involved in the accident and aren’t trying to make a dishonest claim for compensation.
You will need to fill it out with personal information. SEPTA will keep the card but give you a copy. Make sure to retain it and keep it someplace safe. Your attorney will want to see it.
What happens if SEPTA forgets to give a card? Don’t worry. Buses now have cameras which we can use to establish you were really on the bus.
Experienced SEPTA Claims Attorneys in Philadelphia
Mass transit accidents happen with some regularity. If you have been injured, or if someone you care about was killed in an accident, please contact us.
We have deep experience with SEPTA claims and can work to get you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
We offer a free case review, where we can answer your questions and analyze the surrounding circumstances.