Seven Common Causes of Mass Transit Accidents

By Greg Kohn

Accidents involving mass transit are not as common as accidents involving motor vehicles, but they do happen. When a mass transit accident occurs, many people may be injured or die because of the negligence or carelessness of an individual or entity. Government entities and common carriers owe a duty of care to passengers. When this duty is breached, the party or parties may be held liable for damages caused by the accident. A New Jersey Mass Transit accident lawyer can evaluate the cause of your injury and identify the parties that may be liable for your damages.

Seven Causes of Mass Transit Accidents in New Jersey

Negligence is a factor in most mass transit accidents. The negligence may be on the part of the driver, the owner, the operator, or a government entity. Mass transit accidents happen for a variety of reasons including:

  • Driver negligence, including fatigue, inexperience, speeding, drugs or alcohol impairment, distraction, and failing to observe traffic signals
  • Faulty or defective vehicles or parts
  • Lack of or negligent vehicle maintenance
  • Defectively designed or poorly maintained rails or roads
  • Incorrect dispatching
  • Inadequate security, lighting, or safety measures
  • Lack of training and supervision

Other factors may also be involved in a mass transit accident. Because passengers are not protected by seatbelts, airbags, or other safety features, the injuries in a mass transit accident can be catastrophic. Also, many mass transit vehicles travel at high rates of speed. High speeds combined with the lack of safety features can result in devastating injuries for passengers.

Mass Transit Accidents in New Jersey

Mass transit accidents in New Jersey may involve NJ Transit Buses, NJ Transit Trains, and NJ Transit Light Rail. A passenger or bystander may be injured if the train or bus collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, or object. A train may derail for a variety of reasons. Passengers may be injured while waiting at stations, bus stops, and platforms. Injuries also occur as passengers are boarding and departing buses and trains.

Who Is Responsible for a Mass Transit Accident?

A thorough accident investigation must be completed to identify the parties responsible for causing the accident. In many cases, the NJ Transit System is named as a defendant in a mass transit accident lawsuit. The NJ Transit System is responsible for managing the state’s buses, light rail lines, trains, bus stops, and train stations throughout New Jersey.

However, additional parties may be liable for damages, depending on the facts and circumstances in the case. For example, if another driver turns in front of a bus that is speeding, the other driver might also be a party to the lawsuit with the bus driver and NJ Transit System. If the braking system on a train has a defective part and the NJ Transit System failed to replace the part, the NJ Transit System and the parts manufacturer could be liable for damages if an accident occurs because of the defective part.

Because there could be many factors that contributed to the cause of a mass transit accident, it is best to consult an experienced New Jersey Mass Transit accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney needs to act quickly to identify the liable parties and gather evidence to prove fault.

Claims Against the NJ Transit System Have Different Rules

In most cases, you have up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident. However, the rules are different for claims involving government entities, including the NJ Transit System. An attorney who has experience handling these types of injury claims is aware of the special rules that apply in mass transit accident cases.

One important difference is the requirement to file a notice of claim. You must file a notice of claim with the NJ Transit System within 90 days of the accident that resulted in your injuries. Failure to file the notice of claim before the deadline can permanently prevent you from recovering compensation for your injuries and damages. In some very limited and specific cases, the court may allow someone to file a late notice of claim.

A New Jersey Mass Transit Accident Attorney Can Help Protect Your Right to Compensation

Claims and lawsuits involving government entities and agencies are complicated. Consulting with a New Jersey Mass Transit accident attorney as soon as possible after the injury can help ensure you take all necessary steps to protect your legal right to receive compensation for a mass transit accident.

Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey mass transit accident lawyers as soon as possible after the injury to ensure you protect your legal right to receive compensation for a mass transit accident.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.