Were You Injured in a Public Transportation Accident?

Tremont Sheldon P.C. handles all types of public transportation accidents, including train, bus and school transportation accidents. Over 37 million passenger trips occurred on the New Haven line of the Metro-North Railroad and over 38 million passenger trips occurred on the Connecticut Statewide Bus System, according to a 2012 Connecticut Department of Transportation report. While most of these trips occurred without incident, some accidents did happen and lives were impacted.

Commuter Rail and Passenger Train Accidents

Millions of Connecticut residents use the Metro-North New Haven and Shore Line East rail lines to commute to school, work and other destinations each day. The Metro-North train typically runs smoothly and is able to deliver its passengers to their destinations in a safe and timely manner. From time to time, however, Metro-North train accidents and derailments do occur, often resulting in injuries and, in some cases, death. The causes of such public transportation accidents vary from case to case, but may include the following:

  • Improperly switched lines
  • Debris or power lines on the tracks
  • Faulty equipment or improperly maintained tracks
  • Fatigued operators or operators driving under the influence
  • Excessive speeds
  • Distracted operation, including texting or the use of a cell phone or other electronic device

The injuries sustained from such accidents are often extensive due to the large number of passengers and the often inadequate number of seats.

Connecticut Statewide Bus System Accidents and School Transportation Accidents

Thirty-eight million passenger trips take place on public buses each year. This amount of ridership, coupled with an ever-increasing amount of traffic, makes bus accidents even more common than train accidents or derailments. Service providers in Connecticut include the Connecticut Statewide Bus System that provides public bus transportation throughout the state of Connecticut, and the Greater Bridgeport Transit system that provides public bus transportation to the following towns: Bridgeport, Trumbull, Fairfield, Stratford, Shelton, Derby, Monroe, Westport, Norwalk and Milford. Most school districts in Connecticut contract their bus routes out to either independent drivers and/or major bus companies such as First Student Bus Company. Bus accidents are often caused by the following:

  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Driving at excessive speeds
  • Distracted operation, including texting or the use of a cell phone or other electronic device
  • Driving under the influence
  • Improper road safety such as switching lanes abruptly or not making proper or complete stops
  • Not driving cautiously enough during dangerous weather conditions such as flood, ice or snow events

Ferry Accidents

Ferry accidents, though uncommon in Connecticut, do happen. In fact, Connecticut has several passenger ferries that bring passengers to their jobs and leisure destinations each day. The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company transports commuters and other passengers across Long Island Sound to Bridgeport, Connecticut and Port Jefferson, New York. Ferry-related accidents can include:

  • Cars falling off
  • Collisions with other boats or objects
  • Hitting the dock at a rapid rate of speed or not docking properly
  • Not securing vehicles properly
  • Driving under the influence
  • Not using caution during severe weather conditions

Other Injuries Involving Public Transportation

In addition to train derailments, bus accidents and ferry accidents, injuries may also be sustained prior to boarding a Metro-North train, a Bridgeport public bus, or a Bridgeport to Port Jefferson ferry. These accidents are often caused by the following:

  • Faulty elevator equipment
  • Improperly maintained train platforms, bus shelters or other waiting areas
  • Trains or buses hitting pedestrians
  • Slick ramps

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a transportation accident, including bus, train, ferry, public or privately owned, please contact the experienced transportation accident attorneys of Tremont Sheldon P.C. for your free consultation. Tremont Sheldon P.C. has over 50 years of experience helping those injured on trains, public buses, ferries and cars and serves all towns in Connecticut.

Auto Accident Frequently Asked Questions

What is a personal injury attorney?

A personal injury attorney represents victims and their families who have been injured due to someone’s negligence or reckless actions. A personal injury attorney can help you find justice after an accident by pursuing compensation to help pay for your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering and damages depending on your case.

When should you contact a lawyer after a car accident?

You should call a lawyer before you speak to the insurance company. An attorney can protect your rights by collecting evidence, evaluating all options for recovery and negotiating with the insurance company to maximize the compensation in your case.

When should you hire an attorney after an accident?

Hiring an attorney is a big decision, especially after you have been injured. However, it is one that should be made as soon as possible so your right to file a claim is protected.

What are your rights after a car accident?

You have the right to pursue a legal claim against the driver responsible for the accident. To protect yourself, do not admit fault after an accident. You also do not need to make statements to the insurance company or sign any settlement agreements without consulting a lawyer first. Speaking to a lawyer can help you protect your right to file a lawsuit after an accident.

How do I know if I have the proper auto insurance?

Tremont Sheldon P.C. repeatedly reminds and educates our clients regarding the importance of having appropriate auto insurance coverage. Over and over again, we see clients who are left unprotected with inadequate insurance. Tremont Sheldon P.C. would like to share with you the seven do’s and don’ts for selecting the best auto insurance protection for your family.

1. DO understand your policy. Can you answer the following questions?
1. What is the amount of my bodily injury/liability (BI) coverage?
2. What is the amount of my uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage?
3. What can I do to obtain conversion coverage or double UM?

2. DO increase your UM/UIM coverage, if possible.
We always hear people tell us that they have purchased umbrella insurance coverage, yet they do not know their UM/UIM limits. While umbrella, excess and BI coverage protect you if you cause an accident, they afford no protection if an uninsured or underinsured motorist injures you. The only way to protect yourself is to increase your UM/UIM coverage and request double coverage. Example: If you have $300,000 BI and $300,000 UM, request double UM coverage and increase your UM limits to $600,000.

3. DO purchase underinsured motorist conversion (UIMC) coverage.
UIMC coverage guarantees that you and your family will be afforded the full extent of the coverage you purchased, no matter how much is recovered from the driver who caused the collision. Otherwise, the amount that you receive from the other driver will be deducted from your coverage. Example: At-fault driver pays out to injured person his $20,000 limited policy. Injured person has limited $50,000 without conversion. Injured person can only make claim for remaining $30,000 in coverage (50,000-20,000 = 30,000). With conversion coverage, injured person can make a claim for $50,000. If the injured person had double UM, he will have $100,000 of coverage in addition to the $20,000 received.

4. DON’T be cheap – be smart.
A few dollars saved can result in inadequate coverage, which basically is no coverage at all. Although the law only requires limits of $20,000 worth of coverage per person and $40,000 worth of coverage per accident, such limits are woefully insufficient to cover the costs resulting from serious injury. Remember to purchase the maximum amount of insurance that you can afford as it is money well spent.

5. DON’T “write down” your UM/UIM motorist coverage.
Always reject any offer to reduce your UM/UIM coverage to below the amount of your BI coverage.

6. DON’T be left without medical coverage.
The law no longer requires you to purchase no fault or medical benefit coverage. However, if you do not have health insurance coverage, you should still purchase this optional coverage in order to protect yourself. If you do have health insurance, the premium for this coverage may be better spent increasing your UM/UIM limits.

7. DON’T think “It won’t happen to me.”
Unfortunately, Tremont Sheldon P.C. has seen many situations where clients have been injured by uninsured or underinsured drivers and these clients have had inadequate UM/UIM coverage. Hopefully, you will never need it, but be smart and protect yourself.