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The Bridgeport personal injury attorneys of Tremont Sheldon P.C.

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.

Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

If you are injured because of the fault or wrongful conduct of another person or entity, you may have the right to bring a lawsuit to recover money damages for your losses. Some examples of the types of incidents that give rise to personal injury claims include: car accidents, motorcycle accidents, falls, sexual abuse, workplace injuries, defective products, medical malpractice, legal malpractice and nursing home negligence. You should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to determine whether or not you have a case.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim or case?

Under the law, you generally have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit that is based on the negligent conduct of another person or entity. The time limitation for filing a lawsuit varies, however, depending upon the nature of the claim. With certain types of claims, there are also notice requirements that must be met before you file suit. It is therefore always wise to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to make certain that your case is not time-barred.

How long will my personal injury case take?

How long a personal injury case takes depends upon a number of factors, including how long you are required to be treated for your injuries, whether the responsible party contests how the accident happened or whether it caused your injuries, and whether the responsible party and his or her insurance carrier fairly evaluate your case. Typically, if a case does not settle, a case reaches trial approximately two years from the time that it is filed in court.

What damages am I entitled to claim in a personal injury case?

In Connecticut, you are entitled to claim two types of damages: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are intended to compensate you for past and future out-of-pocket losses. These damages may include compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and loss of earning capacity. Noneconomic damages are intended to compensate you for the past and future effects of the injuries on your life. These damages may include payment for your pain and suffering, permanent disability and loss of enjoyment of your normal activities of daily living.

How much of my time will be required?

Unless your case goes to trial, the actual amount of time that will require your personal involvement in a personal injury case is relatively minimal. The initial office conference to discuss your claim usually takes about one hour. Follow-up conferences to check on your medical progress and to update you on your case generally take less time and can be done in the office or by phone. If a lawsuit is filed, you would likely need to come into the office to review and sign certain papers required under our court rules. You may also be required to answer questions under oath at a deposition, undergo a medical examination by a doctor selected by the other party and attend a pretrial conference at court.

How much will it cost to go forward with a personal injury case?

Under the law, attorney fees in personal injury cases are paid on a contingency fee* basis. This means the fee is paid at the end of the case and is calculated on the amount of the final settlement or judgment. The fee is 33.33 percent of the first $300,000 of recovery, 25 percent of the next $300,000, 20 percent on the next $300,000, 15 percent on the next $300,000, and 10 percent on any recovery over $1.2 million. In addition, any costs incurred for medical records, court filing fees, depositions, expert fees, etc., are deducted at the end of the case from the settlement or court judgment.
*Contingency fee is defined as payment to an attorney for legal services that depends, or is contingent, upon there being some recovery or award in the case. The payment is then a percentage of the amount recovered. You pay nothing unless payment/recovery is received.

Can I sue someone if I am hurt at their home?

Property owners are responsible for the condition of their property. Dangerous property conditions must be swiftly addressed to keep those who may be visiting the property safe. Any given property could have security concerns or an area where guests and visitors might be more prone to a fall. Or, homeowners in Connecticut may not have their pets properly secured, leading to one of the most common causes of serious injuries: dog bites.

Whatever the circumstances of the injury you suffered, it is important to consider your options to attempt to recover compensation so that you can pay for medical expenses. In the case of a private homeowner, perhaps all you will need to do is submit a claim against the property owner’s homeowner’s insurance.

You are also allowed to sue a family member or submit a claim against a family member’s insurance policy. For example, you are at your aunt’s house and her dog bites you or you are at your cousin’s house and you fall through the deck. You are allowed to sue family members under Connecticut law in order to recover money to pay for your injuries and medical treatment.