What are my rights if I am injured on public transport?

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Using public transport has many positive aspects including reducing transportation costs, saving on fuel, eliminating the cost of vehicle insurance coverage and reducing environmental damage. However, there can be some downsides with the use of public transportation. It is possible for buses, trains and other forms of public transportation to fail or crash, which in turn causes members of the public to be injured. In addition, negligent acts by those who drive or operate public transportation can also cause harm.

Bus, Train or Ferry injuries are covered under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act of New South Wales, and the New South Wales Road and Traffic Compensation Scheme. These legislations cover the following forms of transportation and the possible injuries that those being transported might incur.

  • Light Rail Accidents
  • Train accidents 
  • Buses
  • Long Distance Coaches
  • Tourist Coaches

The types of accidents that can be recovered from are not only accidents that arise out of a crash occurring while you are using public transportation. While this type of accident is the most common one that people think of, other types of accidents you can recover compensation from include injuries arising out of;

  • A quick stop that causes you to fall or hit a part of your body against the inside of the compartment you are riding in
  • Tripping on a step or platform that is inherently dangerous or out of compliance with regulations
  • Being hit by public transport i.e.: when crossing a street

The losses that can be compensated for include;

  1. Lost income during recovery from the injury, and possibly loss of future income 
  2. Medical expenses
  3. Permanent physical incapacitation
  4. Expenses for care and assistance during recovery and/or as a result of permanent injury

Prior to making a claim, there are some steps you must take. These steps include contacting the police at the scene of the injury or immediately thereafter to create a police report. The report must indicate the date, time and place of the accident and describe the resulting injury. If the injury is the result of a faulty step or broken door or any other physical source, it is important to take a picture of the negligently maintained area(s). 

If there were witnesses present it is imperative that the police take their statements also. While it is true you have twenty-eight (28) days to report an incident of this nature to the police, it is best to contact authorities as soon as practicable to the actual occurrence. Early reporting will help ensure that details are accurate and witness information is preserved.

Once the incident has been reported the police will provide you with a copy of the police report. At this juncture, it is most advantageous to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The attorney will then apprise you of the timelines for making a claim for compensation. Most offices will advise that you make your claim within 12 months of the date of the accident. However, the claim can be made up to three years after the occurrence.

There are various types of compensation available including monetary damages and the payment of medical expenses incurred. These payments can take various forms, including a lump sum payment to the injured party and/or direct payment to medical providers for the cost of treatment. Each case will be different, hence consulting with an attorney who specializes in the area of personal injury is highly advisable.

The most important take away information about being injured on public transportation is to report the incident immediately to the police, give accurate details about the occurrence, take pictures of any injuries or areas that were negligently maintained which caused the injuries, preserve all witness information. If you do these few steps immediately and efficiently, you will have a much easier time proving your claim for a compensable injury.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.


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