Involved in a public transport accident? Here's what you should know

June 28, 2016

Public transportation performs a vital service for millions of Canadians each day. But what if you're involved in an accident while traveling via bus, train or other municipal or private carrier and you're injured – and even if you're not? What should you do? Here's some advice.

Involved in a public transport accident? Here's what you should know

A responsibility for safety

Companies that provide transportation services to the public are responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect the safety of their passengers. More often than not they do a commendable job. Unfortunately accidents sometimes still occur and in those instances, if ever you're  involved,  an experienced attorney can help ensure your rights are protected.

What exactly constitues an accident?
Accidents potentially include incidents where driver error, driver intoxication, distracted driving, mechanical failure and collision with one or more vehicles were factors that resulted in slips, falls or other types of injuries to the passengers.

Should you ever be involved in a public transport accident, some key things to keep in mind are:

1. Should you aid others who may need it if help seems far away?

Typically the onsite employees of the transport company involved are responsible to call for assistance.

  • If the transport company employee(s) is/are injured, unavailable or refuse to contact emergency authorities you should take matters into your own hands by calling for emergency services and notifying the police that there has been an accident.
  • Do not move anyone who has been injured in the collision. You may worsen his or her injuries.
  • As a general rule, a person is NOT required by law to assist another person who is injured or in danger. However, many states and provinces have passed “Good Samaritan” laws that provide immunity from liability to people who assist others when they are in need. As such, in most cases you are free to help others who are injured without fear of being sued.
  • Willfully wanton or reckless behaviour is not immune from liability.

2. Should you seek medical attention immediately after an accident?

It's always a good idea to be examined by a medical professional if you're involved in any type of accident, even if you do not believe you're injured.

  • Not all injuries are immediately apparent and some, such as exposure to certain chemicals, might manifest only with the passage of time.
  • What's more, some injuries are internal and can only be detected with specific medical tests. Keeping track of potential injuries as evidence may help down the line, if there's reason to believe a medical issue may be as a result of an old accident.

3. What kind of info should you collect right after the accident?

Chances are you'll be in shock following the accident. However, it's vital to collect and record as much information about the collision as possible.

  • Information to collect includes names and contact information from other passengers and transit employees.
  • If you can, take pictures without interfering with emergency responders.
  • Tempting as it might be, avoid posting the photos on social media in the event the investigation of the accident becomes criminal in nature.

4. Why is it vital to keep track of your medical tests and treatments?

If you're injured while riding on public transportation or in any other kind of motor vehicle, it's important to seek medical attention right away. This not only provides your attorney with a baseline assessment of  your current state of health, but also serves to establish a record of treatment if complications should occur or if additional treatments are required at a later date.

  • You should also speak with an experienced personal injury attorney without delay in order to protect your right to seek just compensation for your injuries, loss of income and other associated costs.
  • In a best-case scenario, the lessons learned from your situation may help to improve the safety of public transportation for future riders.

5. Why should you be careful with whom you discuss the details of the accident?

Most important to remember is that until you have secured legal representation, do not talk with the at-fault vehicle’s insurance company adjusters or anyone else other than the police about the nature and severity of your injuries or the circumstances of the accident.

  • The intention of the insurance company adjusters for the vehicle deemed at fault would be to gather as much evidence as possible to minimize the amount of compensation they would be required to pay out for the accident they caused.

At the best of times being involved in an accident is an upsetting experience, doubly so if you're injured while riding public transportation. That's why, after the initial moment of shock has passed and if you're physically capable, it's good to gather key facts that could help your case down the line.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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