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Can You Sue Public Transportation?


Taxis, trains, busses, trolleys, rideshares and subways: there are many ways to get around Florida. The convenience and availability of theses services make transportation a cinch. But who is responsible for injuries that occur as a result of taking public transportation?

Public busses, trains subways, rideshares taxis and trolleys are considered common carriers. This means their services exist with the authority and/or license of the government, and they must exercise the highest degree of care with all due diligence. In other words, passenger safety must be job one. When the promise of transportation occurs without reasonable safety precautions, it is called misfeasance. This may give rise to an actionable tort, wherein the negligence standards in Florida become relevant. Legally, common carriers owe a duty of care to their passengers, although it is unclear just how high that duty of care is in relation to individuals using their private vehicles. In general, if money has changed hands, the higher duty of care is expected, and negligence can be the basis for legal action. That being said, when an injury does occur, proving liability can be cumbersome.

In some cases, government immunity protects transporters from lawsuits except in particular circumstances. That is one reason you will want to secure experienced legal help in the event you incur an injury.

Proving Negligence and/or Bad Faith

In many legal situations involving a common carrier, negligence, or even bad faith, must be demonstrated. If there was a failure to caution riders of potential hazards of dangerous conditions, they may be liable. If a driver failed to clear the windshield, was texting while driving, or was driving recklessly, these would all be examples of negligence or bad faith. Beyond that, carriers may find themselves in court if they failed to adhere to industry regulations, or if they did not exercise the care that would be reasonably expected.

Proving these things to a legal standard requires some investigative work:

  • It must be established that the carrier owed riders a duty of safety;
  • It must be proved that the carrier breached that duty, resulting in injury to passengers;
  • It must be confirmed that the carrier’s breach of duty was the proximate, or primary issue leading to injury;
  • Injuries, either physical and/or emotional, must be documented.

While it may seem relatively simple to prove that the injuries were sustained due to the negligence of the carrier, the fact is that obtaining legal verification of these things can be a bit daunting. It may include expert testimony, eyewitness testimony, photographic evidence, or provider logs and records. It could also involve an analysis of regulatory statutes in comparison to the incident in question.

Your Legal Team

The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton are experienced in dealing with the red tape and legal considerations in cases such as these. We are familiar Florida statutes relating to common carriers, with statutes of limitations, and with combative insurance companies. Contact your legal team in our Daytona and Ormond Beach Offices today for a free, confidential consultation.