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What Is a Common Carrier Accident?

If you’ve ever gotten into an accident with another driver and it wasn’t your fault, then that driver is responsible. Their insurance company is supposed to cover your damages related to the accident. However, if you get into a common carrier accident, the type of legal action you should pursue isn’t always so clear. By learning about what common carrier accidents are, you can determine what your next steps are going to be after you experience an injury.

Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with common carrier accident injures. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours.

All About Common Carrier Accidents

Common carriers are buses, trains, planes, taxicabs, uber, lyft, and other businesses that carry goods and/or people from place to place. While taking public transportation, going on a flight, or sitting in the backseat of a cab, uber, or lyft, may be more convenient than driving around on your own, and even necessary, accidents and injuries do occur.

For instance, you could get injured if a bus driver isn’t paying attention and they crash into a parked car. A train could go off the rails because of a signal malfunction, or an aggressive cab, uber, or lyft driver may speed through a light and end up getting hit while you’re a passenger. A pilot could fail to put on the “fasten seatbelt” lights when they hit heavy turbulence in the sky, and you could get hurt.

While going after a claim for an auto accident is pretty straightforward, a claim for a common carrier incident may not be. They have different standards to apply; and while they may not guarantee passenger safety, they are liable for injuries that occur as a result of their negligence.

Proving Negligence in a Common Carrier Accident

Proving common carrier negligence will always be improved by having a knowledgeable, experienced, premiere personal injury firm on your side.

Here are some examples of common carrier accidents that could apply:

A bus operator or pilot of a plane failing to properly de-ice their windshield before taking you and the other passengers from one destination to the other. They couldn’t properly see out of their windows and crashed, which caused you to suffer an injury (or even the death of a loved one). You now have to deal with that pain every day and pay bills related and caused by the company you relied upon to keep you safe.

In another case, a malfunction caused controls of a plane to operate improperly. They had to make an emergency landing and you were injured when the plane landed. You had to get treatment and you still have pain and issues from your injury months later.

It can be hard to prove negligence, though, which is why it’s critical to contact a personal injury lawyer right after your accident occurs to get your case up and running.

Regulatory Issues with a Common Carrier Accident

Common carriers are also responsible to know state and federal laws, and regulations from regulatory bodies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

For example, in a public bus, signage is required stating that you need to stay behind the yellow line in order to stay safe.  If you are within that area and, as a result, end up getting injured, this could be actionable.

Aside from negligence and regulatory issues, something else that makes common carrier cases unique is that the statute of limitations may be different.  It may be shorter. It may require action within six months instead of two years. Ideally, you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer within hours or days of the accident to ensure you have the best possible chance of winning your case.

What to Do After a Common Carrier Accident

Following a common carrier accident, collect as much proof as possible to show that you were not responsible for your injury. If you are not too badly hurt to do so, take photographs of the scene and of the common carrier as well as any visible injuries. Gather witness statements and/or information from other passengers and people who saw what happened.  Take video footage if you can. If the police were called, note which department responded so we can collect that police record later on. Note if there were any cameras that could have caught what happened on tape. Then, go to the doctor or hospital immediately to treat your injuries.

Get X-rays and any other recommended tests done to see if you experienced internal injuries you may not be aware of in the moment. Stick to your doctor’s treatment plan, which may mean going to follow-up appointments, taking medications, and getting more tests done. This is going to be critical when proving your case, because you’ll need to show not only that you suffered from an injury, but that you took your medical care seriously and followed instructions.

If the common carrier or their insurance provider calls you to discuss the accident or to offer you a settlement, don’t discuss it. They are not in the business of paying out the right settlement to plaintiffs.  They are in the business of saving money. If they start asking you details about what happened, politely decline to answer questions and refer them to your personal injury lawyer.

During an initial consultation, your personal injury lawyer will ask you what happened and gather any proof you have. If you need additional proof such as medical records, the attorneys will collect them for you. They’ll do everything they can to make your case as strong as possible and negotiate a fair settlement, or take the case to trial if that becomes necessary. And the best part about the entire process? You won’t pay them anything unless they can get you a monetary recovery.

Contact Heiting & Irwin for Help

If you were in any type of common carrier accident, you need legal representation.  It’s time to find a personal injury lawyer. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the money that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case today.

The only past President of the State Bar of California ever elected from the Inland Empire, James Heiting handles civil litigation matters throughout California, recovering over $400 million for clients, dealing with wrongful death, serious injury, professional malpractice and transportation accidents. Also past President of Riverside’s County Bar, his firm has served the Inland Empire for over 30 years. View Attorney James Otto Heiting's Attorney Bio Here.

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