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The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) services the city of Cincinnati and surrounding areas, providing people in our communities with a reliable and safe ride to work and other destinations. But accidents can happen anywhere. If you are injured on the bus, where do you go for compensation?
SORTA serves Hamilton County and commuter routes from Clermont, Warren, and Butler counties. The agency estimates that the provides about 15 million rides a year in the Cincinnati area alone, and the vast majority of them are without incident. So, while commuting via SORTA is standard practice for many, sometimes a procedure, policy, or mechanical equipment fails, and riders may be injured. Some of these injuries may be severe, due to presence of hardware, immoveable seats and large numbers of other passengers. The types of injuries in bus accidents tend to depend on the type of accident involved:
- Soft tissue injury, bruises, and whiplash top the list for most vehicular and bus accidents.
- In severe collisions or when the bus makes a sudden stop, broken bones, head injuries, and internal injury can occur.
- In a catastrophic collision, burns, spinal cord injury, and sudden death can result.
After an automobile or other accident, you look to the responsible party to pay for medical care and other compensation for injuries you suffer due to their negligence. So what happens when the other party is the city?
If you fall on a poorly maintained public sidewalk, are injured by a city bus, or are hurt in another public space, there are procedures to follow for seeking rightful compensation. The state is usually immune from liability, but there are rules and laws that offer a way to prove negligence and obtain compensation for your injury. Since SORTA is run by a non-profit, taxpayer-funded transit agency, those laws and rules apply to accidents involving their buses.
To bring a legal action against the city, your legal counsel will have to verify that a “special relationship“ existed between you and the city bus carrier. The criteria that apply are similar to those for finding negligence. Your attorney will need to prove the following about the cause of your bus injury:
- That the state assumed a duty to act on your behalf
- That employees or agents of the state knew that harm would occur if the state did not act
- That there was direct contact between you and the agents of the state
- That you relied on the state to conduct its duty
Once your attorney establishes that these criteria apply in your case, your action may move forward.