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Mass Transit Accidents Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City is not known for mass transit. In fact, voters defeated a ballot measure more than 15 years ago that would have provided funding for a light rail system. Nonetheless, the city has an expanding bus system and a streetcar that traverses downtown Kansas City at no charge to riders.  

Somehow, being on a bus or streetcar can make you feel safer than being in a car. However, mass transit vehicles are involved in injury-causing accidents all the time. If you or a loved one has been in one, you might be wondering, who is responsible for compensating you? How challenging is the process? The answer to both is, “It depends.” 

At Burgess Law Firm PC, we represent clients and their families who are injured or killed in public transit accidents in Kansas City, Missouri, and throughout the metro area. We know where to look for compensation in wrongful death or personal injury claims involving mass transit options. Someone was at fault, and it was not you. 

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What Are the Prevalent Causes of Mass Transit Accidents?

There could be a multitude of explanations for why a mass transit accident occurs. However, there are some causes that appear to be more common than others:  

  • The operator of the bus, trolley, or train may be negligent. Just as a car driver owes a duty of care while operating a vehicle, a mass transit operator owes a duty of care to everyone in the vehicle and everyone else on the roadway. A lack of sleep, distractions, and other reasons may cause operator negligence.  

  • The mass transit vehicle may have defective parts that cause an accident. Acceleration and braking systems, tires and wheels, signals, and other compromised parts may interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle.  

  • Rails and roadways may be improperly maintained or neglected. Heaving or crumbling pavement, loose or buckled rails, or even defective signaling systems may be to blame.  

  • The transit vehicle may not have been properly inspected and maintained. These types of commercial passenger vehicles are subject to strict compliance with federal regulations. 

  • An operator’s lack of training is also a common cause of public transit accidents. Operating one safely is much more complicated than operating a regular motor vehicle. If a driver lacks sufficient training, accidents occur.  

Who Is Liable in a Mass Transit Accident?

Liability in a mass transit accident usually extends beyond the operator of the transit vehicle. To prove liability requires evidence that the party owed you a duty of care, that the party breached that duty of care, and that as a result, you suffered injuries and incurred damages.  

Any one or more of the following may share fault:  

  • If driver error or negligence contributed to causing the accident, the transit system may be liable because the driver was working in the agency and scope of the Kansas City Transit Authority (KCTA). As the employer, the KCTA is responsible for the training, hiring, firing, and supervision of its employees. That includes not only the drivers, but those responsible for the maintenance of vehicles, rails, and signals.  

  • A governmental entity, such as the city or county government, may be liable if the accident was caused by a hazard it is responsible for, such as the roads, potholes, or traffic signals.  

  • If a defective part of the mass transit vehicle contributed to causing the accident, the manufacturer of the part may be held liable.  

  • If the accident was caused by the negligent operator of another vehicle, such as a car or truck, the driver may be liable. If the driver was working in the scope or agency of anyone else at the time of the crash, the employer may be liable as well.  

How Do I File a Claim?

One of the most important steps in pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death claim is to name all parties with liability. That is determined as a result of a thorough investigation, expert analysis, and comprehensive collection of evidence. Those are precisely what your personal injury attorney will provide for you.  

Because these claims can be quite complex, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence and ensure that you do nothing that may compromise your claim.  

If your loved one was incapacitated in the accident, you will need to petition the court to appoint a conservator who can pursue the personal injury claim.  

If your loved one would have been able to pursue a personal injury claim had they survived their accident injuries, a surviving spouse, children, parents, and lineal descendants may pursue a wrongful death action to recover damages to them and to the estate of their loved one.  

Although Missouri has a generous statute of limitations in personal injury claims of five years, the statute is only two years for wrongful death. In either case, do not delay hiring an attorney.  

Mass Transit Accidents Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri

Not all personal injury attorneys have the expertise to pursue claims resulting from public transit accidents, but we do. You can count on us to treat you with compassion while we aggressively pursue compensation for your damages, no matter how complex the case or how many attorneys the insurance company hires to defend the claim against them. Call Burgess Law Firm PC in Kansas City, Missouri, now to schedule a free case consultation.