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Injured on Public Transit? Here's What to Do

Being injured on public transportation can be disorienting and stressful, yet it is crucial to know the steps to take immediately after such an incident. Here's a comprehensive guide on what to do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, particularly given the unique legal considerations which pertain to public transit providers.

Immediate Actions to Take

  1. Seek Medical Help: If the injuries are severe, call 911 immediately for medical assistance. Even for minor injuries, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider as soon as you can after leaving the site.

  2. Inform the Authorities: Contact the police to generate an official accident report, which can be an invaluable resource for insurance and legal purposes.

  3. Notify the Transit Staff: It's essential to inform the driver or other transit personnel about the incident and your injuries. Ensure that an incident report is generated and that you obtain a copy.

  4. Gather Evidence: Document the circumstances that led to your injury. Capture photographs or video footage of the area, the hazard, and your own injuries. Also, inquire about available surveillance footage.

  5. Collect Witness Information: If there are any eye-witnesses, secure their contact details and, if possible, ask for a recorded statement.

  6. Consult an Attorney: Legal advice can be pivotal, especially in dealing with complex claims against public transportation providers.

Understanding the “Common Carrier” Law

Operators of public transport have a heightened responsibility under the law, often referred to as the "common carrier" obligation. This entails:

  • Regular maintenance and inspection of vehicles and equipment.

  • Thorough vetting of employees, including background checks and training.

  • Exercising due diligence to protect passengers from potential harm, including from third parties.

  • Implementing realistic schedules to discourage unsafe driving behaviors.

  • Warning passengers about possible hazards.

Statute of Limitations

In California, claims against public transit authorities must be filed within a six-month window from the date of the accident. Should the transit authority neglect to respond to your claim, you generally have a two-year period from the date of the injury to initiate legal proceedings. Missing these timelines may result in forfeiting your right to claim compensation.


The actions you take immediately following an injury on public transportation can greatly influence your ability to receive fair compensation. By following this guide, you will be better prepared to navigate the legal complexities that come with public transit injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a public transit accident, contact Phillips & Associates for a free consultation today. You will immediately be put in touch with John Phillips or Patrick DiFilippo, who can help determine whether you have a case and advise you on the best course of action moving forward.


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