Many buses in Chicago are operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and are part of the city’s public transportation network. Unfortunately, taking legal action after a CTA bus accident is tricky because a municipal entity is involved.
Immediately after an accident with a CTA bus, you should call for emergency help. If possible, you should also take photos of the scene, speak to other people involved in the accident, and talk to the police. Taking these steps might make it easier to file a lawsuit against the bus driver, the city, and any other drivers who played a part in causing the collision. Bus accidents tend to be massive events where multiple people are badly injured. You might have significant economic and non-economic damages on the line, and an attorney can help you get compensation.
After a CTA bus accident, our Rockford bus accident lawyers can help you hold the negligent bus driver and their employer liable for your damages. Call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 for a free case review.
Steps to Take After Getting Hit by a CTA Bus in Chicago
Immediately after a CTA bus accident, you need to call for emergency help. Call 911 and ask for the police and an ambulance to be dispatched to the scene. If you are too badly hurt to call for help, someone else should do it for you. Your primary focus should be on getting help as quickly as possible.
If you can, you should take photos and record videos of the scene. These recordings might save important details that are useful in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Taking photos is also important because the accident scene will be cleaned up quickly, and these details might be lost if they are not recorded. Remember, you should only try to take photos and record videos if you feel physically able to do so and it is safe.
While you wait for help to arrive, you should try to get information about the bus driver. Try to verify that the driver works for CTA and was on duty during the accident. If the police arrive before emergency medical personnel, you should speak to them about the accident. They likely need a statement from you and others involved in the accident so they can write a crash report.
Getting to the hospital as quickly as possible is your top priority. You should take photos and speak to others at the accident scene if you can, but do not push yourself. Our Chicago bus accident lawyers can help you fill in the gaps in the case later.
Whom to Sue for a CTA Bus Accident in Chicago
One of the most important parts of a lawsuit is determining whom you need to name as the defendant. It is crucial that you name the right person or people because they can only be held liable if we remember to include them in your complaint. Our Naperville bus accident lawyers can review the crash with you to determine who should be held liable.
The Driver of the Bus
In many CTA bus accident cases, the primary defendant is the bus driver. Since the bus driver was the one behind the wheel at the time of the accident, they are often the direct and proximate cause of the accident. Even so, it is not enough to simply prove that the bus driver was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. We also need to prove they were negligent.
Negligence involves proving four legal elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Each element must be established to prove the bus driver’s negligence. Duty is the legal obligation the bus driver owes you. This duty might look different if you were a passenger on the bus versus another driver on the road. In either case, some duty of safety is owed. The breach is whatever the bus driver did to violate their duty, and causation is the link between the breach and your injuries. Finally, you have to prove that your damages and injuries are real and not just possibilities or hypothetical.
Since the bus driver is a public employee, your deadline to sue is much shorter, and you have only 1 year from the accident date to file the case. Suing public employees and municipal entities is discussed in further detail below.
The City of Chicago
Since the bus involved in your accident is a CTA bus, the city itself might be named in your lawsuit. Suing the city or any other government entity is difficult, and there are different rules to follow. One of the most important rules to consider is the deadline to file. Our Chicago bus accident attorneys can help you file your case before the deadline.
Typically, you can sue the city or a government entity in 2 ways. You can file a claim under the Court of Claims Act or the Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. In either scenario, you usually have to file the case within 1 year of the accident. Depending on how you file, you might also have to submit a notice of your claim to the appropriate government authority or agency.
Generally, the city cannot be held liable for the accident if the bus driver is not liable, so these two defendants are connected in a very important way. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that government entities and employees are usually not required to pay punitive damages if punitive damages are available.
Bus accidents might result from only the bus driver’s negligence, but there is a good chance that other drivers on the road played a part. If other drivers contributed to the accident, you can sue them too. Many injured plaintiffs are unsure exactly who was involved in the accident, and many accident survivors have trouble recalling details from the accident. In that case, our Chicago personal injury lawyers can obtain a copy of the police report and check it for details about other drivers.
Call Our Chicago Bus Accident Attorneys for Assistance
If you were injured in an accident with a CTA bus, our Illinois personal injury lawyers will help you get compensation from the people responsible. For a free case review, call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.