The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), GO Transit, York Regional Transit (YRT), and their affiliated lines (such as Viva Bus) provide reliable public transportation throughout the greater Toronto region. And while public transportation is also considered to be one of the safest modes of travel in greater Toronto, accidents happen and public transport injuries do occur.
In fact, according to recent TTC performance report data, roughly one “customer” injury is reported for every one million passenger boardings, which averages out to almost three per weekday given the estimated 2.75 million boardings per weekday. And these injuries do not include numbers from GO or YRT, nor injuries sustained by non-customers as a result of a public transit accident or negligence.
Types of Public Transport Injuries
While train and subway crashes get the headlines, such incidents are rare, and most public transport accidents causing injury are more mundane. Traffic accidents in the Toronto area involving buses and streetcars occur far more frequently (TTC data suggests up to 10 per day, based on more than 11,000 reported over a three-year period), though most are considered minor and cause relatively few major injuries. Along with getting injured as a result of a collision, bus and streetcar passengers can be injured due to sudden braking, swerving or other actions taken by a transit driver to avoid an accident. Slip and falls, and accidents involving transit equipment (such as escalators), cause most non-vehicular-related public transit injuries.
Whether serious or mundane, you want to make sure that you are fully compensated if you are injured as the result of an accident involving any of Toronto’s public transportation systems. Given the complicated legal issues involving public transportation accidents and resultant claims, to ensure the best results if injured in a public transport accident you should engage the services of highly experienced TTC injury lawyers, such as those at Lerners Lawyers.
What to Know About Compensation for Public Transportation Injuries
If your injury was caused by an accident involving your own vehicle and a public transit vehicle, you likely qualify for Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB), which are typically pursued under your own motor vehicle insurance policy. You may also qualify as an injured passenger on a public transit vehicle, in which case you might need to seek redress from the public transit agency, and/or its insurer* if you are uninsured. SAB is based on insurance policy terms and extent of injuries, and offers the following forms of compensation:
- Medical and rehabilitation benefits to pay for needed health care costs not otherwise covered by OHIP and/or private health insurance.
- Income benefits to cover a percentage of any missed earnings.
- Attendant care benefits to offset costs of hiring in-home caregivers or residency in a long-term care facility.
Your TTC lawyer can help you navigate the claims process to ensure you get the SAB compensation you deserve. TTC attorneys can also determine if you should seek additional compensation by suing for damages. This may be applicable for any number of reasons, including:
- Transit driver negligence or dangerous driving causing the accident
- Another motorist causing or contributing the transit-related accident
- Improper transit vehicle maintenance
- Defective transit equipment
- Drunk or impaired transit driver or operator
- Unlicensed or under-trained driver or operator
SAB does not apply to injuries that occur on transit vehicles absent a collision, subway related accidents, nor non-vehicular-related injuries that occur on transit property. In such cases the injured party(ies) will need to seek compensation by lawsuit (tort). These personal injury lawsuits can be exceptionally complicated and call for the skills and experience of a dedicated TTC lawyer.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Public Transit Accident
There are a number of actions you should take if you are injured in an accident that involves any greater Toronto public transport system. What you say and do after an injury causing accident can impact the ultimate outcome of your claim(s) for compensation. Thus, one of the more important things you should do after an accident is consult with experienced TTC lawyers who can help you navigate through the legalities and administrative details that need to be addressed in order to secure the compensation you deserve.
To assist your TTC attorney in compiling evidence to conclusively support your public transportation personal injury claim make sure that you take the following actions after you have tended to any immediate medical needs:
- Write down as many details relating to the accident as possible. This should include information about any and all vehicles involved, driver/operator information, road/subway/streetcar/facility conditions, events leading up to the accident, and anything that may have seemed odd or otherwise unusual prior to and during the accident.
- Try to get contact information from anyone involved in or witnessed the accident. This can include driver’s license details, license plate numbers, telephone numbers, badge ID numbers, and anything that can help your TTC attorney contact those involved or in witness of the accident.
- Save all correspondence and communications concerning the accident.
- Keep any documentation (medical bills, prescriptions, damage reports, etc.) relating to the accident.
- Take photographs of the accident scene, if possible, and of your injuries. If able to take photographs immediately after the accident try to capture as much detail specifically relating to the accident as possible (vehicle damage, wet road conditions, transit equipment, etc.).
- Do not sign any insurance-related documents or otherwise consult with insurance claims representatives until speaking to a personal injury lawyer.
Timing is Crucial for Seeking Claims for Public Transport Injuries
No matter what strategy you plan to pursue in seeking claims for your public transit injury, a competent TTC attorney will advise you to keep close track of timing issues. That’s because there are various deadlines that must be met in order to successfully mount the various claims. These include:
- Accident injury notification for insurance benefits—You must notify your insurance company within seven days that you have been injured as a result of a public transit-related accident and plan to seek accident benefits.
- Application for insurance benefits—You must submit your application for insurance accident benefits within 30 days receipt of the application from your insurance company.
- Claims against TTC or other public transit authority—While you have two years to commence a personal injury tort suit in court, you have only 10 days from the date of the accident to file an injury claim in writing against the transit authority.
If you have been injured due to an accident involving one of greater Toronto’s transit systems, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who is well versed in the legal complexities involving vehicle accidents, insurance law, personal injury, and their intersection with regulations pertaining to municipalities and their transit systems.
If you were injured as a public transit passenger, then you deserve full compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained through no fault of your own. As a non-passenger victim of a transit-related accident—whether in another vehicle, on a bicycle, or on foot—a competent TTC lawyer can skillfully examine all elements of the incident to determine how the accident ensued and how to apportion fault, so that you can receive all due compensation.
Ontario personal injury lawyer Steven Polak is intimately familiar with all of the nuances involved with public transit-related injury cases, and has a solid record of helping public transit accident victims receive full and just compensation.
Contact Steven today at (905) 409-2438 to schedule your free personal consultation.
* TTC is self-insured and pays claims out of its operating budget, while other transit agencies rely on insurance companies.