With over 38,000 miles of roadways, New Jersey is home to the third-largest public transit system in the country. According to U.S. Census data, approximately 11% of people in New Jersey utilize public transport, excluding taxis, which puts the state at the number four spot for the most used public transit system in the nation.
The Garden State has extensive transit systems in the country which include commuter rail, buses, light rail, subways, ferries, and rideshare vehicles. Along with this powerful infrastructure, the state has implemented specific statutes to help minimize liability when injuries on public transportation occur.
If you were in an accident involving the New Jersey public transit system, it is important that you understand your rights and seek legal counsel right away to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Injuries on Public Transportation
In 2021, the number of accidents reported throughout the public transit networks in the United States amounted to 6,013, up by nearly 15% from 2020. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were 5,743 total people injured in those accidents.
Vehicle collisions of any kind, including those on mass transit lines can range from minor to devastating or even fatal. There are a lot of variables that come into play such as the speed of the vehicle, type of accident, number of people involved, and where everyone was sitting. Here are some of the most common modes of public transportation, and what type of injuries may occur.
Train Accident Injuries
Public train transportation is efficient because its cars are large enough to carry hundreds of people at high speeds from one destination to the next with minimal interruption. Their enormous mass and high velocity also mean they can cause catastrophic damage to people and property in an accident.
Train accidents are not overly common because of their limited ability to make unexpected maneuvers, but they do happen. In 2016, one New Jersey train was unable to stop at the end of the track resulting in one casualty and 108 injuries. Being hit by a fast-moving commuter rail vehicle is often fatal. Injuries for those inside the vehicle can vary greatly depending on the nature of the accident.
Subway Accident Injuries
The Newark subway was upgraded in 2001 to use modern light rail vehicles and is largely considered part of the rail system. A lot of subway systems now function both above and below ground. Because of this, train and subway accident injuries are often categorized together.
The state’s subway/rail system also includes the PATH (rail system), PATCO Speedline, and River Line (NJ Transit). Slip and fall accidents are some of the most frequent types of accidents on underground rail transportation.
Something to also keep in mind is the possibility of dangers at the station. Subways and trains often have platforms that are used as waiting areas and to board. These can be dangerous, especially when there are multiple flights of stairs, a lot of people in a small area or poorly maintained infrastructure which can increase the risk of injuries from falling.
Bus Accident Injuries
Busses are more likely than trains to collide with other vehicles, pedestrians and stationary objects like guard rails, poles, and other structures. Buses typically weigh around 30,000 pounds, or ten times that of a regular passenger vehicle, which means they take longer to come to a complete stop and cannot adjust quickly to changes in the flow of traffic.
Bus passengers are generally not secured in their positions and could be either standing or sitting while the bus is moving. A sudden stop or impact could cause passengers to collide with each other or parts of the bus resulting in a number of injuries such as bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, and lacerations.
In most cases, vehicles associated with rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are not considered part of the New Jersey transit system, but there is an exception to that. Access Link is a New Jersey TRANSIT program established to provide public transportation to people with disabilities who are unable to use the local bus service according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In some counties, Access Link users may also use Uber and Lyft services as long as they do not need a wheelchair-accessible ride. This component of the program was introduced to ease the burden of the Access Link fleet vehicles and reduce wait times.
Rideshare accident injuries are generally the same as you would expect for any standard vehicle, from whiplash, back injuries, fractures, and concussions to severe and life-changing damage. Rideshare accidents may also be more complex when it comes to determining liability for injuries. s
Compensation For Injuries on Public Transportation
Anytime you are in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to compensation for the mental, physical, emotional and financial damage that has resulted from the accident. The amount you are owed is largely dependent on the extent of your injuries and related expenses.
Whether you choose to settle your injury claim or litigate, your compensation should include the cost of medical care, ongoing treatment, lost wages, and any other expenses incurred because of the accident.
You may also be entitled to compensation for physical and emotional damage such as pain and suffering, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and more. Mass transit accidents can be terrifying in the moment and leave residual psychological effects that require counseling and life changes.
Your personal injury attorney can help you calculate the value of your claim to ensure you do not settle for less than what you are rightfully owed.
If you have been seriously injured in a New Jersey public transportation accident, the award-winning team at O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC. can help you receive the compensation you deserve for what you have been through. We have over 100 years of combined experience representing personal injury clients. Like you, we live and work in New Jersey.
We’ve experienced the public transit system and understand how devastating an accident can be.It is important to know that New Jersey has a very short statute of limitations for cases against the transit system. From the date the accident occurred, you only have 90 days to take legal action.
We can help you determine if any exceptions apply, but generally, the sooner you reach out to us, the better. We’re here to help. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation.