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Slip & Fall Accidents of Public Transportation Passengers

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Personal Injury

When a victim seeks compensation for injuries occurring while upon property owned, possessed, or controlled by another, the process involved, from a legal perspective, is generally referred to as a premises liability action. Accidents of this nature can occur in a multitude of settings, and for a variety of different reasons. Injuries resulting from slip & fall, trip & fall, and step & fall accidents are some of the most common types of incidents that lead to premise liability claims.

While slip & fall accidents involve injuries sustained at a business establishment, there are many other circumstances that can give rise to claims based upon a theory of premises liability. For example, when a passenger aboard a bus or other type of similar multi-passenger vehicle, slips and falls, the business, person, or entity, responsible for the maintenance, operation, or control of such vehicle, can be held liable for injuries resulting from their negligent actions or inaction.

Accidents involving common carriers can be vastly different from other types of slip & fall cases, in terms of determining the presence or extent of unreasonableness, such that liability can be established. Consider the following scenario from a common carrier perspective. It’s another rainy day in Florida, and as passengers enter and exit the bus, rain water accumulates on the steps and walkways. Certainly the bus driver cannot be expected to dry the floor at each bus stop. In this case, the danger is often said to be an open and obvious one. However, the fact that it is raining does not excuse a common carrier from the duty owed to others to maintain walkways in a reasonably safe condition.

Consider the same aforementioned scenario—a rainy day with passengers entering and exiting a bus–but add an additional component, such as the presence of so much water that passengers are having noticeable difficulties in safely entering and exiting the bus. In these circumstances, the condition may then become a foreseeable risk and/or known dangerous condition, creating a duty for the driver to take adequate measures to protect the safety of passengers, whether by drying the floor, or warning passengers.

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Slip & fall accidents occurring aboard a common carrier vehicle can also occur under other circumstance, such as where another passenger spills a liquid or other material, or where a leaky roof causes the accumulation of water. Again, the duty owed will depend on the factual circumstances of the incident. It is important to remember that, in no event, shall the duty owed by a common carrier fall below the standard of reasonableness.

Consider again, the scenario involving a leaky roof. The driver was likely aware of the leak, and therefore had a duty to take measures to protect others from injury. Likewise, it can be reasonably expected that passengers aboard may, at times, spill liquids or materials on the floor, and as such the driver has a duty to inspect the vehicle for known or suspected dangers, but also perform routine inspections at reasonable increments while the vehicle is in operation.

Consequently, a common carrier can be held liable in circumstances, even when the dangerous condition is seemingly an open an obvious one. Accidents involving common carriers can be highly complex, particularly when the defendant is a county or municipality. [See, ‘Claims against the Government‘]. Claims against common carriers, like those occurring upon public transit vehicles, require adherence to specific procedural requirements, such as providing notice to the proper governmental entity involved within the statutory period proscribed under Florida law.

By securing representation with a legal professional experienced in slip & fall claims occurring aboard public transit vehicles, you can ensure that claims are properly directed at the appropriate entities, and therefore safeguard legal rights to recovery.