The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (or SEPTA, as the locals call it) is the regional municipal authority that controls and operates the public transit systems in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. SEPTA runs a comprehensive subway, light and elevated rail, trolley, and bus system throughout Philadelphia. It provides public transportation for around 4.5 million people in that area, making it of critical importance to the livelihood of the city. Many people rely on SEPTA for their daily commute or to run errands, and many tourists use it as a way to navigate around the city to sightsee. Public transportation provides a convenient and inexpensive way to travel for many people. Because of the number of people who use SEPTA every day, any accident that involves SEPTA vehicles can be both very frightening and devastating, because the weight of the vehicles can cause serious damage and because of the number of people who are involved as passengers.
When a mass transit vehicle is involved in an accident, it is usually because of an error on the part of the driver of the vehicle or a malfunctioning machine part. The causes of such accidents can include driver fatigue, improperly trained drivers, reckless drivers, malfunctioning equipment, or equipment that has not been properly inspected or maintained. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a SEPTA vehicle, call our offices so that an experienced Philadelphia mass transit accident lawyer can look at your case.
Some of the more common causes of SEPTA accidents include:
- Driver Fatigue – Often, drivers of SEPTA and other mass transit vehicles work long hours and late shifts, or they work too many hours because of budget constraints, all of which can make them tired and can inhibit their ability to respond and stay sharp and alert. Because the vehicles they drive can weigh up to thousands of pounds, it is dangerous to have a tired driver in control of the vehicle. Whether a bus driver runs a red light or a subway driver veers off the track, a tired driver can cause a lot of damage if he or she makes a mistake while controlling the vehicles and can cause many injuries or even deaths.
- Improperly Trained Drivers – Anyone who drives or operates a SEPTA vehicle must complete a certain amount of training in order to be legally eligible to drive large mass transit vehicles. Unfortunately, if budgets are tight or manpower is low, many trainees have rushed training or their training is bypassed altogether in an effort to get them to work faster and to spend less money. Your SEPTA lawyer can look into the training of the driver of the vehicle involved in your accident to determine if their training was adequate.
- Vehicle Malfunction – The driver is not always to blame for SEPTA accidents. In some cases, the vehicle itself, whether it is a bus, subway, train, or trolley car, can malfunction and cause an accident to occur. This can happen for any number of reasons, but the most common are improper maintenance, ignored recalls of faulty parts, or failure to replace old vehicles. Documents about maintenance, recalls, and repairs can be accessed by your lawyer.
- Reckless Driving – If a driver has any citations or has been suspended, it is kept on record with the mass transit authority. If there is a chance that the driver of your vehicle engaged in reckless driving, your lawyer will have access to the documents on that driver to see if the driver has a history of reckless driving.
- Equipment Issues – SEPTA mass transit vehicles must be inspected regularly in order to stay in prime working condition and provide safe transportation for passengers. If the vehicles have not been properly inspected or maintained, whether due to carelessness or financial issues, that could have been the cause of the accident. Your lawyer will also be able to access these documents and discover if poor inspection and maintenance caused the accident.
The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky work with individuals who have been injured in SEPTA accidents in Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, and in Philadelphia itself. Our lawyers have extensive experience working with these kinds of cases and are knowledgeable about the best ways to go about SEPTA cases in order to make sure that you receive compensation for any injuries you received in the accident. Because there are time constraints on when you can file cases against SEPTA, do not wait – call our offices today at (215) 735-4800 for your free consultation.