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CATA Bus Accident Lawyers


The Cape Ann Transportation Authority, or CATA, is a public organization in Massachusetts charged with providing public transportation to the Cape Ann area, consisting of the city of Gloucester and the nearby towns of Essex, Ipswich, and Rockport. Compared to the MBTA which serves the Greater Boston area, CATA is a regional transit authority serving the Cape Ann area. It has seven year-round routes and an eighth seasonal summertime weekend shuttle service.

The system operates the following routes:

  • The Green Line serves all of Downtown Gloucester.
  • The Red Line serves the area between Gloucester and Rockport via Thatcher Road.
  • The Blue Line serves the area between Gloucester and Rockport via Lanesville.
  • The Orange Line serves the area between Gloucester and Magnolia.
  • The Purple Line serves the area between Gloucester and West Gloucester.
  • The Yellow Line serves the area between Gloucester and the Blackburn Industrial Park.
  • The Shopping Mall Express is a shuttle between Gloucester, Liberty Tree Mall, and Northshore Mall.
  • The Ipswich - Essex - Crane Beach is a summertime weekend shuttle service connecting Ipswich MBTA train station, Crane Beach, and Essex.

The CATA operates its routes using a diverse set of various vehicles for transporting its passengers.  Its full-size bus fleet includes six International HCCB buses, six Gillig Low Floor buses, and two Ford El Dorado buses.  Its minibus fleet is made up of 21 Ford E-Series vehicles, including twelve Ford Cutaways, five Ford E350s, and four Ford E450s. CATA also utilizes two American Heritage Trolley tourist trolleys.  A more recent report says the total fleet size for CATA has now reached forty-two vehicles.  Its yearly maintenance costs for this sizeable fleet was last measured in 2016 and 2017 and averaged out to be approximately $400,000.



An example of a relatively recent accident involving CATA is the case of Novella Earl v. Hathon and Cape Ann Transportation Authority No. 99-1873, August 2004, involving a woman who was struck and suffered injuries while exiting her vehicle due to a CATA bus that she alleges was passing her too closely.  The facts state that Plaintiff Novella Earl was sitting in her parked vehicle along the side of a road and as she opened her door to exit, the car door was struck by the passing bus. The impact caused the car door to strike the plaintiff in the head and face. The bus was owned by Defendant Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) and operated by Defendant Hathon.  Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Hathon was negligent in his operation of the CATA bus. Plaintiff testified that her car door was ajar as the bus approached and that the bus struck her car door, causing it to fling back into her face.  Her injuries include a traumatic brain injury as a result of the impact.  Defendant Hathon, the bus driver, claims that Earl opened her car door while the bus was already passing by and that the accident was, therefore, her own fault.  The jury returned a verdict finding that the CATA bus driver was negligent, but that his negligence was not the cause of Ms. Earl’s injuries.   This is why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer, familiar with CATA claims, representing you.  All of your ducks need to be lined up in a row, for both liability and damages.  You not only need to convince the jury that the defendant was negligent, but also that the injuries alleged are causally related to the accident in question.  This is just one of many reasons are why you need to find an experienced and diligent attorney should you ever find yourself involved in a CATA accident.


What an Attorney Can Do for You

Your lawyer will help investigate the circumstances that caused your accident and determine whether you have a claim.  It involves collecting all of the information about the accident necessary for your case.  Furthermore, public agencies are very discrete about incidents that could lead to bad publicity and are unlikely to be forthcoming with the truth about the accident, particularly when they are at fault.  That is why you need an attorney to do the following:

  • Track down witnesses to the crash and interview them
  • Review all evidence such as police reports and accident scene footage
  • Help gather information like maintenance records for the bus, security camera footage to support your claim, driving records for the vehicle operator involved in the crash, information on whether that driver was properly exercising his heightened duty of care as an operator of a public transport vehicle, documentation of the injuries sustained and how they are the result of the driver’s negligence, and any other relevant information that will help your lawsuit
  • Help provide you with the information you need to successfully comply with the Massachusetts law enabling victims to sue the VTA despite it being a subsidiary of the state


Types of Accidents That Could Lead to Compensation

Knocked Over Stop Sign

There are several ways people can be injured in an accident involving one of CATA's transportation vehicles.  Some examples include:

  • Passengers on the bus being injured in a crash
  • Other drivers & passengers injured in their vehicle when colliding with a CATA vehicle
  • Pedestrians struck by a bus or shuttle.
  • Injuries resulting from falls taken by passengers while getting on or off a CATA bus stop
  • Injuries occurring on CATA property, such as maintenance yards or bus lots over which the CATA has authority. This could be anyone from employees, passengers, invitees, licensees, and any other person with permission to be on the property.

Common Injuries in Accidents Involving the Transport Vehicles Operated by the CATA

Some common bus accident injuries to be aware of that may entitle you to compensation:

  • Broken nose
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Concussions and other Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Lacerations, Cuts, and Bruises
  • Whiplash
  • Disc Bulges and Herniation
  • Organ Damage
  • Broken Bones
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Anxiety, Stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma


Suing a Regional Transport Company in Massachusetts

Verdicts & Settlements

While a political subdivision of the State, CATA does not share the states’ sovereign immunity from lawsuits.  State law permits lawsuits against a state agency if their negligence results in injury.  This law is known as the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, which allows for accident victims to obtain compensation if:

  1. They properly present their claim in writing and pursuant to the requirements of the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, within two years of the date the accident occurred.
  2. They subsequently file a Complaint in Court within three years of the accident.

So long as these rules governing claims and lawsuits against government agencies are followed, your case can be heard.  To ensure that all of the requirements are properly met, you really should have a law firm by your side that is experienced with these types of claims.  Experience matters, and the attorneys at the Law Offices of Chris Sullivan, P.C. have over 100 combined years of it.   Let them help you navigate your VTA claim through the complex legal system successfully.


Successfully Establishing Fault for the Accident

Your lawyer will need to meet the legal standard used for determining whether or not the bus or shuttle driver was at fault.  This standard is that of negligence, which essentially means you must show that the driver was not exercising his proper duty of care and instead acted negligently, causing the accident.  Examples of bus driver negligence include:

  • Drivers texting or not paying attention to the road
  • Failure to properly maintain the bus causing malfunctions and problems that lead to an accident
  • Management’s uninformed and negligent decisions when hiring drivers who are not fit to be operating a public transport vehicle
  • Failure to properly train drivers if such lackluster training is determined to be a contributing factor
  • Drivers making illegal turns, negligently colliding with other vehicles, running red lights or stop signs, or any other type of reckless or illegal driving that leads to an accident


Entitlement to Compensation for Injuries

The following damages may be available to you if you are hurt in an accident involving a CATA transportation vehicle:

  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering damages for your pain, anxiety, and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Medical bills for the cost of treatment, rehabilitation, and surgeries
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Any other out-of-pocket costs related to the accident or your injury
  • Emotional distress damages


Call Us Today to Speak with a CATA Accident Lawyer

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If you’ve been injured in an accident involving CATA, the experienced legal professionals at the Law Offices of Christopher Sullivan, P.C. are available to help with your case.  They have over 100 years of combined personal injury litigation experience that their lawyers are ready to put to work for you.  They have recovered over $25,000,000 for their clients since 2003 and they would love to add your case to their long list of success stories.  Contact us today online or call our Boston office at (617) 357-8600.

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