VTA Bus Accident Lawyers
The Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) is a public authority established under Massachusetts General Law 161B. The VTA provides year-round public transit service to the six towns of Martha's Vineyard:
- Oak Bluffs
- and West Tisbury.
The VTA's transportation services consist of both fixed route and a paratransit service (known locally as the "Lift"). Fixed route service varies throughout the year, depending on the seasonal travel demand. The VTA's peak season of operation typically runs from May to October, with fourteen routes that travel Island-wide.
The Martha's Vineyard Transport Authority, or (VTA), is responsible for public transportation on Martha's Vineyard for the small seasonal community. In both its diesel buses and electric buses, it carries passengers along its fifteen routes which include:
- Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road
- Vineyard Haven - West Tisbury via Lambert's Cove & Old County Roads
- West Tisbury - Vineyard Haven via State Road
- West Tisbury - Chilmark - Menemsha via North Road
- West Tisbury - Chilmark - Aquinnah via South Road
- Edgartown - Airport - West Tisbury
- Oak Bluffs - Airport via County & Barnes Roads
- South Beach
- Oak Bluffs - Hospital - Airport via Barnes Road & County Road
- Tisbury Park & Ride
- West Chop Loop
- Downtown Edgartown
- Chilmark In-Town
- Edgartown - Oak Bluffs - Vineyard Haven via Beach Road
- Menemsha Sunset Bus
Traversing these routes are 31 fixed-route buses and five demand-response vehicles. The fleet is made up of nineteen diesel buses and twelve electric buses, as well as five demand-response vehicles. The VTA operates in crowded areas with a plethora of pedestrians, particularly in the summer months, so it stands to reason that accidents are inevitable. One of the more recent accidents that occurred was a 2018 incident where two pedestrians were struck on Church Street by a VTA bus. One pedestrian was critically injured, and both were treated on the scene. Apparently, a bus passenger also happened to be injured in the accident. The driver was eventually cleared of criminal fault after passing a breathalyzer and other drug tests, but criminal fault is not needed for a civil personal injury case. In a civil personal injury case you need only show that the driver was negligent. So the pedestrian that was seriously injured on Church Street, Michael Kelly, filed a lawsuit against the VTA. He alleged in his complaint that while on Church Street, the VTA bus began to accelerate before striking him with the front end of the bus. The injuries he sustained were severe, and according to his account, the bus driver was negligent. The complaint listed Magierski, who was the driver, Transit Connection Inc., the VTA driver's parent company, and the VTA for negligence. The complaint reads that:
“As a proximate result of [Magierski’s] negligence in accelerating onto Church Street without proper care, [Kelly] suffered and continues to suffer severe and permanent injuries, pain and suffering of body and mind, expenses for medical care, and an inability to engage in his usual activities including work, for which he has suffered a loss of earning capacity.”
What happened to Mr. Kelly can happen to anyone, which is why you need an experienced attorney by your side if you ever find yourself in a situation similar to Mr. Kelly’s. If something like this happens to you or a loved one, consider a free consultation with the Law Offices of Christopher Sullivan, P.C. to discuss your options. They have helped thousands of injured victims over the years, and they can help you too.
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
There are several ways people can be injured in an accident involving one of VTA'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 VTA vehicle
- Pedestrians struck by a bus or shuttle.
- Injuries resulting from falls taken by passengers while getting on or off a VTA bus stop
- Injuries occurring on VTA property, such as maintenance yards or bus lots over which the VTA 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 VTA
Some common bus accident injuries to be aware of that may entitle you to compensation:
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Serious soft tissue injuries
- Disc Bulges and/or Disc Herniation
- Organ Damage
- Broken Bones
- Internal Bleeding
- Anxiety, Stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma
Suing A Regional Transport Company in Massachusetts
While a political subdivision of the State, the VTA 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:
- 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.
- 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 Bus Accident
Your lawyer will need to meet the standard used to determine whether or not the bus driver is at fault or not for the accident that caused your injuries. The standard is that of negligence, which means the bus driver must be shown to have failed to exercise his duty of care and instead acted negligently, leading to the accident. Examples of negligence can 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
You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Your Injuries
The following damages may be available to you if you are hurt in an accident involving a VTA transportation vehicle:
- Damages for lost wages for missed time at work due to the injury
- 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 due to your injuries
- Any other out-of-pocket costs related to the accident or your injury
- Emotional distress damages
Get the Right Professional Help on Your Side
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving the VTA, 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.