In July 2021, a dozen people were hurt when a trolley overturned in St. Augustine, according to the St. Augustine Fire Department. The fire department posted on Facebook that the twelve people were taken to a hospital with unknown conditions relating to this tour bus injury.
A spokesperson said that the trolley toppled onto its side while making a turn. While no other pedestrians or vehicles were involved in the crash, those who were injured in the crash did not deserve to suffer these consequences. They should be informed of their legal pathways to retrieve proper recovery.
In this post, we will discuss what you need to know in order to understand your legal rights when deciding to file a lawsuit against an entity that caused your injuries. We will cover what you can expect in a personal injury case and how a court decides how much compensation you are to receive.
Florida’s Personal Injury Laws
In the unfortunate circumstance of a tour bus accident, various parties may become defendants in a lawsuit for injuries. This is common for most “common carriers”, a term that refers to entities whose business is to transport people or goods from one place to another for compensation.
Common carriers are expected to exercise high degrees of care and inspection to ensure the safety of its passengers. In most successful lawsuits against common carriers, the liability usually results from negligence or willful acts that put the passengers in danger.
In this section, we will go over how negligence is assumed.
In tour bus or trolley accidents, many entities have the potential to be held liable for the accident. It could be the manufacturing business of the vehicle, the tour company contracting the vehicle, or the driver him or herself.
Liability can be assigned to:
- The tour company. This typically involves the tour company hiring a bus company without a clean safety record. When a tour company contracts with a bus company that has had multiple strikes for safety violations, liability could be shared between the tour company and the bus company.
- The bus company. The bus company is required to have reasonably safe buses as contractible vehicles. Additionally, hired drivers must meet basic requirements. Negligence on the part of the driver can still expose the bus company to liability.
- Bus destinations. Slip and fall personal injury lawsuits caused by the negligence of the location’s management could bring liability to the owners of the venue.
It is possible, however, to hold multiple parties liable for contributory negligence for at least partial blame for an injury-causing accident.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits
A personal injury lawsuit in any state of the United States has a statute of limitations of four years. This means that you have four years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Florida’s civil courts.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law
In the case that you bring a lawsuit against an entity you believe should be held liable for your injuries, the defendant will likely attempt to lower their blame by insinuating that you acted with comparative negligence.
By claiming that you played, in some way, a part that caused your sustained injury, the court can alter the amount of compensation you receive from other at-fault parties. Florida follows what is called a “pure comparative negligence rule”, meaning that the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive is decreased by your percentage of fault for the accident.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.