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Bus Accidents

Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) buses are frequently involved in accidents. These accidents are all over the news. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with the MTA, there are very complex rules that may limit or reduce your right to recovery. However, bringing a lawsuit against a government entity—like the MTA—can be an overwhelming proposition. Getting the right help immediately after your accident is the best way to preserve your rights and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

What kinds of accidents involved MTA vehicles?

Personal injury and property damage lawsuits against the MTA can be brought by MTA passengers as well as other vehicles involved in an accident with an MTA bus. These accidents may result from driver inattention, driver impairment by drugs or alcohol, tire blowouts, equipment failures due to improper maintenance of the bus, or other causes.

What kind of recovery is available for victims of MTA accidents?

If you’ve been injured in an accident with an MTA bus, you may have a right to recovery for a variety of losses, including:

  1. Lost wages
  2. Medical bills
  3. Pain and suffering
  4. Property damage, and
  5. Job training, if your injuries have made you unable to continue at your prior occupation.

How much is my case worth?

It’s impossible to predict how much an individual case is worth, but an experienced attorney can help to maximize the amount you recover in a lawsuit against the MTA. Numerous factors influence the value of a personal injury lawsuit, but our attorneys can meet with you to give you a general idea of what your case is worth.

If your case ends up going to trial, it’s ultimately up to the jurors on your case to determine how much you’re owed for your injuries. However, settlement—the more common result of a lawsuit involving the MTA—is in the hands of the attorneys.

How long will my case take?

Just like it’s impossible to predict exactly how much your case is worth, it’s also impossible to guess exactly how long the case will take. You’ll need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to get an estimate of the length of time your case will take. There are time limits for filing a lawsuit against the MTA. In general, a Maryland personal injury lawsuit must be brought within three years of the accident. (Maryland Courts & Judicial Procedure Code Annotated § 5-101). The time limits are similar for accidents involving a government entity. You must file a formal claim with the government within one year of the accident and your lawsuit must be filed in court within three years of the incident. These time limits are referred to as a “statute of limitations.” If you miss this filing deadline, your case will be dismissed by the court and you will receive nothing.

Can I recover financially if I was partially at fault for the accident?

Unfortunately, Maryland is among a very small group of states that applies a rule called “contributory negligence.” This is a legal doctrine that says a person cannot recover for their injuries if they have any degree of fault in the accident, even if the other party is almost entirely at fault. If, for example, you are hit by an MTA bus driver, which causes you $50,000 in damages, you will not recover anything from the MTA if you were even one percent at fault. The driver’s overwhelming degree of fault, 99 percent, won’t make a difference. Maryland’s contributory negligence rule is particularly harsh, making it even more important for you to get competent counsel as soon as possible after your accident.

Is there a limit on how much I can be compensated in an MTA accident case?

Yes. Maryland law includes a cap on some damages that may be paid in a personal injury case. Damages, such as pain and suffering, a spouse’s claim for loss of consortium, loss of lifestyle due to physical impairment or inconvenience, and disfigurement, are considered non-economic damages and are capped by Maryland law. There is no cap on economic damages for lost wages and other losses directly related to your physical injury.

The cap on non-economic damages started at $500,000 in 1995 and has increased since the law was originally passed. The cap is currently set at $800,000. That cap will increase by $15,000 on October 1, 2015.

What happens if a settlement is reached in my case?

Your financial recovery can be delayed, even after a settlement is reached in your case. Your attorney’s job isn’t over when a settlement is reached. Insurance companies will delay payment in many cases if there is not anyone putting pressure on them to pay.

Will I have to pay taxes on my settlement or verdict?

After settling your case or winning in court, your next challenge is dealing with the IRS. In general, personal injury lawsuit proceeds are not subject to federal income taxation. Under the U.S. Tax Code, income is taxable unless it falls under an exception. Compensation you receive for your physical injuries is exempt from taxation. That exemption includes payment for unreimbursed medical expenses and lost wages resulting from that physical injury. In contrast, emotional distress is not considered to be a “physical injury,” and personal injury proceeds paid to compensate you for emotional distress will not be exempt from taxation; however, damages awarded to compensate you for medical expenses relating to your emotional distress are exempted. Emotional distress includes physical symptoms caused by that emotional distress.

Conclusion

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a Maryland Transportation Administration bus, contact DuBoff & Associates, Chartered for a consultation with one of our experienced, aggressive bus accident attorneys. Your rights are at stake.

Photo Credit: Maryland MTA 10007 by Ken, on Flickr cc

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