News today reports that a RIPTA (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority) bus was involved in a pretty serious accident with a tractor trailer. The accident which happened Tuesday at the corner of Church and Pine Streets disabled both vehicles and sent at least two bus passengers to the hospital with several others complaining of pain. This follows accidents in March involving a pedestrian very seriously injured when struck by a RIPTA bus and several other high profile accidents in the past few months.
In this case, the RIPTA investigation (unsurprisingly) claims fault is with the truck driver who allegedly ran a red light. Both drivers may argue fault in this matter and debate who had the right of way. Fortunately, passengers on the bus are entitled to compensation no matter who is at fault. Joint and several liability holds that anyone who carries no negligence (passengers clearly can’t be at fault since they were not in control of either vehicle) are entitled to obtain compensation from one at fault party, or the other, or both. In short, either the truck driver or RIPTA will be paying the claims to these injured passengers.
RIPTA in general is notoriously difficult to work with and very rarely settles cases for fair value without a lawsuit. RIPTA is also self-insured meaning that they settle all of their claims “in house” and attorneys do not deal with a traditional insurance company. My office has handled a number of RIPTA cases, and honestly, we just file suit right away. There is little point in trying to negotiate directly with RIPTA especially in a case like this where they are alleging the other party is at fault. If you have been hurt in an accident with a RIPTA bus or while riding as a passenger on a RIPTA bus, be sure to talk to your attorney about his or her experience in dealing with RIPTA and hire an attorney who has a record of success against RIPTA and who is prepared to file the often necessary lawsuit. If you have been injured in this accident or any other bus accident, contact our office right away for a free consultation.