What to do When You’re Injured on the CTA

One woman was killed and eight others were injured in a recent CTA crash on Michigan Avenue. Preliminary reports cite the bus driver for failing to stop at a red light during evening rush hour. Bus accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm detail our recent cases involving the CTA, and how these differ from regular auto accident claims.

The No. 148 Clarendon/Michigan Express bus was stopped at a red light on Michigan Avenue and Lake Street when the driver accelerated through the intersection, hitting two pedestrians and four cars. The bus jumped the curb, coming to a stop on the sidewalk. One of the pedestrians was trapped under the bus, remaining there until paramedics were able to get her onto a gurney. The 51-year-old woman, Aimee Coath, was pronounced dead at Northwestern Hospital.

CTA officials stated the 48-year-old driver, who was hired less than one year ago, did not show signs of drug or alcohol impairment. Video footage of the accident is currently under review, although the driver has been cited for failing to exercise due care. Criminal charges have not been filed as of yet, but the Chicago Police Department is investigating.

The other eight people injured in the accident were taken to nearby hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, there were no passengers on the bus at the time of the crash.

Legal Claims against the CTA

A similar crash in 2014 resulted in a lawsuit against the CTA and the bus driver responsible for the accident. The suit was filed by the widowed husband of a 54-year-old woman who was fatally struck by a bus on the Southwest Side.

The accident occurred when the woman exited the bus and walked toward the front of the vehicle, crossing the street. She was struck and killed by the bus when she fell or fainted in the path of the bus. Her husband’s lawsuit claims the bus driver failed to check his windows and mirrors before proceeding onto his route.

Filing a claim against the CTA should not be attempted without an accident attorney. The city agency is subject to unique statutes and laws that complicate the process. Many injured victims have their claims dismissed because they tried to file a claim on their own.

The CTA is a “common carrier,” meaning it is required to exercise the highest level of care to protect passenger safety. Common claims against the CTA involve bus crashes, train derailments, sudden stops, and negligence claims.

Prior to 2009, Illinois law required an injured passenger to notify the CTA of their intention to file a legal claim within six months of the accident. This is an extraordinarily short window of time, and prevented many seriously injured people from gaining any type of compensation. In 2009, then-Governor Quinn signed legislation repealing this six-month requirement. This allowed more cases to be heard against the CTA, however, a one year statute still stands, meaning claims must be filed within one year of the accident. This is perhaps the most important thing people should know about these types of claims. One year seems like a long time, but it is significantly less than the normal statute of limitations for injury claims, and one year can go quite quickly when you’re dealing with medical appointments, physical therapy and rehabilitation.

It’s no secret that the city of Chicago is on loose financial footing; because of this, the CTA fights more cases it knows are viable claims. The CTA almost never settles claims without a suit being filed, though many people do not know this. The CTA will frequently call people who have filed a claim to get as much information as possible from them, saying it will be used to settle the claim. This is not true. They are merely trying to gather information to use as a defense against your claim.

Our bus accident lawyers are currently accepting cases of serious injury or death from all types of bus crashes. We provide free case reviews to injured victims and their families throughout the country. We never charge any attorneys’ fees unless we win you a settlement or verdict, so our clients never pay anything out-of-pocket.

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