Hillsborough Area Regional Transit or HART is a transportation system that provides bus service to the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County. With almost a million people in its service area, HART stays busy getting people to work, home, shopping centers, and points in between.
With all these buses and trolleys on the roads and tracks, unfortunately, there are accidents. When this happens, many people wonder if they can make a claim against HART for injuries. The answer is yes, but it’s more complicated than a typical personal injury suit making it important to consult with a bus accident lawyer in Tampa.
The state has a doctrine called sovereign immunity that protects the government against lawsuits from the people it serves. However, also like most states, Florida has passed a law allowing some lawsuits based on negligence. The law that allows these suits also places several requirements and limitations on the suits, so anyone wishing to sue HART for injuries should at least talk to a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.
Making a HART Claim
The state law that waived its immunity from lawsuits allows certain suits so long as:
- The injury was caused by the negligence of a government employee or agent,
- The injuries can be compensated through money damages, and
- The agent or employee would have been negligent if he or she had acted as a private citizen.
If all of these are present, then the lawsuit can go forward, but there are additional requirements that must be addressed and considered, they are:
- The employee or agent can’t be held personally liable,
- Damages are limited to $200,000 for an incident or $300,000 if there are multiple state agencies/entities that are possibly liable.
- Punitive damages are not available, and
- The state has the right to appeal any judgment in the case.
There are also some notice requirements which means that there is a limited amount of time to give the state notice that the injured person intends to make a claim, and there are statutes of limitations that apply to the filing of the claim.
Types of Accident Claims Made Against HART:
Most of the time we think of a personal injury coming from an auto accident, and while this accounts for the majority of HART injury claims, there are other ways someone can be injured by HART.
- Collision with HART Bus
- Injured Riding a HART Bus
- Assaulted on a HART Bus
- Slipping/Falling getting on or off
- Injuries at Bus or Trolley Stop
- Collision with HART employee in a company car
These are just a few, and state law allows for any injuries that are caused by the negligence of a HART employee or agent.
Damages from HART Injuries:
Once someone is injured, they want to know what things they can claim as damages. State law allows for any money damages based on the negligence of their employee or agent, and this means that all damages that are allowed in a personal injury suit are allowed in a suit against HART with the exception of punitive damages.
Personal injury law allows for what’s called economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those losses that have a direct cost that can be easily added up, and non-economic damages are those losses that are more difficult to place a dollar value but are nonetheless a loss sustained by the victim.
- Medical bills
- Ambulance bills
- Lost time from work
- Travel to/from medical providers
- Property damage
- Rental car
- Pain and suffering
- Future lost wages from disability
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of Consortium
These are just some of the damages that are allowed to be claimed in a personal injury against a HART bus or trolley. At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we analyze each case and make a thorough search for any type of damage allowed by the law.
Contact a Tampa HART Accident Injury Lawyer
Public transportation can be very useful, and you reasonably expect to be safe when using it. However, if you have been injured as a result of negligence, you may be owed money. Learn how our experienced injury attorneys could help you handle a HART bus accident claim in Tampa by calling today.