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I was injured in a SEPTA bus accident maybe 6 months ago, I didn't want so sue but my injuries are getting worse. What are my legal options?

 

A:

You may be able to sue SEPTA for your injuries.  However, in order to sue SEPTA, special rules and procedures apply.  Pursuant to Pennsylvania law, the plaintiff (injured individual) has to provide notice to the governmental entity they intend to sue within 6 months of the accident.  The notice informs the government entity of the injured victim's intention to file an injury lawsuit.  In addition, the notice must provide specific information, including, but not limited to: when the accident happened, injuries sustained, address of the person filing notice, etc.  For a detailed discussion about notice, see What You Need To Know About Suing SEPTA For Your Injuries Sustained In A Bus Accident.

If notice is not provided, the plaintiff may be barred from suing even if the plaintiff files a personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations of 2 years.  Pennsylvania law requires individuals who want to file personal injury accident lawsuits, whether for slip and fall accidents, bus accidents, etc., to do so within 2 years of the date of the accidents or they are barred from suing.

For example, if your accident happened on January 1, 2014, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.  Therefore, you would need to file a lawsuit before January 1, 2016.  Let's say you file a motor vehicle accident lawsuit 1 year after the bus accident, but fail to give SEPTA notice of your intention to sue, you may be barred from suing SEPTA even though you are suing within the time allowed under PA's statute of limitations.

Related FAQ: How much time do I have to sue? How long will the case take before it is settled or goes to trial?

You said that your accident happened maybe 6 months ago.  It is important that you contact a PA personal injury lawyer who knows the injury law pertaining to SEPTA bus accidents as soon as possible.  If 6 months have not passed, notice can still be filed.  However, if 6 months passed, you may not be able to file a lawsuit.

However, there are limited exceptions to the 6 months notice rule.  If the injured victim provides a reasonable excuse as to why notice was not filed within the 6 months, the court may allow the plaintiff to sue the government entity even though notice was not provided within the 6 months.  Different reasons may excuse the failure to provide notice.  For instance, a Pennsylvania court may allow the bus accident lawsuit of a NJ resident/plaintiff to go forward where the lawsuit, but not the notice, was filed within 6 months of the accident.  Again, each case is different, and it is imperative that you seek help of a PA car and bus accident lawyer.

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