Part A of this article discussed situations where an injured individual can sue a Commonwealth entity such as SEPTA. Part B of the article will discuss the notice requirement.
Typically, an individual injured in an accident has 2 years from the date of accident to file a lawsuit against the party at fault in Pennsylvania. This is known as the Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations.
The Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations applies to injured passengers on SEPTA buses, trolleys or subways. However, the passenger must also give a notice of intention to make a claim against SEPTA within 6 months of the accident pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. § 5522(a)(1), which provides:
Within six months from the date that any injury was sustained or any cause of action accrued, any person who is about to commence any civil action or proceeding within this Commonwealth or elsewhere against a government unit for damages on account of any injury to his person or property under Chapter 85 (relating to matters affecting government units) or otherwise shall file in the office of the government unit, and if the action is against a Commonwealth agency for damages, then also file in the office of the Attorney General, a statement in writing, signed by or in his behalf, setting forth:
(i) The name and residence address of the person to whom the cause of action has accrued.
(ii) The name and residence address of the person injured.
(iii) The date and hour of the accident.
(iv) The approximate location where the accident occurred.
(v) The name and residence or office address of any attending physician.
Therefore, an injured passenger MUST give notice to SEPTA within 6 months of the accident. If the injured passenger does not give SEPTA notice within the 6 months, any lawsuit the injured passenger files within the statute of limitations may be dismissed. In other words, the passenger will not be able to sue SEPTA.
If you were injured in a car or bus accident caused by the negligence of a SEPTA operator, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Philadelphia car and bus accident lawyer who knows the PA Sovereign Immunity Act. If you wait or talk to an inexperienced lawyer, you may lose your right to sue SEPTA for your injuries if you don't file notice within 6 months of the accident. Feel free to contact our lawyers to discuss your accident and legal rights @ 877.944.8396.