Public transit is often a source of frustration for many Canadians – slow buses, unexplained delays, inconvenient stop times – but sometimes the issues are far more severe. Just as with personal vehicles, the risk of collisions and injuries is always present.

So, what happens if you are injured in a public transit accident? Who is liable? Do you have a right to compensation?

Public Transit Injuries

Although public transit is statistically one of the safest forms of transit, accidents and injuries do occur. According to Metrolinx GO Transit,  their system alone transports over 70 million people annually, the odds any serious incidents occurring are almost inevitable. Across Canada’s railways there were almost 70 deaths as a result of over 1,000 accidents, and in Ontario there were 6 bus-related fatalities in just under 700 accidents.

Types of Accidents

There are a number of ways that an accident can occur. Everything from driver neglect, to mechanical failures, to what simply amounts to bad luck. Injuries are just as varied as the accidents themselves and might include

  • Bruises and cuts
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Heart failure as a result of shock
  • Loss of limbs
  • Death

Even a seemingly innocuous slip and fall on public transit can sometimes lead to very serious injuries. Furthermore, you do not have to be a public transit rider to suffer an injury as a result of an accident. Pedestrians and other drivers who have been struck by public transit vehicles may also suffer serious injuries — and are also entitled to compensation.

No Crash, No Cash

In 2011, the Ontario government passed the Better Tomorrow For Ontario Act (Bill 173) which was designed to improve public transit but also resulted in making it more difficult for victims to sue public transit providers. This led some lawyers to refer to the bill as ‘no crash, no cash.

The law specifies that individuals are only allowed to sue public transit providers if their injury resulted from a collision.

Determining Negligence

Despite the ‘no crash, no cash’ bill, people who have been injured as a result of public transit still have a right to compensation and they still can – and do – win compensation in court proceedings.

Furthermore, you may also make a personal injury claim against individuals who may be at fault such as public transit drivers, staff, or even other negligent parties not associated with public transit.

Determining negligence can be complex, and can usually be split between multiple individuals, but to claim compensation for negligence:

  1. The culpable party must have owed a ‘duty of care’ (for example a teacher has a duty of care to their students, a nurse to their patients, and a bus driver to their passengers)  to the injured person and;
  2. The culpable party breached this duty of care, which then resulted in a real injury to the claimant.

For example, if a bus driver was driving over the speed limit and tailgating, and got in an accident which injured you as a result, you would be able to sue public transit and the transit driver.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

Navigating the legislation that determines compensation for public transit injuries can be confusing, which is why you need to consult an experienced personal injury lawyers like the team at Zayouna Law. If you believe that you might be entitled to compensation after an accident or collision, contact us or call 1-866-929-6862 to speak to our team of legal professionals today.