Public transportation often proves to be the optimal and convenient mode of reaching various desirable destinations, especially in situations where parking is challenging or expensive, like in our town. It provides an avenue to reclaim personal time for activities or simply appreciating the surroundings.
Portland, despite its size, takes pride in an outstanding public transit system featuring TriMet buses, MAX Light Rail, the Portland Streetcar and even the Portland Aerial Tram, making commuting without a car effortless. However, what happens in the event of an injury sustained while utilizing local public transportation?
The risks of public transportation injuries
Public transportation injuries can happen in various ways and for various reasons, just like any other vehicle on the road. Some of the common causes of public transportation injuries are collisions, sudden stops, hard turns, uneven surfaces, slip and falls, etc.
And, the consequences can be serious, even fatal. Indeed, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, 11 people died in accidents that involved public transportation in 2021.
Statute of limitations
If you are injured while using public transportation in Portland, you may face some challenges when seeking compensation for your damages. The first is the statute of limitations. Unlike regular personal injury claims, which have a 2-year statute of limitations in Oregon, public transportation injury claims have a shorter deadline of 180 days.
The next issue is sovereign immunity. Public entities are generally immune from liability for their actions or omissions, unless they waive their immunity by law. In Oregon, public entities are liable for their torts under the Oregon Tort Claims Act, but only up to certain limits.
Finally, there is the issue of comparative negligence. Oregon follows the modified comparative negligence rule. This means that your recovery may be reduced by your percentage of fault for your injury. And, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you may be barred from recovering anything at all.
Public transportation injuries can be devastating and challenging to deal with. And, fighting for your civil justice can be complicated. However, this does not mean you should not do it. Always protect your rights.