Yes, suing a public bus company differs from suing a private bus company in several respects including (1) legal enforcement, (2) licensing, (3) notice requirements, and (4) inspection rules among other things.
Immunity For Public Bus Companies
With few exceptions, you can still sue a public bus company for negligence or other actions related to personal injuries for all the things that you could sue a private bus company for. However, here are some of the things that government entities do get immunity for because of their public status:
- Not adopting or enforcing a law;
- Negligence related to licenses and permits;
- Negligence related to inspecting health and safety hazards;
- Negligence related to injuries from unsafe conditions if the government did not have notice;
- Negligence for supervising activities on public lands;
- Negligence related to hazardous recreational activities;
See The Local Governmental and Local Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10)
Other Considerations For Suing Public Bus Companies
Of course, none of these immunities really apply to a bus accident so government agencies and actors cannot look to them for relieve. They are still on the hook for their negligence like a private bus company would be as well. Yet, there are still two other considerations to remember if you sue a public bus company:
1. You must give notice to the particular body you are suing as 745 ILCS 10/8-103 provides:
Sec. 8-103. If the notice under Section 8-102 is not served as provided therein, any such civil action commenced against a local public entity, or against any of its employees whose act or omission committed while acting in the scope of his employment as such employee caused the injury, shall be dismissed and the person to whom such cause of injury accrued shall be forever barred from further suing.
2. You must bring your lawsuit within one year for all personal injuries and within two years for wrongful death as 745 ILCS 10/8-101 provides:
“(a) No civil action other than an action described in subsection (b) may be commenced in any court against a local entity or any of its employees for any injury unless it is commenced within one year from the date that the injury was received or the cause of action accrued.
(b) No action for damages for injury or death against any local public entity or public employee, whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought more than 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, or received notice in writing of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action, whichever of those dates occurs first, but in no event shall such an action be brought more than 4 years after the date on which occurred the act or omission or occurrence alleged in the action to have been the cause of the injury or death.”
Changes In Public Bus Company Lawsuits
The law used to bar any action against the CTA if it was brought more than 6 months from the time of when it first accrued but that was repealed in 2009. Therefore, notice and the one-year limit are the most important procedural considerations when suing a public bus company. Also, remember that substantively there is very little difference for what you can sue a public bus company for compared to a private bus company.
Mechanics Of Suing A Public Bus Company
The mechanics of a suit against a public bus company differ very little from those against private bus companies. You still must file a complaint within the appropriate amount of time that lists the offender, the injuries, the misconduct, the right to relief, and the relief requested. However, some of these tasks are a bit harder in practice when the offender is a public bus company. For example, at the onset of the case, most public bus companies will deny that you filed the case on time and they will expert significant resources to prove that allegation. Then, at trial, they will refuse that it was their fault; therefore, mechanically, one of your central goals will be to show that it was the company’s fault and that you have no responsibility for the accident. Naturally, other kinds of defendants will offer these same arguments in similar bus cases, but you must be prepared to handle the size and sophistication of the counter-offensives launched by public bus companies in particular.
Still Unsure Of Who You Should Sue In A Bus Accident Case?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has brought personal injury cases in Illinois against public and private defendants. We can help you identify exactly who to sue and how to bring your claim against them. Also, we won’t ask you for a penny until you are happy with the outcome. Your recovery is within your grasp. Call the offices of the Rosenfeld Injury lawyers today.
To learn more about bus accidents in Illinois, please read the following pages: