By Marc Diller, Esq.
DILLER LAW, LLP
If injured as a passenger on an MBTA bus, who will pay for the injured party’s medical bills?
In Massachusetts, generally, if the person injured is a passenger on a MBTA bus and involved in a MBTA bus accident, such injured passenger should be entitled to accident-related medical expenses coverage under PIP regardless of fault. The insurance policy responsible for covering the injured person’s PIP benefits is:
First, any auto policy in which the injured is a named insured covers medical expenses under PIP.
Second, if the first scenario listed above does not apply, the auto policy of anyone living in the injured’s household covers medical expenses under PIP
Third, if neither of the first two scenarios listed above applies, the Massachusetts Assigned Claims Plan fund may cover medical expenses under PIP. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 34N.
Fourth, if none of the above-three scenarios applies, you may have to seek to recover medical benefits, lost wages and/or out-of-pocket expenses as well as those other tort damages to which the injured passenger may be entitled from the MBTA or any other entity, who is legally responsible for causing such damages.
PIP is not available from the MBTA itself because the MBTA is self-insured and not governed by the statute requiring compulsory PIP coverage. See MGL Ch. 90, §34M.
If injured as a passenger on a MBTA train, who will pay for the injured party’s medical bills?
In Massachusetts, generally, if the person injured is a passenger on a MBTA train and involved in a MBTA train accident, such injured passenger should be entitled to accident-related medical expenses there is generally no PIP coverage available. Rather, such injured passengers right to recover damages would be governed by whether or not the MBTA or some other(s) was(were) legally responsible for causing such accident. If so, the injured person would have to recover all their accident-related damages from the entity(s) legally responsible for causing the accident.
Can an injured person recover accident-related damages against the MBTA, if the MBTA is legally responsible for causing such damages?
Effective November 1, 2009, the MBTA became a “public employer” that fell under the umbrella of government entities protected by the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (“MTCA”). See St. 2009, c. 25, §123. Under this Act, there are strict requirements for bringing a claim to recover accident related damages, if the MBTA is legally responsible for causing such damages. As an example, if an injured party’s claim is not properly presented to the appropriate office within two years of the accident, a claim may not be made. Unlike other MTCA claims, however, MBTA claims for serious bodily injury are not subject to the $100,000 cap for compensatory damages. M.G.L. ch. 258, §2.
How long is the statute of limitations against the MBTA for its negligent acts?
Under the MTCA and after proper presentment (that is, an injured party’s claim must be presented to the appropriate office within two (2) years of the accident), the statute of limitations for making a claim against the MBTA for its negligent acts is within three (3) years after the date of the cause of action. M.G.L. ch. 258, §4.
Can the MBTA be legally responsible for the damages caused by its passengers and/or strangers on its property?
The MBTA is a common carrier and owes its passengers a higher standard of care than those who transport passengers for no fee.
The MBTA owes its passengers a duty of care to prevent its passengers from suffering reasonably anticipated harm not only from MBTA employees, but also the MBTA owes its passengers a duty of care to prevent its passengers from suffering reasonably foreseeable harm caused by other passengers and/or strangers!
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For more information or a free confidential case review, contact a personal injury lawyer at Diller Law by calling (617) 523-7771, or filling out the form on the right of this page.