A paratransit accident in Frederick can be frightening for all parties involved, as more than two million disabled Americans confined to wheelchairs. Many of them rely on public transportation for essential travel and require paratransit options to do so. The most common example of paratransit is a wheelchair lift that enables the wheelchair user to get on/off a bus or train. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates the availability of paratransit to three categories of disabled citizens:
- Category 1: Passengers whose physical, visual, or cognitive disabilities prevent them from getting on, riding, or getting off a bus/train without assistance may use paratransit for all trips.
- Category 2: Passengers to whom no accessible fixed-route transit is available, either permanently or temporarily, are entitled to paratransit options.
- Category 3: Passengers whose disabilities prevent them from getting to and from nearby bus stops or train stations may be eligible for paratransit help.
When and Where You Can Utilize Paratransit
The ADA requires that paratransit options be:
- Available in any community offering public transportation by bus/rail
- Located no more than three-quarters of a mile from regular bus/rail routes
- Available at the same times that regular bus/rail service is offered
Maryland and the Washington, DC area offer a variety of paratransit options such as MobilityLink, a service of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to transport disabled riders. In Washington County, MD, “paratransit is available in most Hagerstown areas and those rural areas that are served by the Washington County Transit.” In Frederick County, TransIT offers multiple services for people with disabilities:
- Deviated Fixed-Route Services. These routes operate on a regular schedule and can “deviate within a ¾ mile corridor along the route by request.” You must call for a route deviation.
- TransIT-plus. TransIT-plus is a “countywide, shared-ride, curb-to-curb paratransit service for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. People with valid medical assistance cards who do not live near a bus route may use TransIT-plus for Health Department approved medical trips only.” You must pre-register.
- ADA Paratransit. This component of the TransIT-plus service “is available within a 3/4 mile radius of all TransIT’s fixed and deviated-fixed connector and shuttle bus routes and is provided only to persons with disabilities that prevent them from using accessible fixed-route transit.”
Causes of a Paratransit Accident in Frederick
While paratransit is safe for disabled riders most of the time, wheelchair lift accidents do sometimes occur. The following can result in a paratransit accident in Frederick to a wheelchair user:
- Roll-stop latch defects
- Wet/slippery lift surfaces
- Faulty design or machinery
- Improper lift installation
- Negligent/improper operation by bus/train personnel
- Wheelchair improperly secured during lift
If a wheelchair falls off the lift and/or the rider falls out of the chair, serious injuries can occur, including:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Cuts, lacerations, and scarring
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you’ve suffered a paratransit injury, you’re entitled by state law to file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault party for the following damages:
- All medical bills. This includes emergency room fees, hospital/doctor visits, medications, MRIs and other testing fees, chiropractic fees, and dental fees.
- Future medical care. Your lawyer can consult with your doctors and other experts to determine what your ongoing medical care will cost.
- Wages lost due to your injuries. This could include your regular salary, as well as bonuses and vacation days to which you would have been entitled.
- Loss of future earning capacity. Your lawyer can calculate income you will lose in the future as a result of your accident.
- Physical pain and suffering. This is the physical pain that results from your injuries.
- Emotional/psychological distress. This can include depression, anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Funeral expenses. You’re entitled to funeral expenses if you’ve lost a loved one in a paratransit accident.
Multiple Defendants in a Frederick Paratransit Accident
Because buses and trains are commercial vehicles, the negligence that caused your paratransit accident in Frederick could be shared by more than one liable party, including:
- The bus/train operator
- The operator’s employer
- The owner of the bus/train
- The bus/train manufacturer
- A parts manufacturer
- A repair service responsible for maintenance of the bus/train
Each of these potentially liable parties might have a different insurance company with its own adjusters and lawyers working to dispute or deny your claim. Dealing with multiple insurance companies is very difficult without the services of a skilled Frederick paratransit accident attorney, especially if you’re recovering from injuries sustained in the accident. Your lawyer can help you to receive fair compensation for your damages by:
- Investigating your accident thoroughly
- Interviewing witnesses who were present at the accident
- Calling in expert witnesses, if necessary
- Organizing and presenting documentation of your medical expenses
- Evaluating all evidence to determine who’s responsible for what percentage of your damages
- Filing claims against all liable parties
- Negotiating with one or more insurance companies to get you a fair settlement
- Fighting for you in court if your case should go to trial
Have You Been Injured in a Accident? Contact Our Frederick Paratransit Accident Attorneys Today!
Increase your chances for fair compensation by consulting an experienced Frederick paratransit accident attorney. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.