The good news is America's disabled citizens are living longer and more rewarding lives. The bad news is their transportation is often left to paratransit companies that are third party contractors for cities and counties. The sales pitch to land the contract likely highlighted 'values' and 'safety' but in reality many paratransit companies operate primarily to maximize profits and expand their field of business. Oftentimes this means 'values' and 'safety' take a back seat.
Paratransit accidents are complex---the attorney must actively practice personal injury law and have a practiced understanding of ADA compliance, the regulations and best practices involved in wheelchair securement, lift operations, and paratransit mobility vehicles, and the responsibilities of and interplay between local and state regulatory bodies, among other aspects. Because of Maryland's tight rules on contributory negligence, the attorney will need to consider the health and/or any contributory factors brought about by the client or victim.
Oftentimes the paratransit companies will have multiple active or closed claims against them yet are able to place the victim or his/her family through legal hoops specifically selected to run out the statute of limitations (e.g., the time allowed for the victim or family members to sue). The companies' insurers are part of the game, too. If your attorney is known to be one who settles pennies on the dollar or just always settles for fear of going to court, you can bet that pennies on the dollar are what you'll be offered. If your attorney is known to be one who will take the case up to a jury trial, if needed, your option for justice just expanded exponentially.
Read further for steps you need to take immediately if you or a family member have been involved in a paratransit accident.