Can I Sue the Maryland Transit Administration for Personal Injuries Sustained in a Bus or Train Accident?
Yes, you may sue the Maryland Transit Administration or one of its employees following a municipal bus or commuter train accident. However, like many lawsuits against government entities, there are tort rules that must be followed. Regarding any personal injury suit against the transit administration, such as for injuries sustained in a bus or light rail accident, the potential plaintiff must follow the rules set forth in the MTA Tort Claims Act (MTATCA, for short), which can be found in Section 7-702 of the Maryland Code. A summary of the procedural steps is included below.Step One
As when filing a lawsuit against the State of Maryland, the injured party must send a claim letter to the Maryland Transit Administration explaining why he or she believes that the MTA or one of its employee was negligent and why you believe they are responsible for your injury(s). The same one-year deadline that applies to the lawsuits against the State of Maryland also applies to claims against the MTA.
Per Maryland statute (Maryland Code, Transportation, Section 7-702), the claim letter must include the following information:
- Name and address of each person involved in the accident
- A Statement of how, when and where the injury(s) occurred
- Description(s) of the injury(s)
- A demand for specific damages, such as the amount of money being sought
- If you have retained a Maryland personal injury attorney, you must include his or her name, address and telephone number
- Include your contact information
- Sign and date the letter
Should you accidentally miss the one-year cutoff for sending the claim letter to the treasurer’s office, you may still file your lawsuit. However, the State of Maryland has the right to include in its defense that the claim letter was not sent in a timely fashion. This will not necessarily ruin your chances to have the court hear your case, since the judge may find reason to excuse your failure to comply with the deadline; however it is never a good idea to ignore that one-year claim letter deadline as the court can just as easily deny your personal injury lawsuit on that single technicality. This is covered under Maryland Code, Transportation, Section 7-702(g).Step Two
Once the MTA receives your claim letter, it will most likely decide to investigate your claim, which could take months to complete. Take note that the three-year time limit for filing a Maryland personal injury lawsuit against a private individual also applies to those suits against the MTA or other government entity. Therefore, if the MTA’s investigation takes so much time that it looks to exceed the three-year deadline for filing a lawsuit with the court, you should file your personal injury claim regardless of whether or not the state has finished its investigation.
For any Maryland personal injury lawsuit, you must always keep the three-year statute of limitations in mind. That window begins on the date of the injury accident, not the date you submitted your claim letter to the MTA; and the statute of limitations clock continues to count down regardless of whether the MTA’s investigation is completed or not. If you ignore this important rule and exceed the three-year limitation, your claim against the MTA will be denied and you will not receive damages for your injuries regardless of the facts of the case.Step Three
Once your lawsuit has been filed with the court, the plaintiff must serve the Maryland Transit Administration with your complaint, plus any summons and all other documentation required by the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure.Step Four
Unlike personal injury lawsuits against the State of Maryland or a local government entity, if you win your lawsuit against the MTA there is no limit on the amount of damages the MTA may be required to pay a plaintiff under the MTACTA. However, Maryland legal statutes do place a cap on the total amount of “non-economic” damages that a court can award an injured party; this is covered in Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Section 11-108.
If you have been injured in a Maryland traffic accident, the trained legal staff at Lebowitz & Mhzen, LLC, is ready to help with your personal injury lawsuit. Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your traffic accident injury claim.