Municipal Liability in Bus and Pedestrian Accidents

In Pittsburgh, a Port Authority bus recently struck an 81-year-old woman. She sustained head injuries in the afternoon incident at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Bellefield Avenue.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the bus was making a left-hand turn from Bellefield onto Fifth when it hit the woman as she attempted to cross the street. In addition to her head injuries, the woman also sustained an injury to a shoulder after being thrown 10 feet by the bus.

In cases like this one, it's possible that the owners and operators of this bus (in this case, the Port Authority) to be held liable by a court for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages to the victim.

There are factors a court must weigh before deciding a municipality is liable for damages in a bus crash causing injury or death.

  • According to Pennsylvania law, the injury must be caused by negligence by the agency or municipality - or by a negligent act by an employee of the municipality in the course of their work.
  • People injured in the course of fleeing a police officer are not entitled to compensation for their injuries.

In situations similar to the elderly woman who was struck by the bus, courts would want to know a number of facts before making a decision about liability:

  • Was the pedestrian in a crosswalk?
  • If she was in a crosswalk, was there a pedestrian signal indicating she could cross the street?
  • Was the bus driver impaired or distracted while driving?
  • Why didn't the driver yield the right of way to the pedestrian?
  • Did the pedestrian suddenly and without warning enter the street in front of the bus, causing the crash and her injuries?

In any traffic collision resulting in injuries or death, there is evidence to be examined and facts to be assessed by law enforcement, prosecutors and others. If you or a member of your family has been hurt in a car accident involving a city vehicle or Port Authority vehicle, contact a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer for an assessment of the facts of your case. A personal injury attorney evaluates your legal options and helps you protect your rights.