Boca Raton Palm Tran Accident Lawyer
The Treasure Coast is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. To keep up with this growth, Palm Tran is constantly expanding. New drivers operate new buses on new routes. These changes often mean drivers must change shifts and lose sleep. Therefore, there’s a good chance that Palm Tran bus drivers are dangerously fatigued, and they’re not exactly sure where they are going. The combination of fatigue and distraction causes many bus crashes.
The compassionate Boca Raton Palm Tran accident lawyers at Smith, Ball & Báez understand the physical and emotional pain these accidents cause. Physically, the victims usually sustain head injuries and other wounds which are often permanent. The emotional pain is usually permanent as well. A Palm Tran accident is essentially a betrayal of trust. People count on the government to get them safely from place to place. Its failure to do so is a bitter pill to swallow.
Kinds of Negligence
We mentioned fatigue and distraction above. These two things are among the five kinds of driver impairment. Distraction is any activity or thing that causes tortfeasors (negligent drivers) to take their eyes off the road, their minds off driving, or their hands off the wheel. Fatigue clouds judgment and slows reaction time. The other kinds of driver impairment are:
- Alcohol: Much like fatigue, alcohol impairs judgment and motor skills, since this substance is a depressant. Tough new laws and police procedures haven’t changed driver habits. Alcohol is still a factor in about a third of the fatal car wrecks in Florida.
- Drugs: Most drugs, be they legal (Sominex), illegal (heroin), or somewhere in between (marijuana), have the same effects as alcohol. Also like alcohol, these impairing effects usually begin with the first puff or pill.
- Medical Condition: Before the coronavirus pandemic, this impairment category usually referred to heart disease and other serious medical conditions that could cause a sudden loss of consciousness. That’s still true. COVID-19 expanded this category to include the flu and other moderate illnesses that restrict driving ability by up to 50 percent.
Aggressive driving, like speeding and tailgating, also cause many vehicle collisions in Palm Beach County. Since municipal buses are such large vehicles, a little aggressive driving, like driving slightly above the speed limit, could cause a major crash.
Aggressive driving is all too common among municipal bus drivers, because they normally must adhere to a very tight schedule.
The Sovereign Immunity Doctrine
These claims have an additional procedural hurdle that a Boca Raton Palm Tran accident lawyer must overcome. Once upon a time, the sovereign immunity doctrine shielded government employees from negligence lawsuits, regardless of their conduct. Now, the protection is much more limited, but it hasn’t disappeared entirely.
Government employees still have sovereign immunity in discretionary matters. You normally cannot sue the government if it raises taxes. However, these employees usually don’t have immunity for ministerial functions. These functions include driving a bus, sweeping a street, and other everyday functions.
Additionally, before an attorney can file a legal claim, an attorney must file a notice of claim, at least in most of these cases. This notice gives Palm Tran a chance to quietly settle accident claims out of court. Generally, Palm Tran has thirty days to investigate the claim and make a reasonable settlement offer.
Connect With a Dedicated Palm Beach County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Palm Tran accident lawyer in Boca Raton, contact Smith, Ball, Baez & Prather, Florida Injury Lawyers. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.