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Public transport accident claims - what are my rights?


With hundreds of thousands of Australians using public transport each day, it is unfortunate but inevitable passengers, pedestrians and other road users will suffer injuries due to accidents involving public transit.

If you’ve been injured travelling by bus, train, ferry or other form of transit, or injured in a related incident, you may be eligible for a public transport accident claim.

Let’s talk you through: what steps to follow when you’ve been injured on public transport and whether you can make a claim.

What to do if you have been injured on public transport?

If you’re injured on or by public transport, you should seek medical treatment immediately.

Once you’ve completed a medical assessment, you should follow three key steps — report, collect and seek. We explain these three steps as follows:

  • Report the accident to the relevant public transport operator as soon as possible after the accident. Key note: In a motor vehicle accident where someone is injured, if police don’t attend the scene the accident must be reported by law.
  • Collect as much important information about the incident as possible. This includes the registration details and route of the public transport vehicle, the date and time of the incident, and the contact details of any eyewitnesses.
  • Seek legal advice regarding your rights to compensation. There are strict time limits for bringing a claim for compensation, so it’s important to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as you can.

When can you make a public transport accident claim?

What and how you claim for a public transport injury will depend on where and how your injury occurred. For example, an injury while commuting to work may entail specific Workers Compensation entitlements, while a similar injury suffered unrelated to work may not.

Different states and territories have different laws, so to best understand your legal rights you should seek free legal advice from one of our public transport accident experts.

I was injured on a bus – can I make a bus accident claim?

If you are injured on a bus, you may be able to make a public transport accident claim.

Claims aren’t limited just to passengers – if you are another road user or pedestrian injured by a bus, you may also have a claim.

The claims process will depend on the insurance scheme where your accident occurs. Some states like Queensland and New South Wales have an at-fault scheme like Compulsory Third Party, whereas Victoria has a no-fault scheme under the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

The good news is, we have lawyers experienced in both styles of Motor Vehicle Accident claims who can guide you through your legal journey.

Examples of incidents related to a bus accident claim include:

  • A bus driver causes passengers to fall by slowing or accelerating unreasonably fast
  • A bus driver hits a pedestrian while driving dangerously
  • Another driver crashes into the bus, causing injuries to passengers.

Our client’s story: injured in bus crash

Our Motor Vehicle Accident lawyers previously represented a Western Australian woman, injured when her bus hit an oncoming car while making a right turn.

Our client, who was a pensioner, was knocked off her feet in the crash and suffered injuries to her head, neck, chest and lower back. She required an ambulance to hospital and ongoing medical treatment.

With the help of our legal experts, our client made a successful claim against the bus operator, compensating her for the cost of her medical treatment and for the pain and suffering she had experienced.

Public transport web infographic train

Other public transport-related injuries

Public transport injuries unrelated to a motor vehicle will generally fall under Public Liability law. If you’ve suffered an enduring injury, and a public transport provider like a railway or ferry service is responsible, you may be able to claim compensation.

A transport provider may be responsible for injuries occurring due to:

  • Dangerous acceleration or deceleration of a vehicle
  • Collisions with other vehicles or the environment
  • Faulty facilities, such as a broken chair
  • Slipping hazards, such as wet floor.

Injured by public transport? Shine Lawyers are the experts

If you have been injured in an accident involving public transport, our injury law experts can help you access your legal entitlements.

Across Public Liability, Motor Vehicle Accident and Workers Compensation law, we have fought for everyday injured Australians for more than 45 years on a No Win, No Fee basis*.

If you would like to make a claim or discuss your injury, contact us online for an obligation-free discussion of your rights.

*Conditions apply

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: August 19, 2021.

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