Getting around town is particularly difficult for people who use wheelchairs or suffer from mobility issues. In Chicago, the sidewalks can be hard to manage and not every train platform has an elevator. Additionally, other cities in Cook and Lake Counties may not have sidewalks or handicap accessible public transportation.
Individuals in wheelchairs may not feel safe using the public sidewalks either, considering that wheelchair users are one-third more likely to die than other pedestrians when hit by a car, according to a recent Georgetown University study.
Because getting to and from work, going to medical appointments, running basic errands, and visiting family and friends can be difficult or even dangerous through public transportation, many individuals in wheelchairs rely on private transportation.
Unfortunately, like any vehicle, handicap transportation buses and vans can also get into accidents and hurt people.
Many of the handicap transportation passengers are elderly or have serious medical conditions. An accident could cause them serious injury or worsen their state. Even young, healthy passengers could be tragically hurt if not properly secured in the vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle may be at fault for the passenger’s injuries if they didn’t properly secure the wheelchair, chair lift, or other objects in the vehicle. If the driver doesn’t use the wheelchair’s brakes or lock the chair into place, it can move or fall in the vehicle, increasing the likelihood the passenger will be hurt in an accident. Even a sudden stop that doesn’t result in a collision could cause a wheelchair to tip and hurt the passenger.
A High Standard of Care
Transportation companies, including handicap transports, are held to a high standard of care when it comes to being cautious and safe. All drivers have an ordinary standard of care when it comes to their actions behind the wheel, but drivers for handicap and medical vehicles need to take even more precautions to ensure the safety of their passengers.
Each wheelchair, whether it’s manual or power-based, is unique and may require different equipment, safety features, or security within the transport vehicle. The driver can’t treat every wheelchair as one size fits all. Instead, they must understand the passenger’s equipment and how it is best secured to protect the passenger from injury.
Who is Responsible?
If a passenger is injured in a handicap transport accident, the party responsible may depend on who caused the collision and who is responsible for the transport vehicle. If another driver caused the accident and the passenger was hurt despite being properly secured, then the passenger will seek to recover from the other driver’s insurance.
However, if the passenger was hurt because of the handicap transport driver’s actions, both the driver and the employer may be legally liable. In some circumstances, the employer company may be the only party the passenger recovers from.
If the transport vehicle was defective in some way, the passenger may need to recover from the manufacturer. Unless the company knew of the defect, then the passenger would have a cause of action against the business.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in a handicap transport vehicle accident, contact a personal injury attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today to learn more about your rights. The situation regarding who is responsible for your injuries can be complicated, and the lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. will help you determine how you can recover and move on with your life.
Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900.