The legal term "exhaustion of administrative remedies" is often used when dealing with claims that may arise against governmental entities. While this can have many varied meanings, in general it means that some process or another has been set out by law or regulation by which a person who feels he or she has been wronged by an entity or a government employee may be able to ask for redress of whatever grievance he or she may have. It is often the case that the law requires that this process be completed before any plaintiff may file a civil claim against the government in a court of competent jurisdiction.
Previous posts here have discussed various mass transit accidents and the damage they can do to the vehicle's passengers, as well as members of the public. While conveyance methods such as busses, taxis and ferries have been around for a hundred years or more, and there are some fairly well-settled rules when it comes to liability involving such companies, there is a new kid on the block of urban transportation: ride-sharing.
Most residents of the greater Seattle metropolitan area will agree that it is a nice place to live. With a cosmopolitan city center, major sports franchises, plenty of artistic outlets, as well as access to nearby outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and water-related activities, the city has much going for it. Then there are the spectacular views of Mount Ranier and other local vistas, making western Washington a beautiful place to live or visit. Like any urban area, however, there are also dangers present underneath that shining façade. Having many people in a small area, and allowing them to travel from place to place relatively conveniently usually means some form of mass transit, like busses or trains. When an accident happens involving one of these vehicles, there are usually many people affected, many of them seriously.
This blog has previously touched on the term 'common carrier' and how it applies to bus accidents in Seattle. To refresh, a common carrier is any business or entity that transports goods or people from one place to another as its main business model. These entities generally owe a legal duty of care to their passengers, such as those who may be on a bus, whether it is a tour bus, a city bus, or a school bus. However, when someone is injured in a bus accident, how a victim can go about getting compensation may change depending on who owned the vehicle in question.
Readers from the Seattle area know that in a city like this one, mass transit is a necessary way to get people from place to place. They are also likely aware that the city is a tourist destination and that the money brought in by tourists is a boon to the regional economy. One sight that residents may have seen is that of 'Duck Boats' or busses traveling the streets and waterways of Seattle.
When Washingtonians wave goodbye and watch as their kids head to the bus stop, they are entrusting their children to the bus, the bus driver, and the bus company that oversees both. When that trust is broken, the results can be tragic, as seen by a recent school bus accident getting nationwide press.
For many Washington residents, taking the bus is a daily activity. Some take the bus to go to school, others to go to work, others to get around in town. Whatever the reason, each time a Washington resident gets on a bus they run the risk of being involved in an accident. The unfortunate few who are caught in a bus accident may need to decide whether they want to file a lawsuit. To figure out whether doing so is a smart decision, ask yourself the following three questions.
Ever ridden on a bus, a cruise ship or commercial airplane? If you have, then you have ridden on a common carrier; i.e., a company in the business of transporting people or goods. These carriers are liable for accidents caused by their vehicles, if the plaintiff can prove the common carrier was negligent.
When Washington residents send their kids to school, they take it for granted that the big, yellow school bus will get their child safely from home to school and back. Indeed, the biggest worry probably is not vehicular safety, but rather the dangers posed by fellow students, whether in the form of bullying, drugs or something else. That trust in the safety of school buses is not always well placed.
Buses crisscross Seattle's streets every day. Along the way, some will get in bus accidents. When they do, who is responsible: the bus driver, the bus company or both? Under the law, employers are responsible for their employees. This rule applies even if the employer did not intend or approve of the employee's action.