The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority has announced that as a way of saving money, they want a law that imposes limits on Massachusetts personal injury awards capped at $100,000.00. The proposal, initiated by Governor Patrick, will work its way through the various Massachusetts State House committees.
The proposal is a part of a package of “reforms” that the Governor and his minions are proposing regarding transportation. Some of the proposals are pro consumer, like increasing fines against folks who evade paying the fare. Some are simply moving money around from the feds: MBTA Ride services will get more Medicare and Medicaid monies. Some are smart businesslike ideas such as allowing the MBTA to enter into revenue generating advertising agreements. Some involve assistance in insurance adjustments and taxes.
From the perspective of a Boston injury lawyer, it’s unfortunate to learn that that there could be more anti consumer news from the state government. Victims of train, bus and trolley accidents should not be treated differently if the MBTA and its drivers cause the injury. What the Governor and the MBTA seem to be doing here is to institute a law that mimics the state law, Chapter 258, which limits tort liability for the state to $100,000.
Because the MBTA has such as vast network of vehicles, there are numerous accidents, collisions and injuries that result. Wrongful death cases, Boston trolley crashes, MBTA bus accidents and excessive speed collisions are among the types of cases we have seen with respect to the MBTA. On the one hand, it may be inevitable, on the other hand, allowing the MBTA to reduce liability for the injuries they cause, seems anti consumer and anti common sense.
It takes the decision making away from the jury of one’s peers, and puts it into the hands of the government, which makes a law.
It is not the goal of this blog to review the MBTA’s budget. We have learned, however, that the MBTA may have other ways to cut costs. On information and belief, MBTA employees can “retire” after only 23 years, with full medical benefits. Again, we haven’t reviewed the books, but when the MBTA says they need to implement this plan to save $4 million per year, we wonder if there aren’t other measures, ones that don’t tax the injured and the maimed, at the expense of rich retirement plans, fare evaders, and a top heavy administration.
Regardless of whether the MBTA gets their way in reducing their liability, any victim of a accident on the MBTA, or as a result of an MBTA collision should get an experienced Boston personal injury lawyer. The MBTA has a host of experienced claims adjusters and attorneys. You will likely encounter a serious attack absent strong representation from the outset. We have represented victims of MBTA accidents since 1985.
Another significant weapon you can deploy, prophylactically, is to buy sufficient homeowners and vehicle underinsurance policies. We have written about this extensively, and direct folks to the Massachusetts Underinsurance section of our website. This way, if you are injured and the MBTA, or even a private entity, has insufficient insurance, you will have a right of recovery.
Call us at 617-227-7423 for a free consultation.