The Coast Transit Authority is a public transportation company that provides services to thousands of residents and tourists in Mississippi. However, accidents commonly occur, leaving injured victims with growing medical expenses.
Fortunately, our firm can help you recover compensation if you have been injured by the Coast Transit Authority’s negligence. The Coast Transit Authority is held to a high standard of care and can be held liable for causing an accident. However, there are special rules that must be observed since it is a government-owned business entity.
For a free case assessment, call our Coast Transit Authority accident and injury lawyers at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 today.
Mississippi Coast Transit Authority is a Common Carrier
A “common carrier” is a type of vehicle, like buses and taxis, available to the general public for transportation purposes. It is typically operated by a company or agency that provides transportation services for a fee and is subject to various regulations and safety standards. As a non-profit provider of public transportation for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Coast Transit Authority (CTA) is a common carrier.
Common carrier buses may be used for various purposes, including public transit, charter services, and intercity transportation. These buses are designed to carry multiple passengers and are often equipped with amenities such as air conditioning, comfortable seating, and even on-board restrooms.
Coast Transit Authority buses are subject to federal and state regulations, including driver training, vehicle maintenance, safety equipment, and insurance requirements. Our Coast Transit Authority accident and injury attorneys can help determine how their negligence caused your injuries. The CTA and its drivers are typically held to a higher standard of care because of its common carrier status.
However, the Coast Transit Authority is a publicly owned common carrier operated by the state of Mississippi and receives funding from the state and federal government. As such, filing a lawsuit against the CTA can be challenging since special rules under “sovereign immunity” will apply.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Coast Transit Authority in Mississippi
Because the Coast Transit Authority is a government-owned agency, they are protected by sovereign immunity. In Mississippi, sovereign immunity is the legal doctrine that the government cannot be sued without its consent. However, the Mississippi Legislature enacted the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, providing a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for some tort claims. This means that while the state government is immune from most lawsuits, there are certain situations in which the state can be sued, like when a Coast Transit Authority employee causes injuries to customers in a bus accident.
To ensure that your lawsuit is successfully filed, you will need to observe the many requirements contained in Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11, explained in further detail below. The procedures are in place to make sure only serious cases are brought against the government and could mean dismissal if all requirements are not met.
Serving a Notice of Claim to the Coast Transit Authority in Mississippi
In Mississippi, a “Notice of Claim” is a written notification that must be filed by anyone who intends to file a lawsuit against a governmental entity, like the Coast Transit Authority. The Notice of Claim must be filed with the governmental entity at least 90 days before instituting a lawsuit. Otherwise, the case will not be allowed to proceed. The purpose of the Notice of Claim is to provide the governmental entity with sufficient notice of the claim and an opportunity to investigate and potentially resolve the claim before litigation.
Your Notice of Claim should include a detailed account of your accident, the CTA employee operating the vehicle, your injuries, and the compensation sought. Also, be sure to provide your biographical information, like your name and address.
Time Limit to File a Lawsuit Against the Mississippi Coast Transit Authority
Compared to the typical three-year time limit for most negligence lawsuits, victims of Coast Transit Authority accidents in Mississippi have only one year from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit. This time limit is known as the “statute of limitations,” and it is critical that your case is filed before it passes. If your lawsuit is not filed within the year, you will be barred from recovering compensation from the court.
Recovering Damages in a Mississippi Coast Transit Authority Accident Lawsuit
Sovereign immunity also places significant limitations on the compensation that Mississippi Coast Transit Authority accident victims can recover under the law. While victims can recover compensation for their economic losses, like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as their non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, those combined damages will be capped at a maximum of $500,000.
The law also prevents victims from recovering punitive damages for their injuries, no matter how egregious their accident is. In general, punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and are intended to go beyond compensation for the wronged party. They are meant to punish the defendant and set an example to prevent similar negligent behavior in the future. There are many circumstances that might call for punitive damages, but they will be barred regardless of how your Coast Transit Authority accident occurred.
No Right to a Trial by Jury in a Lawsuit Against the Coast Transit Authority in Mississippi
One last setback for individuals seeking compensation from the Mississippi Coast Transit Authority is the lack of a right to a trial by jury. Instead, you will need to submit your case to a “bench trial.” A bench trial is a legal proceeding in which a judge alone decides the outcome of a case without a jury present. In a bench trial, the judge makes legal rulings, decides issues of fact, and decides what compensation to award if the lawsuit is successful.
Compared to jury trials, bench trials generally take less time and money. However, it is often much more challenging appealing to the emotions of a judge than it might be with a jury. Juries are often more sympathetic to plaintiffs and their injuries. On the other hand, judges can be almost cynical and might not believe an injured plaintiff without significant evidence to back up their claims. Thus, it is critical to get as much relevant evidence as possible since the judge will determine if your evidence has met the burden of proof.
Our Mississippi Coast Transit Authority Accident and Injury Attorneys Can Help
Contact our attorneys for Mississippi Coast Transit Authority accidents and injuries at Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for a free case review.