Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 5, 2019

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The number of reported accidents caused by the San Francisco Municipal (Muni) Railway public transportation system, a common carrier, that are disseminated in the newspapers, the media and on the Internet seem to be on the rise in both number and the severity. Our California legal expert provides advice to injured victims.

CA Attorney J. Niley Dorit

J. Niley Dorit, a California attorney whose practice represents those injured by the San Francisco Municipal (Muni) Railway System provided the following advice to anyone who has been injured in an accident involving a common carrier:

I would advise anyone that you need to act very quickly because there’s such a short deadline (six months) for filing and presenting a claim and it often takes time to collect medical records, other basic information and to get the claim to the Muni Railway system or the city or whatever governmental entity is involved.

We get many calls on cases where the person has gone beyond the six-month deadline and we can try and file a late claim, but often have to request a court order to permit that – which is risky because sometimes they are not granted. So, a lot of claims are eliminated just because people wait too long. The standard deadline in California for an injury claim is two years. Some people are under the misconception that if they’re injured on Muni, that they can wait two years, but they can’t. So, it’s critical that you speak with an attorney as soon as you possibly can. If the injured victim can’t, then a family member should try and get a hold of an attorney promptly.

Injured victims have the protection of California law, according to Dorit, who says that if you have a serious injury and it’s due to a Muni driver being careless or inattentive, there’s a system in which Muni can and should be held accountable for their negligence – and finding out whether you have a case doesn’t cost a dime.

Attorneys work on contingency fee basis

Attorneys who handle Muni cases generally work on a contingency fee basis and only receive a percentage of the amount recovered. Dorit explains how this works in his firm:

If there is nothing recovered, then I don’t get paid. I actually work in partnership, if you will, with my clients. The better my clients do, the better I do in terms of my payment. I take the risk that if a case is lost or if there’s a problem with the case and I don’t recover anything, then the client doesn’t owe me anything out of pocket. So if we have a recovery, there’s a percentage – generally between 33 and 40 percent – which is paid to my office out of that recovery, plus whatever the itemized court expenses are for filing fees and routine kinds of things like that. There are never any out-of-pocket charges to my clients in connection with those cases whether we win, lose or draw.

If you’ve been injured by a Muni vehicle, contact an experienced California bus accident attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. You may be entitled to damages for your injuries – but don’t forget the six month deadline to file.