On Thursday afternoon, August 12, 2010, Max and bus service in the downtown area came to a screeching halt. Tragically, both shut downs were injury related. The system shut down was initially caused when a man apparently fell from the Vista Street bridge onto the light rail tracks. In order to transport afternoon commuters to and from Beaverton, tri-met dispatched extra buses to pick up and drop off on both sides of the tunnel. One of the dispatched buses was driving through downtown Portland on it’s way to pick up stranded passengers in Goose Hollow when it struck a bicyclist. It was initially unclear the extent of the injuries, but thankfully the bicyclist was still alert and able to move at the scene..
It is also unclear where the fault lies here, but this situation brings up an interesting and common problem amongst potential claimants. Tri-Met is public/private organization, meaning that it is ran like a private organization but receives public funding. As a publicly funded organization, Tri-Met is afforded some governmental immunities. Most importantly for instances like the injured biker, he must provide a tort claim notice to Tri-Met within 180 days of the date he was injured. The notice will preserve the injured bikers ability to bring a claim against Tri-Met. If notice is not provided, the bicyclist will lose all rights to seek compensation from Tri-Met, for his injuries in court.
It is extremely important for potential claimants to keep the tort claim notice in mind if they wish to bring a lawsuit against a public entity. Generally, there is a 2 year statute of limitation for most injury related claims and waiting for a majority of the two years to bring a claim is common practice, and this practice generally works out. But it is critical if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, car accident, bike accident, or any other kind of accident, to identify the other party and determine whether it is a public entity, in order to provide the 180 day notice.
We recommend that you contact a Portland personal injury attorney in order to evaluate your potential claim and determine what steps need to be taken.