The Herald Sun reports that, in the last two months, nearly 600 passengers exiting trams in Melbourne have come close to being struck by vehicles. Although the majority of these incidents are near-misses, seven people this year have been hit by a vehicle while exiting a tram.
According to the Herald Sun, the three most dangerous tram stops in Melbourne are at Victoria Street and Church Street, Victoria and Lennox Street, and Chapel Street and Toorak Road.
The record number of near misses is cause for concern. When riding a tram, it is important to be cautious of traffic as you board and as you exit. It is also important to know your legal rights if you or a loved one is involved in a tram accident.
Victims of pedestrian accidents (including those exiting a tram) are entitled to TAC no-fault benefits. Depending on the nature of your injuries and losses, you may also have one or more claims for additional compensation. Henry Carus + Associates can assess your claim and advise you of your legal options.
What Responsibilities Do Passengers Have When Exiting a Tram?
Passengers must wait for the tram to arrive at the stop before crossing the road to climb aboard. When exiting a tram, you should move across the road as quickly (and safely) as possible to the closest footpath. It is generally best not to try to run toward a tram as it is about to depart; doing so may put you in the path of a vehicle.
As you would in a crosswalk, you should stop and look for oncoming traffic before crossing the street at a tram stop. Unfortunately, passengers exiting a tram must often step directly into the road, leaving little time to look. If drivers in the vicinity of the tram are not paying attention, passengers may be struck by vehicles as they exit the tram.
What Responsibilities Do Drivers Have at Tram Stops?
Drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists are prohibited from passing trams when they come to a stop, when the doors of the tram are open, and when passengers are boarding or exiting the tram. The front of the vehicle should be even with the rear of the tram.
If the tram is stopped, the doors are closed, and there are no pedestrians in sight, drivers are permitted to overtake the tram. The maximum speed when passing is 10 km/h.
Some tram stops are protected by safety zones that divide tram tracks from the area of the road with vehicle traffic. Although vehicles are separated from trams and pedestrians by the safety zone, drivers must maintain a safe speed.
What If I Was Hit by a Vehicle While Exiting a Tram?
Pedestrians are covered by the Transport Accident Commission if they are injured in a road accident. TAC no-fault accident benefits compensate victims for medical expenses and loss of earnings, as well as pay for return to work support, home-based care, and more.
If you suffer a serious injury in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
One example of additional compensation in a TAC accident claim is the impairment benefit. If your injury results in a permanent impairment rating of 10 percent or higher, you may qualify for a one-time lump sum payment that compensates you for the long-term impact the injury has on your life.
Additionally, you may be entitled to common law compensation if the accident (a) results in a serious injury and (b) was caused by the carelessness of another driver. Common law compensation covers damages that are unavailable through TAC no-fault benefits, such as pain and suffering and the loss of future earnings.
Most claims involving pedestrian injury when exiting a tram are the fault of the driver. After all, it is illegal to pass a tram when it is stopped and pedestrians are present. Furthermore, pedestrians commonly suffer significant, permanent injuries when they are struck by a vehicle.
With all of this in mind, passengers who are harmed by a vehicle when disembarking from a tram are likely to have claims beyond TAC no-fault accident benefits. It is important to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and explore all of your options for recovering compensation.
Speak to a Lawyer About Your Accident Today
Melbourne is famous for its trams. Travel by tram is an important part of getting around the city. Motorists have a duty to operate their vehicles safely when driving next to or overtaking trams. Unfortunately, errors on the part of drivers often lead to serious accidents involving passengers who are getting off the tram.
The team at Henry Carus + Associates has unmatched experience representing pedestrians who have been injured in road accidents. We recognise the dangers faced by people on foot, and we are committed to maximising the benefits and other compensation you deserve for your injuries.
You Deserve More, and we will fight to get it for you.
Please call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers serve accident victims throughout Melbourne and other areas of Victoria.