Wheelchair tipovers are by far, the most common accident/incident scenario in paratransit and non-emergency medical transportation (or “ambulette” service). And wheelchair tipovers are among the most common accident/incident scenario in fixed route transit service.
The causation of these incidents, the many federal regulatory violations they can encompass, and the range of remedies which facilitate settlements and damage awards far in excess of “direct damages” are largely unknown to even the best attorneys. Yet they are completely understandable when one understands the physical, technical, institutional and commercial dynamics of these industries, and how these modes and services operate. Properly articulated and supported with evidence, explanations of even the most complex elements are also jury-friendly. Plus, the defense defaults to spoliation, lies and shenanigans.
Further, no one with even the longest arms imaginable could reach back and unfasten either end of the rear securement positions of a wheelchair “tie-down.” And from within the chair, no one could unfasten either end of even the front positions. Thus, contributory negligence is physically impossible, and inconceivable.
Transportation Alternatives President Ned Einstein, who has served as an expert witness in more than 80 wheelchair tipover cases, typically finds between two to four Federal regulatory violations in many or most incidents involving these tipovers—particularly in NEMT service. And most of these violations are violations of the victim’s (or plaintiff’s) civil rights.