TriMet Injury Questions

TriMet cases are separate from auto accidents, and require specific a procedure, as TriMet is a public body.  Injuries from a TriMet accident vary—from falling while standing on the bus or MAX train to being hit by a TriMet vehicle as a pedestrian or cyclist to an auto accident involving a TriMet vehicle. Please read the commonly asked questions below and see the general TriMet Injuries page to find out more about TriMet civil cases. Do not hesitate to contact me at 503-546-0461 or with any questions or if you or a loved have been injured in a TriMet incident.

Do I have a case?

It depends. I receive a lot of calls from people who fell when the bus or MAX train stopped abruptly. In order to determine whether you have a case, it is important to first step back and think why the vehicle stopped. If it stopped to avoid another vehicle, a cyclist or a person but no collision occurred, you might not have a viable case. If another vehicle rear-ended the bus or train, that person might be responsible for your injury. If the bus or train hit another vehicle, the TriMet driver might be responsible. Since each case has specific facts, it is best to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to assess your claim.

What is the statute of limitations for TriMet cases?

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years, meaning you have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. For more information on personal injury cases other than TriMet accidents, see the FAQs on auto accidents or bicycle/pedestrian accidents.

How are TriMet cases different from other personal injury cases?

  • TriMet is a public body, so, as required by the Oregon Tort Claims Act, suing TriMet entails filing a tort claim notice within 180 days of the accident for most cases. You will lose the right to sue for your injury if the notice is not filed in time.
  • Since TriMet is a commercial carrier, they are not required to carry personal injury protection, or PIP coverage. That means TriMet will not pay your medical bills unless and until they are found to be at fault AND they settle your case. That can take years. So, in the meantime, you are responsible for paying your medical bills unless you have health insurance. If the case settles or a jury finds in your favor at trial, you and/or your insurance will be reimbursed. For more information on what PIP is, see the auto accident FAQs.
  • TriMet has in-house attorneys and insurance adjusters, so they are specialized in handling only TriMet cases. This also means TriMet is not concerned with billing costs for its attorneys. For example, when a company that is being sued hires an independent law firm to defend it, the company might be conscious of how much money the law firm is billing the company. TriMet does not have to worry about this since the attorneys are in-house.

What do I have to include in a Tort Claim Notice?


Formal notice of a claim is a written communication from a claimant or representative of a claimant containing a statement that a claim for damages is or will be asserted against the public body or an officer, employee or agent of the public body. It must include a description of the time, place and circumstances giving rise to the claim, so far as known to the claimant. Finally, the notice must include the name of the claimant and the mailing address to which correspondence concerning the claim may be sent.

Formal notice of the claim must be given by mail or personal delivery within 180 days of the injury. I mail all of my Tort Claim Notices via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

Can I handle my claim without an attorney?

Possibly. Typically, if you have soft-tissue injuries from an incident and the damages are relatively low, you should be able to successfully pursue the claim without legal counsel. However, if you choose to do a free consultation with me and I feel confident I would be able to win more money for you, then it might be worth it to you.

What do I need to know if I’m handling my own claim?

  • The statute of limitations is two years from the date of your injury.
  •  You must file a Tort Claim Notice with TriMet within 180 days of your injury to preserve your claim.
  • There are many different sources that provide legal forms and documents necessary for pursuing your claim on your own, both brick-and-mortar stores and online. Just make sure you are choosing the appropriate documents for your jurisdiction and purpose, particularly if you use forms you found online. Oftentimes websites provide generic forms that might not be specific to Oregon rules or procedures.
  • Be sure to keep track of any liens you have on your case. If your heath insurer paid your medical bills they will want to be reimbursed out of any settlement you make with TriMet. You at least settle your claim for an amount that covers your medical expenses and vehicle damage costs.
  • You can always call me if you have questions about your claim. I am happy to tell you what the rule or law is or help you access information on your own.