Experienced Lawyer for compensation for a bus accident near Tampa

What Type of Compensation Can I Get for a Bus Accident?

For most of us, getting from place to place is a necessity. Whether it’s work, school, a doctor’s appointment, or visiting family and friends, transportation is a part of life. Buses offer a convenient and inexpensive way to get around – even if you have your own vehicle. That said, every time you get on a bus, you are entrusting your safety to the bus company, the bus driver, and the other motorists on the road.

So, what happens after an accident? If you have suffered injuries in a bus accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation to get your life back on track. In many cases, you can obtain compensation for your medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and other losses you experience.

That said, navigating your way through the aftermath of a bus crash can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you never have to do it alone. Contact an experienced bus accident attorney to get assistance recovering the compensation you need.

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Bus Accident Statistics

Bus accidents are too common, often leading to severe injuries or death.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

  • 4,998 buses and commercial trucks were in fatal crashes.
  • The number of fatal bus crashes declined from 235 to 156.
  • The percentage of fatal bus crashes that involved a bus or commercial truck dropped by three percent.
  • There were 46 bus crashes across the country.
  • There were nine crashes involving city buses.
  • 86 transit/charter buses were in fatal crashes.

Compensation Available in Bus Accident Cases

There are several types of recoverable damages that you may recover after a bus accident. How the accident occurs and the losses you sustained as a result of the accident determine what you are entitled to recover and the value of your overall settlement.

Types of compensation bus accident victims may recover include:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Current and future lost income
  • Pain and suffering/mental and emotional trauma
  • Property damage

Current and Future Medical Bills

Bus accidents may cause physical injury or disability. An award for medical expenses includes current and future medical losses from a bus accident. An accident plaintiff can recover compensation for the initial emergency medical, doctor’s visits, and rehabilitative costs. Your award for medical losses may also include medical equipment like wheelchairs or crutches.

Current and Future Lost Income

When a bus accident causes you to lose time at work, you can recover compensation for your lost income. Sometimes injuries leave the victim unable to ever return to work due to a disability. If a bus accident victim’s disability is permanent, they may recover compensation for a lifetime of losses.

Pain and Suffering/Mental and Emotional Trauma

In addition to the tangible losses that bus accident plaintiffs may be entitled to, you can recover damages if your losses are mental or emotional.

The suffering you can experience after an accident goes beyond what is visible. An accident attorney can help you understand your rights to pain and suffering or mental and emotional losses after a crash and help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled. One way you can help your lawyer establish your pain and suffering is to keep a detailed journal about how your injuries have affected you, both physically and mentally.

Property Damage

A defendant in a bus accident case may be on the hook to pay for your property damage after a collision. If you were driving your car when the crash happened, the cost of repairing your vehicle might increase the overall value of your bus accident settlement.

Potential Defendants in Bus Accident Lawsuits

Bus accident cases are unique because of the number of potentially responsible defendants. If you get into a bus accident, you have likely been in an accident with a person driving a vehicle for hire.

Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, if an employee acts negligently, their employer may face legal liability for causing the victim harm. Therefore, victims can often name the bus driver’s employer as a defendant.

Potential defendants in a bus accident lawsuit include:

  • The bus driver
  • The bus company that employs the driver
  • The owner of the bus
  • Mechanics that may have negligently repaired the bus
  • Other drivers, cyclists, or motorists

Finding each defendant will be difficult or impossible if you do not have the right legal help in a bus accident case. It is of the utmost importance that you name every potentially responsible party to ensure you receive full financial compensation.

Common Causes of Bus Accident Cases

There are some common causes of bus accidents. Bus drivers, passenger car drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians share the road daily and must ensure they act safely to avoid accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, accidents happen far too often.

Some common causes of bus accidents include:

  • Bus company negligence
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Traffic violations
  • Poor maintenance
  • Negligence of other drivers
  • Defective buses
  • Fatigued driving

Bus Company Negligence

The bus company that hired the driver and likely owned the vehicle must refrain from acting negligently. Bus companies may be negligent in their hiring, retention of employees, or failure to supervise.

Hiring unqualified drivers is a particularly dangerous form of bus company negligence. Drivers should have a valid license, a criminal record free from infractions, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and other red flags that should trigger an employer to look further into the driver’s ability to complete the job safely.

Besides hiring the best people for the job, companies must retain and supervise good employees. If an employer keeps drivers that are unsafe or do not properly supervise, the company should be liable for any harm they cause.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. There are three major categories of distracted driving: cognitive, visual, and manual.

Cognitive distractions happen when a driver takes their mind off driving when they think about something other than driving. Visually distracted driving happens when a driver takes their eyes off the road. Finally, manual distractions occur when a driver takes their hands off the wheel.

Fatigued Driving

Driving while fatigued is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. A tragic accident can happen if a driver closes their eyes for even a moment. Exhausted drivers sometimes experience microsleep. Microsleep is a brief moment when a driver nods off. Microsleep happens so quickly that the driver may not realize they are sleeping, and an accident may happen.

Speeding

Speeding causes thousands of preventable traffic crashes each year. The sheer size of buses makes them deadly weapons when a driver chooses to speed. When bus drivers speed, the effects can be devastating for passengers, other vehicles, and anyone in its path.

Poor Maintenance

Bus companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles. Companies may hire third-party mechanics to work on their buses. The mechanics that complete work for the bus company may be responsible if they are negligent and the work they complete causes an accident and injuries.

Defective Buses

Defective vehicle manufacture may result in liability for the manufacturer of the bus if the defects result in an accident. In cases of improper maintenance of vehicles, the victim can recover compensation from the company that assembled the bus. These cases can be complicated, and finding each defendant alone can be nearly impossible. An attorney’s assistance can help increase your odds of full financial recovery.

Negligent Drivers

Other drivers may be to blame for a bus accident. Drivers that fail to obey traffic rules, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drive while fatigued, or act negligently in any way may be partially or wholly responsible for causing the accident.

Traffic Violations

Bus drivers must make sure they obey traffic laws. Following traffic rules can help drivers avoid an accident. When every driver follows traffic laws, everyone on the road is safer. Drivers should avoid running red lights, blowing through stop signs, always yield to passengers, and obey all traffic signs.

How To Determine Liability After a Bus Accident?

Determining liability for bus crashes can be difficult. Hire an attorney to put you in the best position to determine liability. Finding out who is responsible for a bus accident may require an investigation into the facts of your case and possibly hiring expert witnesses.

At the accident scene, the police will create an initial report. In their report, the officer will draft a narrative of the accident in which they will determine liability. This is not the final finding of liability, but insurance companies will use the police report during their investigations.

Each insurance company will investigate the cause of the accident. After determining liability, the opposing insurance company may offer you a settlement to resolve the case. If that insurance company finds that you are responsible for causing the accident, you may want to speak to an attorney before moving forward.

Your attorney may hire an expert witness as part of their investigation. Expert witnesses help build a case for recovering compensation. For example, an accident reconstructionist can paint a picture of how the accident happened for your legal team and the jury. A medical expert witness can help you prove that the accident caused the injuries you are now suffering.

What Should I Do After a Bus Accident?

What you do after an accident is critical and can make or break your case. First, you should seek medical attention after a crash. Seeing a doctor can help take care of your physical well-being, and it can help your case. Prompt medical care can help prove causation in a personal injury lawsuit.

Avoid speaking to an insurance company without legal counsel. Speaking to an insurance adjuster without speaking to an attorney can put you in a corner. Insurance adjusters work to protect the profits of the company. They work to avoid paying out insurance claims whenever possible.

Share the evidence that you have with your attorney. Your attorney will want to see pictures of your injuries, medical records, bills, photos of your vehicles, and any other evidence that you have that may help prove your case.

How Long Do I Have to File a Bus Accident Lawsuit?

The deadline for filing a bus accident lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a time period given by state law for injury victims to file a claim for damages with the appropriate court. Missing the statute of limitations can be fatal to your claim.

What if I Cannot Afford an Attorney?

If you are worried about the cost of legal services after a bus accident, your attorney may have contingency fee payment arrangements available for potential clients. A contingency fee arrangement allows a client to defer payment for legal services until the end of a case. Clients typically will not pay an attorney for their work unless there is a financial settlement.

The attorney will receive a percentage of the final settlement amount in exchange for their legal services. The client and lawyer agree to the amount the client pays before any work begins.

How Can a Bus Accident Attorney Help Me?

Navigating the aftermath of a bus accident can be overwhelming, confusing, and feels nearly impossible. You need an experienced advocate to help you accomplish your goal of receiving all the available compensation to which you may be entitled. An accident attorney you accomplish your goal by negotiating with insurance companies, preparing your case for trial, and helping you avoid common pitfalls that accident plaintiffs who represent themselves tend to fall into.

Contact a Bus Accident Attorney Today

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Bus Accident cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Bus Accident Attorney in Tampa

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a bus accident, contact an experienced attorney in your area immediately. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Tampa will help protect your legal rights after an accident, help you minimize your losses, and maximize your access to financial compensation.

Request A Free Consultation Today!


Boohoff Law P.A. – Tampa Office

829 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd,
Tampa, FL 33603
Phone: (813) 725-5606

Experienced Lawyer for elements of a bus accident lawsuit near Tampa

The Elements of a Bus Accident Lawsuit

If you have been involved in a bus accident, it’s important to understand that bus accident lawsuits are typically negligence cases. You will need to prove each element of common law negligence, including duty, breach, causation, and damages, to succeed in your case. Consider consulting with a bus accident lawyer to guide you through the legal process.

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The Elements of Negligence

Duty

Every driver owes a duty of care to other drivers on the road. A bus driver owes a special duty of care to members of the public that they transport. The driver must ensure their passengers do not get hurt on their trips. The bus driver also owes a duty of care to anyone else on the road, including other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

The bus driver and the company also must maintain safe equipment. If the bus has defects, the driver and the company must ensure the vehicle does not get onto the road. They must fix defects if they have prior knowledge of them.

A driver’s duty of care also covers injuries that occur outside of the bus. The bottom line is that the duty of care begins when the driver picks up a passenger and drops them off at their destination.

Breach

A breach happens when someone fails to uphold their duty of care to others. For example, if a bus driver fails to take care of driving responsibly and hurts someone, they will be responsible for paying for their injuries. Similarly, if a bus company fails to maintain its vehicle, it can be liable to anyone who suffers harm due to its failure to do so.

Causation

Causation is often one of the most challenging elements of a negligence case to prove. Insurance companies work overtime to avoid paying insurance settlements. That means adjusters will try to discredit your claims. They may claim that your injuries did not directly result from the accident or that some intervening cause was actually to blame. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can protect your rights.

Damages

Finally, an accident victim must prove damages to win their case. Even if you can prove each of the first three elements of negligence, if you did not suffer any losses related to the accident, you cannot recover compensation because there are no damages to compensate you for.

Common Carrier Duty of Care

A driver that transports the public for hire has a duty of care to ensure their passengers are not injured. This is the common carrier rule.

To qualify for the common carrier status, the service provider must show:

  • The company has a regular place of business. A regular place of business is any bona fide place where business transactions take place. Examples of a regular place of business can include a factory, warehouse, or office. As for bus drivers, a regular place of business can consist of a bus depot or station.
  • The company advertises its business to the public. Public transportation companies qualify for common carrier status because they advertise their services, even if it may not be immediately apparent.
  • The company charges a fee for its services. City and charter buses have a fare associated with receiving their services.

Potential Defendants In a Bus Accident Lawsuit

Bus accident cases can get complicated. Most of these accidents have many potentially responsible parties at the center. It is important to name each defendant. By naming each possible defendant, accident victims can ensure they are in the best position to fully recover for all their damages after a lawsuit.

Potentially responsible parties in bus accident claims can include:

  • The bus driver
  • The bus company that employs the driver and owns the vehicle
  • The bus manufacturer
  • The company that maintains the vehicles
  • Other drivers
  • The owner of the land where the bus stop is
  • The city, state, or local government

What Is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability is a legal theory that allows plaintiffs to sue companies if their employees acted negligently and caused an injury. Companies typically have “deep pockets” or significant financial resources that individual plaintiffs can never access. If your losses or injuries exceed the driver’s insurance limits, naming the company as a defendant can help you get the financial recovery you need for full compensation.

To prove that a company is vicariously liable, you must show that:

  • The bus driver was working at the time of the accident.
  • The driver was an employee of the bus company when the accident happened. If the driver was an independent contractor, the company might not face liability for causing the accident.

Potential Claims Against Companies

Plaintiffs may have a cause of action to collect compensation from bus companies if their drivers do not act carefully during trips. Bus companies must keep their vehicles safe. They must ensure that the vehicles carry the correct insurance on their buses and hire upstanding professionals to work for them.

Negligent Hiring

Companies must hire qualified and dependable professionals, especially if they are common carriers. Bus companies must carefully review each employment application and ensure they can safely handle a vehicle the size of a bus.

The kinds of qualifications that bus companies may look for in employees can include:

  • A clean driving record.
  • A criminal record free from charges or convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Proper CDL license.

Failure to Supervise

Bus companies have a duty to supervise their employees. This goes for anyone that works in the company: the drivers, maintenance workers, receptionists, and all other employees.

Examples of lapse of supervision or lack of supervision of employees by a company can include:

  • The company does not address issues it knows or should be aware of, and someone gets hurt.
  • The company failed to learn of a driver’s failure to meet company standards.
  • The bus depot is poorly maintained.

Negligent Retention

Negligent retention is a cause of action that a plaintiff may have against a company for keeping an employee after discovering that they are unqualified or underqualified for their position. Companies must continuously evaluate their employees and qualifications and make changes if they see fit.

Inadequate Maintenance

Bus companies routinely inspect their vehicles. Companies must also hire qualified mechanics to inspect vehicles. A bus company may face legal liability if it fails to maintain its vehicles properly. Companies must also keep detailed records of their maintenance checks.

How Long Do I Have to File a Bus Accident Lawsuit?

The deadline to file a bus accident claim depends on the state. The deadline to file a lawsuit is called a statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations vary based on the type of case. In bus accident cases, most states allow plaintiffs 1-3 years to file a lawsuit.

If the city, state, or local government is to blame for your injuries, you may be entitled to relief, but there is an uphill battle when suing a government entity. Most states require a notice claim if you intend to sue. If you fail to do so, you may lose your ability to sue. The statute of limitations does not begin until after filing the notice of your intent to sue.

What Injuries Are Common In a Bus Accident Lawsuit?

Every case is unique. No two plaintiffs suffer the same sorts of injuries. However, the sheer size of buses can cause devastating injuries.

Common injuries in bus accidents can include:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Concussions and other head traumas
  • Paralysis
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Amputation
  • Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
  • Spinal cord injuries

You need to get proper medical treatment for all injuries you suffer immediately.

What Damages Are Available in a Bus Accident?

There are three general categories of damages in bus accident cases. The three kinds of damages are economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are tangible losses that an accident victim suffers. These losses are typically easy to prove, but accident victims may not know what compensation they are entitled to.

Economic damages can include:

  • Current and future medical bills and repayment for the cost of ongoing treatments
  • Current and future lost income
  • Lost earning capacity (this refers to the inability to return to the same type of work)
  • Property damage

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damage is intangible damage that results from a bus accident. It is usually more difficult to prove these damages than economic damages. Despite the difficulty victims face as they try to prove these damages, each accident victim is entitled to receive compensation for them.

Examples of the non-economic damages you may recover include:

  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not widely available. The availability of punitive damages is dependent on the state. Many states limit how much money plaintiffs can recover if they receive a punitive damages award.

These damages apply if the defendant acted wildly outrageously or in a manner that courts wish to deter others from acting in the future.

How Can a Bus Accident Attorney Help Me?

Getting the compensation you deserve after a bus accident lawsuit is usually tricky for a person not represented by counsel. Having an attorney working on your behalf can significantly increase the odds of you having a larger settlement amount that addresses your losses thoroughly. An experienced attorney can help you in the following ways:

Negotiate With the Insurance Company on Your Behalf

Most civil cases begin with settlement negotiations with the insurance company. After filing a police report, you should report the accident to your insurance company to comply with your policy. The other driver and their employer will also file a report with their insurance company.

You may hear from their insurer asking for a statement about your side of the story, but it is not a good idea to speak with opposing insurance companies without speaking to an attorney first.

In bus accident cases, defendants usually have massive insurance companies working for them. An unrepresented accident victim will likely have trouble taking on these giants. If you find yourself in a bus accident lawsuit, you need an attorney working on your side.

Investigate the Cause of the Accident

Experienced attorneys will investigate the accident independently of the police report and the insurance company. You win civil lawsuits based on the facts, so your attorney should have a strong command of the facts before beginning your case. Your attorney knows what to look for and what evidence to collect at an accident scene.

Identify Each Potentially Responsible Party

A legal team can help you find the parties that are responsible for causing your accident. There are many possible defendants in bus accident cases, so having an experienced legal mind working on finding everyone who should pay for your injuries is essential.

Speak With Debt Collectors and Hospital Billing Departments for You

Your attorney and their team can field calls from debt collectors from the hospital medical billing department and other debt collectors related to the accident. After a bus accident, you may receive letters and phone calls from debt collectors. This correspondence can be so stressful that it can compromise your physical recovery. You can rely on your legal team to take that stress off you so you can focus solely on healing.

Help You File a Lawsuit

Civil lawsuits, including bus accidents, involve various procedural rules. Following each procedural rule carefully can protect your legal claims from dismissal on technical grounds. A knowledgeable accident attorney can help you ensure that each procedural rule is complied with and your interests are protected.

Contact a Bus Accident Attorney Today

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Bus Accident cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Bus Accident Attorney in Tampa.

There is no reason for you to face the aftermath of a bus accident alone. If you or a family member has suffered injuries or other losses in a bus accident, call an attorney in your area and create a legal team that will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve.
Waiting to retain a personal injury lawyer in Tampa or trying to handle your case yourself may obtain far less compensation than you deserve.

Request A Free Consultation Today!


Boohoff Law P.A. – Tampa Office

829 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd,
Tampa, FL 33603
Phone: (813) 725-5606

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