​How to File a Bus Accident Claim?

Buses carry many passengers at once and are some of the largest vehicles on the road. When they are in an accident, it can mean catastrophe for those on and off the bus. Depending on the accident’s severity, multiple people can suffer life-altering injuries or might not survive.

If you suffered injuries in a bus crash, you can typically receive compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, getting compensation can be a long road. If you have been in a bus accident, filing a claim is a confusing process that requires legal knowledge and representation. Seek help from a bus accident lawyer immediately.

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Basic steps of an injury claim

Once you have legal assistance, you can begin the claim process. The first part is sending the liable parties a notice that you are pursuing compensation. Your lawyer will send the notice along with information that they are representing you. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys should only communicate with you through the law firm.

Next comes the hard work of establishing fault and who was negligent and should pay for the losses from the accident. Even if the cause of the crash seems obvious, you need evidence of negligence.

After establishing fault, it is time to demand compensation by calculating your losses and claim’s worth based on various factors. The demand packet is sent to the insurance company, including an outline of your losses, supporting evidence, and how much you need. The adjuster or defense lawyer will begin negotiating with your attorney and hopefully reach a fair settlement agreement.

You must file a lawsuit and move into the arduous litigation process if you do not receive a fair settlement offer. Not every case reaches this stage of the process, as many settle directly with insurers.

Bus passenger claims

Buses are generally a safe mode of transportation, especially when you are a passenger. You don’t expect to suffer an injury during a bus ride, but many passengers do. While accidents are rare, they do happen and create the need for an injury claim.

You might file a claim against the bus company’s insurer if the driver or another employee was to blame. Third parties might also have contributed to the crash, complicating liability.

Bus companies have higher insurance caps than other drivers, which means there can be more compensation available for serious injuries. This does not necessarily mean the claim process will go smoother, however. You need a skilled lawyer to handle every step of your claim.

Other accidents on buses

Traffic collisions are one reason you might suffer an injury and file a claim, but other dangerous conditions on the bus can injure passengers. Stepping on and off the bus can hurt you, and with the lack of safety equipment on the bus, you can also suffer injuries while riding.

Examples of dangerous bus conditions include:

  • Broken handrails
  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Debris in walkways
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Aggressive passengers

You are putting your safety in someone else’s hands, which means they must make it right if you suffered an injury in their care. You must speak to a bus accident lawyer to pursue legal action if you are involved in any of these dangerous conditions while riding a bus.

Government-owned buses

The claims process is slightly different when riding on a state or federal government bus. Public transit and school buses are prime examples of government-owned buses, which are the most prevalent around town. Government-related injury claims fall under tort law, which varies by municipality. The deadlines are faster, and the paperwork is different, so you must find a local bus accident lawyer with experience with these cases.

Bus accident victims will need to file a notice of claim form immediately. While the process is different, one thing stays the same; they will make you jump through hoops during the claims process. You must file against the correct agency, complete the proper forms, and meet their stringent deadlines. You want your attorney to handle all of this.

School buses and your children

Since school buses are government-owned, pursuing compensation is the same process. The critical difference is the person who is filing the claim. Your children are minors and cannot take legal action without you. Many states have special rules for injury claims involving minors.

School buses operate under different rules because the school district is responsible for the children’s safety. Multiple parties can be liable for school bus accidents, requiring more paperwork and red tape to wade through.

If the school bus is from a private school, a lawsuit might be more straightforward unless the school receives federal funding. There are many nuances to determine who to sue and how you can file a claim for your child when they suffer an injury in a school bus accident.

School bus claims might have shorter deadlines, usually less than a year, and you must speak to a bus accident lawyer with experience handling these claims.

Privately owned buses

Tour buses are common carriers, meaning state and federal laws regulate them to a very high standard. Such private buses can take people to medical treatment, shopping malls, sports events, and more. Some people use private buses to travel across the state or even across the country.

The claims process varies for government-owned and privately owned buses, but you must move quickly in both instances. In both cases, you need to meet deadlines and gather substantial evidence to prove your allegations and recover compensation. Don’t wait to seek legal help.

Finding the liable party

The first and biggest hurdle to seeking compensation is determining liability for the accident, which can be different from who caused the incident. While a negligent bus driver might have caused the crash, other parties might also share legal liability.

Liable entities can include:

  • Bus driver: If they contributed to or wholly caused the accident through a negligent act
  • Bus company: Through vicarious liability, the bus company is also liable for any losses in a bus accident a driver caused.
  • Manufacturing company: If there was a defective part on the bus, the manufacturer is liable.
  • Maintenance company: Bus maintenance is essential, and failure to maintain the bus leading to an accident means the maintenance company is liable.

Multiple parties on the above list can share liability for a bus accident, and injury victims must file the proper claims against the right entities.

Recoverable damages

By filing a claim, you can seek compensation for your losses. How much will depend on individual factors you must calculate with your local bus accident lawyer.

Examples of damages you can request are:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Disfigurement
  • Reduction in the quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future estimated losses

It can be challenging to calculate damages, especially for serious injuries. You need to demand the full amount to cover your past, future, economic, and non-economic losses, and you should have your bus accident attorney handle this calculation.

Punitive damages

Aside from economic and non-economic damages, you might also seek punitive damages if you file a lawsuit. These payments punish the egregious actions of a dangerous driver. Drinking and driving while speeding during bus operations is a prime example of a claim where the injured parties might obtain punitive damages.

Some states cap these damages and create strict guidelines for who can recover them. While you can request these damages, you cannot dictate how much you will get. The court will set an amount if they award them within state limitations.

Litigation proceedings and trial

When you have gone through the insurance claim process without a resolution, your bus crash lawyer will advise you of the next step: moving it to litigation and preparing for trial. Once you agree to move to court, your lawyer will draft and file the documents for a lawsuit. The insurance company will receive a notice and must submit a response. Now, the litigation process begins.

Most of the process involves discovery, and this phase can be long and critical. Both sides will collect evidence and information to build their cases during discovery. It is time-consuming, and each side will request pertinent information and evidence from the other. After enough discovery, settlement negotiations commence, and many claims will resolve here. If settlement negotiations are not fruitful, then the case continues to trial, where the judge or jury will decide your fate.

Causes of bus accidents

Human error is usually the cause of bus accidents, whether it was the driver, a manufacturer, a maintenance worker, or someone else. Your lawyer can determine the cause of the accident and the type of negligence that led to your injuries. Sometimes, the weather is a contributing factor in causing your accident, but it might also be a driver who went too fast in slick conditions.

There are also a few common types of bus accidents:

  • Single bus crash: The bus driver loses control of the bus and causes injury to passengers. These accidents can result in rollovers, hitting objects, and subsequent accidents on the road.
  • Bus collision with a smaller vehicle: Buses colliding with passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and more, leading to severe injuries.
  • Pedestrian accident: The bus strikes a pedestrian, typically at an intersection or crosswalk.

As a victim in any of these instances, you have rights, and you must speak to local bus crash attorneys to assess your situation and how to proceed.

Serious bus accident injuries

Your injuries will depend on how your accident happened and where you were during the collision. Bus passengers can have wide-ranging injuries depending where they were standing or sitting, if the bus rolled over, and other factors. Pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles regularly suffer serious or even permanent injuries due to bus crashes.

Some examples of bus accident injuries include:

Significant injuries require significant treatment, which is costly. You are suffering a financial and physical toll from the errors and actions of others, you should seek payment for your losses and the effects the injuries will have on your life.

Wrongful death claims

Since buses are large, they can cause extreme injury to passengers and others. Unfortunately, some bus crashes result in one or more deaths.

You must take legal action if your loved one dies from a bus accident. Filing a wrongful death claim will not bring them back, but you can seek justice for your loss. You must speak with a personal injury lawyer nearby to discuss your options.

As an eligible close family member, you might recover compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of household contributions.
  • Medical costs incurred from the accident before their death
  • Future lost wages
  • Lost benefits

Your loved one’s life does not have a price tag, but innocent lives should not be lost due to bus driver errors. Compensation through a wrongful death claim is the law’s way of providing justice for grieving families.

Calculating compensation

The premise of your bus accident claim is to recover money for your losses. However, many victims will under or overvalue their claims when a commercial vehicle is involved. The insurance company consistently undervalues your claim so it can save money, while victims might have an inflated idea of what they deserve.

When you have a local bus accident lawyer on your side, they will appropriately calculate your settlement, considering various factors:

  • The severity of your injury
  • How does the injury impact your life ?
  • Did you miss work, change jobs, or stop working?
  • You expected medical recovery
  • Is a full recovery possible?
  • The losses the injury has caused

Every bus accident case is different, and the compensation you can recover will depend on individual factors and losses. Ensure your lawyer knows all your losses to tabulate them and negotiate a fair settlement accurately.

Call a local bus accident lawyer today

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

After a bus accident, you must take immediate action. Depending on the bus ownership, there are many hurdles to jump through, and getting reimbursement for your losses is daunting. The bus insurance company has defense attorneys and adjusters who have the skills to delay and deny claims. While these companies have the means to pay your losses, they want to save money instead.

Get the legal assistance necessary to get justice for your accident by speaking to our bus accident lawyer.

Request A Free Consultation Today!

Boohoff Law, P.A. — Auto Accident Lawyers – Tampa Office

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

March 15, 2023
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