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.
Bus accidents are too common, often leading to severe injuries or death.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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