Bus Crash? Why You Need A Bus Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed and even isolated afterwards. It’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Bus accidents are not uncommon. According to the US Department of Transportation, there are roughly 183 bus accidents every day — tallying up to over 67,000 incidents on a yearly basis.
Bus accident disputes are unique, so it’s important that you work with one or more experienced bus accident lawyers who understand how to effectively litigate these types of cases. We encourage you to contact us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 to connect to one of the bus accident lawyers in our network. Consultation is free, so there’s no risk in picking up the phone and getting started.
Curious about bus accident disputes from a legal perspective? Read on to learn more.
Unique opportunities and challenges in a bus accident dispute
Bus accident disputes involve a number of unique opportunities and challenges compared to a standard motor vehicle accident dispute. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.
Suing the bus company
Bus companies can be held “vicariously liable” for the negligence of their employees, such as a bus driver, or even the maintenance crew. This means you can sue the bus company directly. Why is this valuable?
Individuals don’t often have substantial insurance coverage. That can make it quite a challenge to secure maximum compensation, as there are practical limitations to recovery when suing minimally-insured defendants.
By comparison, businesses often have substantial insurance coverage. If you sue the bus company directly, your losses are more likely to fit within the policy limits. Further, as a business, the bus company has a vested interest in avoiding the negative publicity of a lawsuit and may be more willing to settle early on, saving you the frustration of extensive litigation.
Common carrier laws
In many states, including California, common carrier laws impose a heightened injury responsibility on public transport companies/employees (such as bus companies and their employees). In essence, these laws exist because “common carriers” have a great responsibility to their passengers due to the volume of passengers they transport on a regular basis.
Common carrier laws benefit the injured passenger, as it can be easier to win a lawsuit against the bus company since they have a heightened “duty of care” towards the injured passenger, under the law. This standard is looser than the normal negligence standard in personal injury disputes.
Public buses are common on US roadways, so it’s important to understand what to do if you’re in an accident while traveling on a public bus (or even if you’re not a passenger, if a public bus hits and injures you).
Government employees and entities have unique protections under US law. Depending on the state jurisdiction, there may be additional procedural requirements for filing a claim against them, for example, such as a notification deadline of six months after the accident date. Additionally, some states may provide certain legal immunities to certain employees and entities — while others, like California, have Acts that empower the injured to sue for the negligence of those same parties.
As government liability can be rather complicated, it’s important to discuss the strategic possibilities with your attorney.
What to do if you are in a bus accident?
If you’re in a bus accident, there are certain steps that you should take afterwards to avoid undermining your eventual injury claims, and to preserve any legal advantages that you might have. Consider the following:
- If necessary and if you can, seek immediate, emergency medical assistance after an incident. Delaying medical assistance can exacerbate your injuries, and that gives the defendant an opportunity to argue that your injuries were not caused by them (but were instead caused by your delay). This can make it a lot more challenging to secure maximum compensation.
- Avoid communicating extensively with insurers and defendants until you have spoken to an attorney. In these talks, it’s likely that you will disclose information that can undermine your legal claims. That’s why attorneys generally speak to these parties on your behalf — they’ll know how to handle the communication without disclosing anything that could harm your case.
- Take photos and videos of the accident and your injuries, if you can. These can serve as valuable evidence later on in the case.
- Call police to the scene if they’re not already there. Police will be able to make a report on the accident, which is evidence that you can make use of later on.
Compensation in a Bus Accident Crash
Bus accidents can affect the injured victims in a variety of different ways, causing a range of losses. These losses can be claimed as damages. If you win your case, or settle your case, you will receive compensation that reflects these losses/damages.
Potential damages include:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
Do keep in mind that damages vary from case-to-case. Even the same accident can have different damage outcomes depending on the injury victim, whose losses might be substantial compared to another victim.
For example, if one injury victim is unemployed, their injury will likely not result in any major wage loss claim. On the other hand, another injury victim with a high paying job (from which they had to take time off after the accident) could have much more significant wage loss damages to claim.
Why You Should Engage with Bus Accident Lawyers
Bus accident lawyers can provide a wide range of assistance over the course of the legal dispute — in fact, as soon as the accident occurs! Securing professional legal assistance makes it more likely that you will succeed in securing compensation for your injuries, and that the compensation will be maximized.
Here are some of the ways in which your attorney can help:
- Gathering and preserving evidence
- Communicating to third-parties (i.e., police, insurers, defendants, etc.)
- Obtaining information and testimony from witnesses
- Working with key experts to build your case
- Handling court-related procedures and hearings
- Negotiating a potential settlement with the defendants
- Developing a persuasive legal argument to support your claims
- Pursuing trial litigation, if necessary
- And more
Bear in mind that most plaintiffs’-side bus accident lawyers also work on contingency. That means that they only get paid if (and when) you do. You won’t pay any out-of-pocket costs to litigate your dispute. Instead, they’ll take a percentage cut of any compensation they secure on your behalf.
Contingency arrangements create a win-win dynamic. The attorney is incentivized to work efficiently to maximize your compensation. Why? The more you get paid, the more they get paid!
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Legal Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, then you may have a legal claim for damages that is worth exploring. That being said, for a first-time plaintiff, the post-accident process can be confusing and overwhelming. We encourage you to get in touch with a lawyer who can help you navigate this process.
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to connect to one of the experienced bus accident lawyers in our network. The lawyers in our network offer free consultations, and can potentially represent you on a contingency basis — in other words, they don’t get paid until and unless you get paid.
So don’t delay. Contact us ASAP to get started. We look forward to assisting you.