Bus accidents are unique. They are more complicated than a typical automobile accident for a number of reasons and you need an experienced bus accident lawyer on your side if you or a loved one has been a victim in a bus accident. Here are some of the ways that bus accidents are unique:
Bus Accidents Can Involve More Claimants
Most bus accidents involve a number of injured victims. These can be individuals in the bus or struck by the bus. With the greater number of claimants and a limited pool of resources, it is important that the claim be handled correctly – and in a timely manner.
Bus Accident Injuries Can be More Serious
Bus accidents can cause serious injuries and death. Vehicles or pedestrians stuck by buses are likely to suffer significant losses or injuries. Similarly, passengers in buses are typically not restrained.
Bus Accident Lawyers Must Sort Through Complex Insurance
Companies that own buses often have multiple layers of insurance – that they are often reluctant to disclose. Part of what a good bus accident lawyer does is find all the policies that might cover a loss. The Fort Worth bus accident lawyer at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group is experienced in uncovering insurance policies that may not be immediately apparent.
The Laws Governing Buses Are Different
There are a host of laws that govern the operation of buses. A bus accident lawyer has to have a good understanding of these laws and what it means to be able to safely operate a bus. These cases also involve complex legal procedures, including extensive discovery, depositions, and expert testimony.
Governmental Immunity May Come Up in Bus Accident Cases
Some government entities (such as municipalities) may have immunity from certain types of lawsuits, which can make it difficult to hold them liable for an accident.
Gathering Evidence in Bus Accident Cases
Gathering evidence to prove liability and damages can be difficult. It may involve obtaining and analyzing data from the bus’s black box, reviewing video footage, and interviewing witnesses.
Determining Liability in Bus Accident Cases
Determining who is liable for a bus accident can be complex. It may involve multiple parties, such as the bus driver, the bus company, the bus manufacturer, and government entities responsible for maintaining the roads.
How can a lawyer help if you’ve been hurt in a bus accident?
Investigating the accident: A lawyer can investigate the accident to determine the cause and who is liable. They can gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
Evaluating your injuries: A lawyer can help you understand the extent of your injuries and the long-term impact they may have on your life. They can also help you get the medical treatment you need.
Calculating your damages: A lawyer can help you calculate the monetary value of your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Negotiating with insurance companies: A lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to secure a fair settlement for your losses.
Representing you in court: If a settlement cannot be reached, a lawyer can represent you in court and advocate for your rights to obtain fair compensation for your losses.
Advising you on your legal rights and options: A lawyer can advise you on your legal rights and options and help you understand the claims process and what to expect.
Helping with the complex legal procedures: Bus accident lawsuits may involve complex legal procedures, such as discovery, depositions, and expert testimony, a lawyer can help with this.
Helping you navigate government immunity: Some government entities may have immunity from certain types of lawsuits, a lawyer can help you navigate this issue.
How is liability determined in a bus accident?
Liability in a bus accident is determined by identifying who was at fault for the accident. This is typically done by investigating the accident and gathering evidence to determine what caused it and who is responsible.
Negligence: Liability can be based on the principle of negligence, which means that someone failed to exercise reasonable care and their actions or inaction caused the accident. In a bus accident, this could include the bus driver, the bus company, or the manufacturer of the bus.
Product Liability: If the accident was caused by a defect in the bus design or manufacturing, the manufacturer or supplier of the bus can be held liable under the principle of product liability.
Governmental Immunity: Some government entities such as municipalities may have immunity from certain types of lawsuits.
Violation of laws and regulations: Violation of laws and regulations, such as traffic laws or safety regulations can also be considered in determining liability.
Contributory negligence: if the injured person also played a role in causing the accident, it may affect the compensation they can claim. It’s important to note that in some cases, multiple parties may be found liable for a bus accident, and therefore the compensation and damages are distributed among them accordingly. A bus accident lawyer can help determine who is liable and what evidence is needed to prove it.
Catastrophic Injuries can occur in Bus Accidents
A catastrophic injury is a severe and debilitating injury that has a significant impact on a person’s life and typically requires long-term or permanent care. Some examples of catastrophic injuries that can occur in a bus accident include:
Traumatic brain injuries: These can range from concussions to severe brain damage and can result in long-term cognitive and physical impairments.
Spinal cord injuries: These injuries can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia, which can cause permanent paralysis and loss of sensation in the affected limbs.
Amputations: These injuries can occur as a result of severe crush injuries and may require the amputation of a limb.
Burn injuries: Severe burn injuries can cause disfigurement and disability, as well as intense pain and suffering.
Internal injuries: These can include injuries to organs such as the lungs, heart, and liver.
Psychological injuries: Trauma from the accident can lead to long-term psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These types of injuries can have a profound and lasting impact on a person’s life and can require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term care. They can also lead to significant financial losses due to medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs.
What type of compensation is available after a bus accident?
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you may be entitled to several types of compensation. These can include:
Medical expenses: You can be compensated for the cost of medical treatment, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy.
Lost wages: If your injuries have caused you to miss work and lose income, you can be compensated for the wages you have lost.
Pain and suffering: You can be compensated for the physical pain and emotional suffering you have endured as a result of your injuries.
Loss of consortium: If your injuries have affected your ability to have a normal relationship with your spouse or family, you can be compensated for that loss.
Punitive damages: In some cases, if the bus company or driver’s actions were particularly reckless or negligent, you may be awarded punitive damages, which are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.
Future expenses: If your injuries are permanent, you may be entitled to compensation for future expenses such as future medical treatment, future lost wages, and future care.
It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the specific circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries.
What is the time limit for filing a bus accident claim in Texas?
In Texas, the time limit for filing a bus accident claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. This is known as the statute of limitations. It means that an individual who has been injured in a bus accident in Texas has two years to file a lawsuit for damages in a court of law. This time limit begins on the date of the accident.
What should you do if you’ve been injured in a bus accident?
If you’re involved in a bus accident, it’s important to take certain steps to protect yourself and your legal rights. Here are some things you should do:
Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Some injuries, such as head injuries and internal injuries, may not show symptoms right away.
Report the accident: If the bus is operated by a government agency, you should report the accident to the appropriate agency. If the bus is operated by a private company, you should report the accident to the company.
Gather information: Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses, and take pictures of the accident scene and any visible injuries. Get the driver’s name, license plate number and insurance information.
Keep records: Keep all medical bills, receipts, and other documentation related to the accident and your injuries.
Contact a lawyer: Consult with a lawyer who has experience in bus accident cases as soon as possible. A lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and help you take the necessary steps to protect them. If you were injured in Texas, give us a call. We are here to help.
Don’t speak to anyone about the accident: Don’t speak to anyone about the accident, especially an insurance company, without first consulting a lawyer. They may try to use your statements against you later.
Don’t sign any documents without consulting with a lawyer: Don’t sign any documents, especially a release, without first consulting with a lawyer. They may limit your rights to compensation.
Keep a journal: Write down your memories of the accident as soon as possible after it occurred as well as how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. It can be used as evidence in court if necessary.
By following these steps, you can protect yourself and your legal rights after a bus accident. Remember that each case is unique, so it is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after the accident.
Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned trial attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has been to trial throughout state and federal courts in Texas.
As a former insurance adjuster himself, Benson has insights into how insurance companies evaluate claims – and why without the proper encouragement, they are likely to undervalue a claim. Benson uses these insights combined with his clout in the courtroom to obtain justice for his clients – in and outside of the courtroom.