When you climb aboard a city bus – or your child boards the school bus – you expect an easy, uneventful trip. In general, this is true, given that far fewer buses get into accidents than private vehicles. In fact, according to national statistics, only 234 buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2014. However, when buses do have accidents, resulting injuries can be worse than in the average car accident, and your financial losses higher. A bus accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Why Are Bus Accidents So Dangerous?
The lack of safety features for riders is one of the main reasons bus accidents are so dangerous. In general, buses do not have seatbelts or airbags that protect riders during a collision. You can get tossed around, making contact with other passengers, personal belongings, windows and seats, and you can easily get hurt. Also, due to height and balance issues, buses have a significant rollover potential, posing a serious injury risk.
What Makes a Bus Accident Different?
Public bus drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers. Like other common carriers, such as taxi drivers, the law obligates them to protect their riders with a high degree of vigilance. As a victim of a bus collision, you are entitled to full compensation.
However, several factors complicate your personal injury case in a bus accident. For example, if the driver of another vehicle is at fault, you must file a claim as a third party to the accident. You may need to file an official notice with the government entity that oversees the bus service as well as an insurance claim. Fortunately, your bus accident lawyer knows how to help.
Other rules specific to victims of bus accidents include:
- Special time limits for notifying government entities of your damages
- Shorter time frame — statute of limitations — for filing a claim
- Unique insurance coverage situations and limitations
Who is Liable for Damages?
Determining liability for an injury accident provides the basis for your damages claim. Your bus accident lawyer has the necessary resources, such as the right to access your driver’s work history, to make this determination. The at-fault party’s negligence or intentional acts must have caused your injury.
A driver’s negligence could consist of:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while unreasonably tired or ill
- Talking on a cell phone or to passengers while driving
Intentional acts contributing to an accident include:
- Aggressive driving/road rage
- Operating a bus while intoxicated
- Deliberate disregard of traffic laws
The bus management firm could also be liable for a bus accident if it did not properly train the driver, did not require drug screening or did not maintain the bus in a reasonable fashion. Be sure to discuss these possibilities with your bus accident lawyer.
What About Compensation?
If you are the victim of a bus accident, you have the right to claim specific damages, such as:
- Payment for your medical care
- Compensation for time off from work
- Payment for your pain and suffering
- Recovery for your lost earning ability, now and in the future
If the liable party intentionally caused the accident, California statutes allow you to seek punitive damages too. However, the bus management company’s insurance policy may limit its total payout. Your bus accident attorney can help you recover the rest.
We Can Help
At Rizio Law Firm, we specialize in winning just compensation for victims of bus accident injuries. Call to arrange a free consultation today at 888-292-8888, or just fill out our contact form. We’re here to help.