Just like passenger vehicle operators, drivers of city buses have a duty to drive carefully and safely at all times. When they don't, you can hold them liable for the resulting accident and injuries. You can hold drivers liable for the harm they cause you, though liability in bus accident cases can be much more complex than other vehicle accident claims.
Before you file a lawsuit directly against the city, you must ordinarily satisfy the proper notice requirements with the Court of Claims within one year of the accident/injury date. You may then take legal action against the city directly.
When it comes time to pursue the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries, you need a legal representative to advocate for your rights and help you recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Your bus accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a claim against the responsible bus driver and/or the city. Your attorney can handle every step of the process, including providing the proper notice, gathering the appropriate documents to file a claim, and, if necessary, litigating your bus accident claim through the state court system.
Your attorney will do everything possible to maximize the monetary damages you receive for your bus accident injuries. Additionally, if your case must proceed to litigation, your lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings, including a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, and work to recover the highest amount of monetary damages available to you in your case.
Causes of City Bus Accidents
Most motor vehicle accidents involving city buses happen when bus drivers operate their vehicles carelessly or negligently. Bus drivers are negligent when they fail to drive reasonably and carefully – usually by violating one or more traffic laws.
For example, the bus driver might exceed the speed limit, fail to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle, fail to use their turn signal, or fail to use their mirrors properly, resulting in a severe crash.
City bus drivers also cause accidents when they stop suddenly, potentially causing a bus passenger to fall out of their seat. A bus driver might also drive distractedly, such as by texting while trying to drive or paying attention to passengers. If a bus driver turns their head away from the road, they may fail to see another vehicle, causing a severe accident.
Finally, bus drivers may cause an accident if they operate their bus while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An intoxicated bus driver might experience specific mental symptoms, like lack of concentration, delayed reflexes, and delayed reaction time.
As a result, the driver might not stop the bus in time to avoid hitting another vehicle – primarily if the bus is speeding. Additionally, an intoxicated bus driver may experience disorientation and dizziness, causing them to swerve in and out of their travel lane.
Finally, a drunk bus driver might experience various physical symptoms, such as blurred vision, that might prevent them from seeing and appreciating other nearby vehicles.
At other times, a bus driver may drive carefully and safely. However, a third-party driver might commit one or more traffic law violations, bringing about a collision with the city bus.
An injured bus passenger can bring a personal injury claim or file a lawsuit against the responsible third-party driver. The third party might try to shift the blame to the bus driver, causing disputes over liability between parties and their insurance companies and increasing your need for a bus accident lawyer.
If you suffered injuries as a bus passenger, seek the legal help you need immediately. Your attorney can help pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties so that you can recover the monetary compensation you need and deserve for your injuries.
What is the City's Potential Legal Liability for a Bus Accident?
In some accident scenarios, an injured bus passenger can hold the city vicariously liable for a bus driver's negligent actions or inactions.
You might hold the city responsible if evidence shows that it hired a bus driver with a poor driving record, such as prior moving violations or DUIs.
The city must properly supervise its drivers and ensure they complete the necessary training and continuing education requirements. If the city failed in that regard and a bus driver negligently caused an accident, you can hold the city fully or partially responsible.
The accident victim must first satisfy the necessary notice requirements to bring a city into a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If they go ahead and file a lawsuit against the city directly without following these requirements, then the court will almost certainly dismiss their lawsuit.
A skilled bus accident attorney can determine how your bus accident likely happened and who was responsible. In some situations, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist who can visit the accident scene, speak to other bus passengers, review the police report, and make a determination about the likely cause of the accident.
Your attorney can also retain other experts in your case, including medical experts, who can causally relate your claimed injuries to the subject bus accident.
What are the Most Common Injuries in a City Bus Accident?
Unfortunately, many city buses do not have seatbelts or other restraints. Consequently, when a passenger is involved in a city bus accident, their body can move abruptly forward and backward in their seat or from side to side. Additionally, the bus passenger may fall to the bus floor, suffering severe injuries.
The injuries that a bus accident victim suffers will depend mainly upon the type of accident that occurs, how their body moves at the time of the collision, and whether or not they were wearing a seatbelt (if one was even available) at the time of the crash.
Some of the most common bus accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Rib fractures
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Open lacerations
- Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries
- Full and partial paralysis injuries
If you suffered one or more of these injuries in a recent city bus accident, you need to concentrate on fully completing your medical treatment. An emergency room medical doctor or your primary care physician may recommend that you consult with various medical specialists, attend physical therapy sessions, or undergo surgery or other medical procedures.
Completing your medical treatment regimen shows the city's insurance company that your injuries are severe and warrant significant monetary compensation.
However, if you do not complete your medical treatment regimen or frequently miss medical appointments, the insurance company may become skeptical of your injuries and wary about awarding you the total monetary damages you request.
Your bus accident lawyer can immediately begin gathering the necessary documents to prove your case while you complete all of your medical treatment and focus on getting better.
Bus Accident Litigation
For a bus accident victim to be eligible to pursue monetary compensation in a claim involving a city bus, they must first satisfy the necessary notice requirements with the Court of Claims – and do so within one year of the bus accident date.
Bus accident litigation typically becomes necessary if the city's insurance company refuses to offer fair and reasonable monetary compensation to the bus accident victim for their injuries and damages.
For example, the insurance company might claim that some or all of the accident victim's claimed injuries are unrelated to the accident. At other times, the insurance company might deny liability for the accident altogether.
A skilled bus accident attorney near you can file a lawsuit and begin the litigation stage of your case. However, the parties can still resolve their case during litigation via a favorable settlement.
If the case does not reach a resolution via settlement, the parties can adjudicate their case at a civil jury trial. During this time, a jury will listen to the evidence and determine the bus accident victim's monetary award, if any.
Instead of taking a bus accident case to a civil jury trial, the parties can pursue one or more types of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Your bus accident lawyer can guide you to make informed decisions throughout your case, including whether to accept or reject a pending settlement offer from the city's insurance company.
If you decide to litigate your case, your lawyer can help you choose between taking your case to a civil jury trial versus one or more ADR proceedings.
Potential Bus Accident Monetary Damages
An injured bus accident victim who can satisfy their legal burden of proof against the city, the negligent bus driver, or a negligent third party may recover various types of monetary damages.
The total economic damage award that a bus accident victim can recover will usually depend upon the severity and complexity of their accident, the injuries they suffered, and the total cost of their medical care.
First, a bus accident victim who suffers injuries can recover monetary damages for their related medical expenses, both past and anticipated. If they had to miss time from work after their accident to recover from their injuries, they can pursue compensation for all of their lost earnings – or for loss of earning capacity, in some circumstances.
In addition to these potential economic damages, bus accident victims can pursue compensation for their intangible losses. Those damages may compensate an injured bus passenger for their related inconvenience, mental distress, and physical pain.
Bus accident victims can also pursue compensation for loss of the ability to use a body part (such as from paralysis), lost quality of life, loss of spousal companionship, permanent disfigurement, and long-term care costs.
An experienced bus accident lawyer in your area can help determine the total value of your case and will do everything possible to maximize your overall monetary award via settlement or litigation.
Contact a Bus Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a recent bus accident, you need to act quickly when retaining a personal injury attorney to represent you in your case.
Your bus accident attorney can start working on your legal matter immediately by gathering essential documents, complying with all notice requirements, and, if necessary, pursuing a favorable litigation result.
Dealing with an insurance company can be a complicated process. Dealing with the government can be even more difficult. Let your lawyer handle those complex matters while you recover from your injuries.