We got this question from a reader in our inbox this month: “I was on my way to work when I got hurt in a city bus accident. I fell off the seat and injured my wrist, making it impossible for me to work. What should I do?” Short answer: Contact a bus accident lawyer for a complimentary personal injury consultation.
Determining Liability for Bus Accident Injuries
Figuring out who’s at fault isn’t as easy as you might think. That’s because more than one party may be responsible:
- The bus driver, if they were distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or otherwise driving irresponsibly or recklessly.
- The operating organization, if the driver didn’t have enough experience, was improperly trained, or the organization failed to properly maintain the vehicle.
- The bus manufacturer, if a defect or failure in the vehicle contributed to or caused your injury.
IMPORTANT: This is why most people involved in bus accidents hire an attorney.
Deadlines to File a Claim with a Bus Accident Lawyer in Your State
Every state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. If you miss the deadline, you lose your right to sue. Find the statute of limitations for bus accidents in your state.
Special Rules that Affect Injury Claims Involving Government-Owned Vehicles or Municipalities
If a government agency owns or operates the bus in question, you need to file a Notice of Claim (NoC) with that governing entity.
IMPORTANT: The timeframe for filing against a government agency is much shorter than the usual statute of limitations. Some jurisdictions require filing within as little as 30 days of your injury.
You must send the NoC via certified mail to each government employee and agency involved in your injury accident. Sometimes, you also need to file the NoC with a state agency that records all notices filed across the state. The governmental organization then accepts or denies your claim within 1-4 months. If they accept it, then you don’t need to file suit. If they reject it, however, you must go to court to secure compensation.
PRO TIP: Make sure you complete the NoC form correctly. You must likely include your contact information and the date, time, and location of the bus when the injury accident occurred. Additionally, you might have to detail the sequence of events that caused your accident, summarize your injuries, and include contact information for your healthcare providers.
How Much Settlement Money Can a Bus Accident Lawyer Get for You?
Every case is different, but these recent bus accident personal injury settlements give an idea of what you could get:
- A janitor driving a school bus on a field trip faced reckless vehicular homicide, assault by auto, and child endangerment charges when his actions caused one student to be thrown to her death and another to sustain serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. A $19.5-million settlement was reached with the school district, the board of education, and multiple district employees.
- A NJ Transit bus ran a red light and t-boned another bus, injuring several passengers and killing two people. The most seriously injured people received settlements ranging from $395,000 to $3 million.
- A New York MTA bus driver pulled away before a 72-year-old passenger could take her seat, causing her to fall and injure both her spine and knee. She sued the MTA and a jury awarded her $1,500,000 in damages.
IMPORTANT: The courts recognize four kinds of negligence. In some cases, government agencies are immune from paying punitive damages. In most states, you can receive economic damages that cover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses. You may also potentially receive money for pain and suffering.
How Much Will a Bus Accident Lawyer Cost You?
Even if you have a clear case, it makes good financial sense to work with a personal injury lawyer. That’s because they know the law, understand the processes, and have experience advocating for your interests. And finally, they’re motivated to get you the largest settlement possible.
PRO TIP: Learn how to prepare for an appointment with your bus accident lawyer.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t have to pay anything upfront to file your case.
The firm covers all associated costs and filing fees until after your case settles. Then, they deduct your fee amount from your settlement. If you don’t win for any reason, then you pay your attorney nothing.
6 Things to Do After a Bus Accident
If you take public transportation often, keep this information handy. That way, you’ll know what to do if you’re injured during your ride:
- Call 9-1-1 to get medical care for your injuries and to file your police report. IMPORTANT: Documents from EMTs and police will always strengthen your case.
- Do not talk to insurance adjusters or give recorded statements.
- Get the bus driver’s name and ID number, the vehicle’s license plate or unit number, and bus company’s name. Ask any witnesses for their contact information. PRO TIP: Use your mobile phone to take photos of the driver’s ID and vehicle information.
- Take notes documenting your pain, injuries, and other physical, emotional, and cognitive impacts from your accident.
- Hold onto all receipts and medical bills for expenses related to your injury.
- Go to every appointment with your healthcare provider or physical/occupational therapist.
Speak with a Lawyer for Free About Your Case
Every case is different, so pursuing a personal injury claim is an individual decision. But remember, a bus accident lawyer will only accept your case on contingency. That means you won’t pay anything unless your case wins. Though a settlement can’t take away your trauma, it can reduce the financial burden of your accident.
Ready to learn how much your own claim may be worth? We can connect you with an attorney for a free consultation phone call today.
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.