In lieu of the recent bus accident in Palm Springs in October that killed 13 passengers, and injured many more – I wanted to examine what happens should someone need to file a lawsuit if they have been in a bus related accident. Bus accident injury claims can oftentimes present challenges that most car accident claims do not. Here are just a few things to consider when it comes to filing a bus accident claim:
Bus accidents are not entirely different from your regular traffic accident. Accidents can range from low-speed fender benders to an even more catastrophic collision and the injuries that are sustained from bus accidents fall across the same serious spectrum, from whip-lash injuries, to serious head trauma and broken bones.
Unique Issues in Filing Bus Accident Claims
In most injury cases, negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit in court is a pretty straightforward process. When it comes to bus accidents, there are a few other things to take note of when filing a claim:
- Who is at fault – if the bus driver is at fault, things can get a little complicated due to the fact that most bus companies are operated by government entities – think public transportation bureaus or unions. According to national statistics, 37% of bus fatalities are that of school bus accidents. Filing a claim with a government entity is much more complicated and complex than a typical insurance claim.
- If the bus’s insurance company denies the claim, it is likely that you will have to file an injury or notice claim with the government entity that is liable for the bus accident. You have a very limited time to file the claim after the accident.
Filing A Claim with Government Entities
Most claims that are filed will depend on the state in which that claim is being filed. Generally your claim should include the following:
- It must state that a claim is being made and who it is being made against: the public body, an officer, employee, or an agent of the public body.
- The time, place, and circumstances that lead to the claim being made.
- The name and address and another other pertinent information of those who are making the claim.
Claim filing times limits and rules are very important when making your claim. If you miss the deadline or don’t submit complete paperwork, you may lose the right to file a lawsuit. There are also special time limits that apply if someone has suffered from fatal injuries. It is important that you keep up to date with filing your paperwork and hire an experienced lawyer who has knowledge and experience filing such claims.
Who is at Fault?
In order to determine who is at fault and to determine liability, an investigation will be needed in order to conclude what may have caused or contributed to the bus accident. Some potential incidents that may be the cause of an accident include:
- Driving while tired
- Drivers who have not gone through the appropriate training or screening for employment
- Driving under the influence
- Overloaded or improperly loaded buses
- Poorly or improperly maintained bus equipment
And many more. It is not uncommon or unheard or unheard of that a passenger car would be at fault in a bus accident – it can and has happened.
Common Injuries on Public Transportation
Injuries in an accident on public transportation are not unlike the injuries that one would sustain when in an automobile accident. These include:
- Sprained and/or torn ligaments
- Back/spine injuries
- Lacerations, contusions, abrasions
- Broken bones
- Permitted disks
- Severed limbs
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
It is always a good idea to immediately seek medical attention after any accident. This way, you are putting your health first, and you can use your medical records and bills as documentation to support your injury claim.
If you or anyone you know has been hurt in a bus related accident contact us today to discuss your case. Consultations are free.