Steven A. Bagen | November 1, 2023 | Personal Injury
City bus drivers must drive carefully and responsibly under the circumstances. Specifically, they must follow all traffic laws and regulations and refrain from road rage, distracted driving, and intoxicated driving. When a city bus driver commits a negligent act and causes an accident, you can hold them and the city responsible.
However, bringing a claim or filing a lawsuit against a city may require accident victims to follow certain notice provisions. If an accident victim does not file the proper notice provision but goes ahead and files a lawsuit, the court may dismiss that lawsuit.
Suppose you recently suffered injuries in a city bus accident. In that case, you must consult a bus accident attorney in your area as quickly as possible about your legal rights and options. Your lawyer can first investigate your bus accident and ascertain the identity of all potentially responsible parties. Your lawyer may then supply the necessary notice to the city and file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf.
At that point, your attorney can represent you during settlement negotiations and resolve your case. Suppose the insurance company refuses to make you a fair settlement offer. In that case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and pursue a favorable resolution.
Throughout the entire process, your bus accident attorney can answer all your questions, aggressively advocate for your interests, and pursue the full monetary recovery you need for your accident-related injuries and losses.
How Do City Bus Accidents Happen?
City bus accidents frequently happen when bus drivers behave carelessly and irresponsibly. Driver negligence can take many forms, but it usually occurs when a city bus driver violates one or more traffic laws.
Some of the most common traffic-rule violations that may lead to a bus accident include:
- Passing other vehicles in a no-passing zone
- Failing to stop completely at a railroad crossing or other location
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles, such as at a traffic intersection
- Failing to use a turn signal when executing a turn onto a different road or when making a lane change on a highway
- Failing to use mirrors, especially when driving in heavy traffic.
A city bus driver may also cause an accident by aggressive driving maneuvers, such as tailgating other motorists or aggressively weaving in and out of busy traffic without using a turn signal to indicate a lane change.
At other times, city bus drivers may cause accidents if they drive distracted and fail to watch the road attentively. A bus driver may become distracted if they fiddle with a GPS navigation system, eat and drink, use an electronic device, or turn their head away from the road for other reasons.
All these activities may divert a driver’s attention away from their primary duty — always operating their bus safely and carefully.
When distracted drivers fail to give sufficient time and attention to the road, they may cause their bus to strike another vehicle and bring about a serious accident.
Finally, a city bus driver may cause an accident if they drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Since bus drivers operate a bus for a living, the law holds them to a very high duty of care. If blood or chemical testing finds them intoxicated, they can face criminal and civil penalties.
Intoxicated driving can slow down a driver’s mental functioning and impair their physical abilities. For example, intoxication can distract, disorient, or confuse a bus driver. Additionally, an intoxicated bus driver may experience blurred vision, lack of coordination, impaired reflexes, and delayed reaction time. Consequently, the bus driver cannot stop their vehicle in time to avoid an accident.
Who Can You Hold Responsible for a City Bus Accident?
Several individuals and entities may cause a motor vehicle accident involving a city bus. First, you can hold the city bus driver accountable for the accident if they committed one or more negligent acts. For example, the bus driver might have broken the speed limit, driven distracted, or consumed intoxicating drugs or alcohol.
Additionally, you can hold the city that employs the bus driver liable for the bus driver’s negligent acts committed during the scope of their employment. As a result, you can name the city as a defendant in a lawsuit you file.
However, before filing a lawsuit, you may need to comply with one or more notice requirements, letting the city know about your accident, injuries, and intent to sue. Additionally, if a third-party driver caused or contributed to the accident, you can pursue a legal claim against that driver or their insurance company.
A bus accident attorney in your area can identify all potentially responsible parties for your accident and file the appropriate claim or lawsuit promptly on your behalf. Your lawyer can then start negotiating the fair settlement compensation you need to recover for your accident-related losses.
Common Injuries in a City Bus Accident
Whenever a large city bus collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the occupants will typically suffer more severe injuries in the accident. The specific injuries that an accident victim suffers will usually depend on the size of the bus, the type of accident that occurs, the force of the collision, the number of vehicles involved, and how the accident victim’s body moves inside their vehicle at the point of impact.
In some cases, the force of a city bus accident causes the victim’s body to strike something inside the vehicle, leading to serious injuries and damages.
Some of the most common injuries that result from a bus accident include internal organ damage, internal bleeding, open lacerations, bruises, soft tissue whiplash injuries, bone fractures, rib fractures, facial injuries, mouth and teeth injuries, cognitive impairments, traumatic brain injuries, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, full and partial spinal cord injuries, and death.
Upon suffering injuries in a city bus accident, immediately consult a medical professional. That medical professional might make recommendations for future treatment, such as consulting with your primary care doctor, visiting a medical professional, undergoing a medical procedure, or attending regular physical or occupational therapy sessions.
After a bus accident, focus on obtaining the medical treatment you need to recover. While you attend ongoing medical appointments, your lawyer can gather documents on your behalf and assemble them into a settlement demand package so settlement negotiations may begin as quickly as possible.
Filing a Legal Claim for Bus Accident Injuries
If you suffered injuries in an accident that involved a city bus, you can eventually file a personal injury claim with the bus driver or the city’s insurance company. Insurance companies prefer to avoid settling personal injury claims for a lot of money because they want to keep as much of their money as possible. Therefore, an experienced bus accident attorney must effectively settle your case and maximize your monetary compensation.
As part of a personal injury claim, your lawyer will submit a settlement demand package and a formal demand letter to the insurance company for review. Demand package documents frequently include statements from witnesses, police investigation reports, medical treatment records, medical bills, damage photographs of your vehicle, and photographs of any visible injuries.
If the insurance company accepts your claim, they will typically engage in settlement negotiations that will proceed back and forth until the parties reach a roadblock. Suppose the insurance company will not take your case seriously and compensate you fairly. In that case, you can file a lawsuit and pursue a favorable litigation result in your case.
Your bus accident attorney can determine if a particular settlement offer will pay what you deserve. If you want to pursue litigation, your lawyer can look at all your options and recommend the best way to proceed.
Bus Accident Litigation
Bus accident litigation begins when a bus accident lawyer files a lawsuit on behalf of an injured accident victim. During bus accident litigation, the parties will likely answer one another’s written interrogatories and submit to discovery depositions.
During a discovery deposition, the defense attorney representing the bus driver or the city may ask you questions about how the bus accident happened, the specific injuries you suffered, the medical treatment you underwent, and the overall effect of the bus accident on your life and well-being.
Your bus accident lawyer can thoroughly prepare you for your deposition and anticipate the questions the defense attorney will likely ask.
Also, during litigation, your bus accident lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings in court, such as settlement conferences and civil jury trials.
At a trial, your attorney can call you to the witness stand to testify, introduce medical evidence on your behalf, call expert witnesses, and make a closing argument. The jury will then decide on the amount of monetary compensation to award you for your injuries.
Also, as an alternative to a jury trial, you can consider various forms of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, such as binding arbitration or mediation. At these out-of-court proceedings, your attorney can represent you and aggressively fight for your legal interests.
For example, at binding arbitration, the parties will present evidence to a neutral arbitrator and allow the arbitrator to decide the issue of monetary damages in the case.
Recoverable Bus Accident Monetary Damages
Bus accident victims frequently suffer debilitating injuries that may affect every aspect of their life and well-being. Fortunately, victims may pursue various forms of monetary compensation for their accident-related losses.
Common types of monetary damages that accident victims may recover include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress, inconvenience
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost income,
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Loss of the ability to use an injured body part
- Lost quality of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Long-term or lifetime care costs.
Your attorney can estimate your likely settlement or verdict for your bus accident claim and do everything possible to maximize your overall monetary damage award.
Speak to an Experienced Bus Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you recently suffered injuries in an accident that a negligent bus driver caused, speak with a personal injury attorney immediately about your legal options.
In addition to complying with various notice provisions, victims of city bus accidents have only two years, starting on the date of their accident, to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation. If an accident victim does not file their lawsuit in a timely manner, they will likely waive their right to recover compensation for their injuries.
A skilled bus accident lawyer in your area will have the knowledge and experience to advocate on your behalf effectively. Your lawyer can handle all settlement negotiations with the negligent bus driver or the city’s insurance company and pursue the best possible settlement offer.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you the favorable compensation you need, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and pursue the best possible result for you in court.