There could be multiple parties responsible for a bus accident. The bus could be owned and operated by a private company, a city or state government, or even a school. If you have been injured in a bus accident, you may be able to hold the at-fault party liable with help from a lawyer.
Buses are large vehicles meant to provide transportation. When buses travel at high rates of speed, they take a long time to stop or slow down. Catastrophic injuries often occur in bus accidents due to the size and weight of the vehicle.
When a bus is involved in an accident, it matters how it happened. Here are the most common liable parties:
- Bus driver: A bus driver could be liable if they were driving negligently, such as speeding, at the time of the accident. A bus driver could cause severe injuries if they drive recklessly.
- Bus owner: If a private company owned the bus that caused your injuries, you might also be able to seek compensation from them. The bus owner is responsible for hiring and training competent drivers and ensuring that the bus is safe for passengers. If they failed to keep you safe, they could be liable.
- City or municipality: It is more complicated if a government agency owned the bus that caused your injuries. There are procedural requirements you must follow to file a personal injury claim, and there are often caps on the number of damages you can collect.
- Bus manufacturer: When a vehicle is involved in an accident, it could have been caused by a manufacturing issue. Whether a defect or a part failure, manufacturers must ensure their vehicles are safe for the road.
- Bus maintenance company: Some buses are maintained by their owners, but other bus owners outsource their maintenance to third parties. If these maintenance companies fail to properly maintain a bus or make a mistake on a repair that leads to an accident, you may also be able to hold them accountable.
More than one of the above parties could have contributed to your bus accident. That means you may be able to file a personal injury claim against one or several of the above parties, provided that you can prove that they caused your bus accident and injuries.
After an accident, you should have a thorough investigation completed. A lawyer will be able to work with accident reconstruction experts who can work to determine the exact cause of your crash, which could be multiple parties. Ultimately, you want to ensure you are working to hold the right parties responsible, and one of the best ways to do that is by having an investigation completed.
Compensation You May Get
The main point of determining which party has caused your bus accident is to make sure you file a personal injury claim against the right party. When you do, you may be able to get compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Lost income.
- Lost earning potential.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of life enjoyment.
- Present and future medical expenses.
- Rehabilitation costs.
If you are a passenger when a bus accident occurs, you will likely have severe injuries. Buses do not have seat belts, and your body could be tossed around in an accident. If you are riding in another vehicle that is hit by a bus, especially if the bus is moving at a high speed, you could be left with life-altering injuries.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work for a long time. This could create financial problems for you as you try to juggle your physical and mental recovery with paying your medical bills on top of your regular living expenses. Even if you can eventually return to work, you may not be able to do so full-time or in the same capacity as before the accident. This severely impacts your ability to support yourself financially.
By filing a claim against the at-fault party, you can attempt to collect compensation so you do not have to bear the financial burden of the cost of your injuries. Working with a lawyer can help you start the process and ensure you follow any special procedures if the bus is owned or operated by a city or municipality.
To get compensation, you must prove that someone else caused your accident. You will need to show that another party:
- Owed you a duty of care to operate a bus safely.
- Breached that duty of care by failing to operate the bus safely.
- Because of the breach, an accident happened where you suffered injuries and losses.
This might seem simple, but you will need sufficient evidence to prove these elements of negligence.
Government officials and agencies are protected by sovereign immunity. This does not mean you cannot file a claim against a government agency, it means you likely have a more complex case. The types of compensation you can get may also be limited.
Negotiating a Settlement
You can attempt to negotiate and settle your case. This is most effectively done when you have a legal advocate negotiating on your behalf. You have enough to deal with, and your lawyer can help you focus on your recovery. When you have a legal advocate who has successfully helped people involved in bus accidents, you can take that burden off your shoulders and let your lawyer deal with the settlement negotiations.
Even if you are presented with a settlement offer, it is good to have a lawyer review it before signing. You will waive your right to bring any future claims when you sign any settlement agreement. You want to ensure that the settlement agreement protects your rights and is fair, something your lawyer can ensure.
Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Will Help You After a Bus Accident
A bus accident can be traumatic. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there could be multiple parties. To help you sort through your legal options, speak with one of our Cincinnati personal injury lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office. Call us at 513-488-1135 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Loveland, Ohio, we serve clients throughout Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.