The question of who is liable for an injury resulting from a bus accident is tricky. If the accident results from mechanical failure, the company that owns the bus may be responsible. Alternatively, the bus manufacturer may also be accountable if the investigation finds a part of the bus was defective. This will affect who you file a lawsuit against. You likely will not be able to sue the bus driver if the manufacturer or company is responsible.
However, things get a bit more confusing if the accident results from poor driving by the bus operator or another driver. Typically, the bus company is considered liable. When driving the vehicle, the driver represents the company. The company may try to refuse this in a settlement case and deflect blame to the driver to avoid paying out on a claim. Still, an experienced bus accident attorney will know how to fight this tactic.
Bus companies and public transportation companies (which are often owned by the county or state), must carry insurance on the vehicles. These insurance policies include money allocated for personal injury protection. What this means is that if an individual suffers an injury due to either the bus driver’s negligence or the company’s fault, their insurance policy has money to cover your claim. Sometimes, the funds may not be enough to adequately compensate you, which is when a lawsuit may be appropriate.
Additionally, if an investigation determines that another driver on the road is responsible for the accident, you may be able to file suit against that driver or seek a payout from their insurance company.
Typical Bus Accident Injuries We See
Accident involving a bus vs a pedestrian. This typically occurs at crosswalks and intersections.
Bus Accident with Smaller Vehicle
The passenger of a smaller vehicle sustains injuries from the bus driver’s negligence. Due to the size and weight of the bus, passengers often sustain severe injuries and may be entitled to compensation.
The bus driver loses control of the vehicle. Due to the absence of safety seat belts, passengers are often severely injured, especially if the bus rolls to its side.
Types of Bus Accident Injuries
When riding a bus, you are susceptible to various injuries if the vehicle is in an accident. Especially because when you are riding public transportation, you may be standing up due to a lack of seating. Also, many buses lack adequate seat belts, leaving riders in danger should an accident occur.
Common Bus Accident Injuries in Florida
Common bus accident injuries include whiplash, which occurs when your body is suddenly thrown forward and backward due to a collision. Whiplash injuries affect your neck and spine and can have severe, lasting damage, causing quite a bit of pain.
Other injuries you may sustain because of a bus accident include broken bones. This is especially true if you are standing on public transportation at the time of an accident. An accident can easily cause you to lose balance, breaking an ankle, wrist, or arm if you fall. You may also suffer a tailbone injury, a concussion, and many other types of injuries.
No matter what injury you suffer, contact a bus accident lawyer immediately following the accident. Whether the bus driver, another driver on the road, or the company that owns the bus is responsible for the accident, you may have grounds for a lawsuit and personal injury claim.
Statute of Limitations on Bus Accident Claims
If you are filing a personal injury claim regarding a bus accident in the state of Florida, there are several rules to be aware of. First, to receive compensation from a personal injury protection clause of an insurance policy, you must follow what is known as the 14-day rule. This means that you must seek medical care for your injuries, and a physician must document that care within 14 days. If you do not do this, your chances of receiving a settlement drop significantly.
Additionally, Florida has a statute of limitations on how long you must file a lawsuit. It is four years from the date of the accident. You must still have medical records and financial documents to support your claim.
If you sustain an injury in a bus accident, the most important thing to do is seek medical care as soon as possible. If you can, going to an urgent care center or emergency room directly from the accident scene is best. This shows the insurance company and the courts that your injury is likely the result of the accident. If you wait too long to seek medical care, it may be used against you. The insurance company or opposing attorney may claim that you did not sustain a serious injury, or that your injury resulted from another incident.
As soon as you seek medical care, contact a bus accident attorney for advice on the next steps. Do this before speaking with the insurance company, bus driver, or company. Your attorney will advise you on what to and what not to do and say.