The Elements of a Bus Accident Lawsuit
Pursuing legal action after a bus accident can be a complicated undertaking. Not only do victims of this tragic accident need to show what happened and who was responsible for the crash, but they also need to understand the applicable laws that apply to the situation and ensure that appropriate motions and documents are filed.
However, if you or a loved one were a bus accident victim, you do not have to figure out this complex legal process alone. In the below post, we will go over in detail the elements of a bus accident lawsuit, as well as explain how an experienced bus accident attorney can help you take on this fight and go after the financial damages you deserve.
Element 1: Determine the Cause of the Bus Accident
Prior to filing a bus accident lawsuit, you first need to understand what happened. While it may be clear what caused a bus crash and who was responsible in some instances, this liability is not always apparent.
In fact, numerous things can cause a bus crash, including:
- A bus driver or another driver operated their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A bus driver or another motorist was operating the vehicle while distracted
- Fatigued driving
- Maintenance issues or defects in the bus
- Unqualified bus drivers or those who have not been properly trained
- Dangerous roadways and intersections
- Unfit road conditions
- Drivers not abiding by the traffic laws
- Poor weather
However, because it is not always clear what caused a bus accident, consider contacting an experienced bus accident attorney as soon as possible after your bussing accident. Your lawyers can review the facts of what happened, investigate the incident in detail, and figure out what caused your bus accident.
Element 2: Determine if You Have a Viable Legal Case
If you want to pursue legal action after a bussing accident, it is not enough to show that you sustained injuries in this devastating accident. Rather, to bring a viable legal claim, you must also show that another party was responsible for this accident and that you suffered severe injuries.
More specifically, you need a lawyer who can establish:
- You suffered harm because of another person’s reckless, negligent or intentional actions
- The injuries resulted in trauma, including significant pain or life-altering disabilities
- There is enough time for you to pursue legal action
- There is compensation available for you to go after, such as an insurance policy
While determining the viability of a legal claim can be challenging, you will not have to figure it out on your own. Instead, when you work with an experienced bus accident law firm, your lawyers can review your accident’s details, determine whether you can pursue legal action, and help you decide on your next legal steps.
Element 3: Determine Who You Can Hold Accountable for a Bus Accident
In addition to determining what happened, you must figure out who you can hold accountable for the harm and losses you sustained. What many people may not realize is that following a bus accident, there can actually be several parties responsible, even some that were not at the scene at the time of the accident.
These wrongful parties can include:
- The at-fault bus driver
- The owner of the bus
- The bus company
- Bus manufacturers
- Maintenance companies who worked on the bus
- Other liable parties, including other drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and even passengers
- Government officials, especially if the crash included a public transportation bus.
Working with an experienced bus accident attorney can help you figure out which of these parties was responsible for your accident. And if the at-fault party includes a government agency, these attorneys can ensure that the unique requirements of holding these parties responsible for the accident are met.
Pursuing a lawsuit against a government agency typically involves shorter filing deadlines and specific forms. Failing to abide by these strict rules can jeopardize your ability to get the money you need. Fortunately, your attorney can ensure these documents are prepared correctly and submitted before time runs out.
Element 4: Figure out Whether There Is Enough Time to File a Bus Accident Lawsuit
Before pursuing any legal action, you have to figure out whether you have enough time to file this suit. Every state has a statute of limitations, a law that governs how much time individuals have to file a lawsuit following an alleged offense, such as a bus accident. If people do not file their cases within this period, the court can stop them from getting the money they need for their harm and losses.
As a result, consider speaking to a bus accident attorney as soon as you can following a bus crash. Your lawyers can figure out when you need to file your legal case, as well as make sure that all the appropriate legal motions and documents are prepared and submitted before this deadline expires.
Element 5: Make Sure the Settlement Offer Is Fair Before You Accept It
Depending on the circumstances of your bus accident, the other side may offer you a settlement offer. However, before accepting this offer, you want to ensure that it is reasonable and covers all your current and future costs. Remember, once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot go back and ask for more in the future if you realize that you do not have enough funds to cover all your losses and expenses.
Consequently, before you accept any offer from the other party, contact a knowledgeable bus accident attorney. Your lawyers can help you not only figure out whether a settlement offer is fair, but if it is not, they can go back to the other party and negotiate for more money.
Some of the factors that these attorneys can review to make sure you get the most compensation possible include:
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- The circumstances of the crash
- The party you are suing
- The property damages you sustained
- The insurance policy limits
- The lost wages you suffered and your ability to work in the future
- The total amount of all the bills that resulted from the bus accident
- Your future needs and medical care required
Element 6: Determine What Monetary Damages You Can Pursue
If the other side is unwilling to provide you with a fair settlement offer, you may need to take your case in front of a judge and a jury and fight for maximum financial damages. These damages tend to fall into these categories:
Economic damages refer to payment for the tangible losses that result from an accident.
- Medical bills resulting from doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency services, ambulance rides, medications, surgeries, medical devices, and other types of treatments
- Ongoing medical treatments
- Lost wages, lost business opportunities, reduced earning capacity
- Personal property damages, including repair and replacement costs
- Replacement domestic services
Non-economic damages refer to payment for the hard-to-quantify losses that result from an accident.
They include losses such as:
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Reputational loss
When you work with an experienced bus accident attorney, these legal professionals can figure out which of these damages you can pursue in a bus accident lawsuit and help you go after the maximum financial relief you deserve.
Element 7: Demonstrate Your Damages Through Evidence
To protect the value of your claim, take action after a bus accident. While not all these actions may be possible, depending on the circumstances of the accident, if you can, you should consider doing the following to protect your legal rights:
Contact the Authorities
Call 911 immediately after a bus accident. This is the quickest way to get medical personnel to the scene and get you and others the medical help needed. It is also the fastest way to get the police to the crash so that they can investigate the incident. Following their investigation, they can write their findings in their police report. If you decide to file a bus accident lawsuit, your attorney can use this report to help strengthen your legal case.
Obtain Evidence After the Accident
Try to get as many pictures and videos of the crash scene as you can. This can include photos of your injuries, the vehicles involved, the damage to the property, the placement of these vehicles and the bus on the road, traffic signals nearby, the weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident, skid marks on the street, and anything else that can help show how that accident happened.
Yet, do not stress if you cannot obtain all this evidence yourself. After you retain an experienced bus accident attorney, these legal professionals can take on this investigation for you and work on gathering all this evidence on your behalf.
Get to a Doctor
Even if your injuries appear minor after a bus accident, you should still get to a doctor as soon as possible. These medical professionals can examine you and check for any serious hidden trauma that may have not yet manifested, including brain injuries. Your doctors can also provide you with a medical report detailing the extent of your injuries and provide proof of a connection between the bus accident and the trauma you suffered.
Check With Others After the Incident
Get information from those involved in the bus accident, including their names and contact details, as well as their insurance information and driver’s license numbers. In addition, if there were people at the scene who saw the accident, get their personal information as well, including their names and phone numbers. These witnesses often provide helpful testimony that helps corroborate your case.
However, as you talk to these individuals, watch what you say. Do not make any definitive statements about the incident, apologize, or take any of the blame. These comments can hurt your case.
Present the Evidence You Have to Your Lawyer
When you meet with your attorney for the first time, make sure you bring with you any reports you have, including the police and medical report, bills associated with the accident, and any other documents you have related to the accident. Your attorney can use this evidence to prepare a solid legal case and go after the monetary damages you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Bus Accident Attorney to Help With Your Bus Accident Lawsuit
Following a bus accident, you should not have to worry about the steps you need to take to file a bus accident lawsuit or what you need to do to secure maximum damages. Thankfully, when you work with an experienced bus accident attorney, your lawyers can handle this complicated legal ordeal on your behalf, while you focus on more important things, such as your healing and recovery.
In fact, when you hire a legal team, they can review the facts of your crash, determine whether you have a viable case, and figure out your legal options.
They can also:
- Determine which party was responsible for the collision and hold them accountable for the losses you sustained.
- Handle all the parts of the legal process, including investigating the crash and securing the evidence necessary to show fault and the extent of your damages.
- Handle all the settlement negotiations and fight for a just settlement offer.
- Head to trial and fight for maximum compensation, if necessary.
If you or a loved one sustained severe harm in a bussing accident and want to pursue legal action, do not wait any longer. Contact an experienced bus accident attorney today.