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In large cities like Denver, buses can be a great way to get around town. They allow you to avoid the expense of owning your own car, and public transportation systems are more environmentally friendly than single passenger vehicles. However, when buses are involved in an accident, the resulting injuries and damage to property can be severe. Due to their size, collisions with a bus do not usually end well for the other vehicle.
If you have been in an accident with a bus and are looking to find out more about what your potential claim, call us at (512) 246-2224 for a free case evaluation with a bus accident attorney. If we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us anything.
Types of Bus Accidents
There are many types of different buses, and they all have different purposes and uses. This means that the types of accidents that they are typically involved in will vary greatly. Here are a few of the more common types of buses, as well as the accidents that they will typically be involved in.
On a weekday morning or afternoon when school is in session, your neighborhood is likely to be flooded with school buses. In fact, there are about 450,000 school buses in operation in the US at the moment. Because they often operate in and around neighborhoods, school buses are commonly involved in low-speed collisions with other vehicles and potentially pedestrians. The fact that these accidents usually occur at a low-speed, however, does not mean that they are not dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that around 6 children die per year as passengers of school buses.
Because they are so common and operate much more than school buses, a large percentage of the bus accidents that occur in the US involve city transit buses. They can often cause accidents as they try to navigate narrow city streets. Thousands of people are injured each year as a result of accident involving transit buses, including bus passengers, pedestrians, and the drivers of the other vehicles involved.
Charter buses are a cost-effective way to move large amounts of people from one location to another, and are commonly used by school, church, or tour groups. Given this, they spend a lot of time on the interstates and freeways around the state, and can often be involved in high-speed collisions.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Just like any car accident, a bus accident can be caused by a driver failing to obey the rules of the road. However, bus accidents present an interesting wrinkle in that they can be caused by somebody other than the driver, like the bus company they are working for. A few of the more common causes of bus accidents include:
Bus Driver Negligence
Driving Under the Influence
When bus drivers are on the road, they take on more responsibility than the drivers of passenger vehicles because of the size of their buses and the fact that they can have several passengers onboard. This, along with the fact that they are monitored more closely, means that they are less likely to be found driving under the influence. However, unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Bus drivers often spend long amounts of time at the wheel. This can lead to fatigue and tiredness, which can, in turn, lead to slowed reaction times and a decrease in decision-making ability.
Though buses are equipped with specialized mirrors, their size means that they will still be left with blind spots. If a bus driver attempts to merge lanes or turn without taking proper notice of their blind spots, they can cause serious injuries
Bus Company Negligence
When a bus company puts drivers on the road, they take a certain amount of responsibility for their actions. Along with this comes the requirement that they make sure that their drivers are adequately trained. If a driver is put behind the wheel without knowing everything that they need to know, then they may cause an accident.
Before a bus company even hires a driver, they need to make sure that they are eligible to driver. This process includes checking their driving record and criminal history. If a company fails to catch something that they should have been looking for, then their negligence may be the cause of an accident.
Bus companies are required to make sure that their fleets are properly maintained and fit to be on the road. Failing to perform the proper maintenance could lead to faulty braking or steering systems, which could obviously lead to a serious accident.
How Do Bus Accidents Differ From Car Accidents?
Though bus accident may share a lot of similarities with accidents between two passenger vehicles, there are also some major differences.
Severity of Injuries
With bus accidents, there is a higher risk of severe injury. This is true for both passengers of the bus and other drivers. For other drivers, the risk is higher because of the size and weight of most buses. Any injury that could be suffered in an accident between two cars will be magnified when a bus is involved because of this. For passengers, the risk is higher for a couple of reasons. First, buses typically do not have any sort of safety restraint. In addition, the risk of a roll-over accident is higher in a bus due to their center of gravity.
Complicated Legal Procedures
In a standard car accident, you may be negotiating with an insurance company or filing a claim in court. With buses, however, there is an added layer of complexity. Bus drivers will either be working for a private company, like Greyhound, or the government. Filing a claim against the government, for instance, the City of Denver, is more complicated. It requires filing a “notice of claim” with the government within a relatively short period of time after your accident.
How to File a Claim for Bus Accidents
Though bus accidents may have the added complications as discussed in the previous section, they will generally follow the same basic framework, which can be broken into a few steps.
1. Contact an Attorney
First and foremost, it is important that you consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to give you advice on whether your claim is even worth pursuing, and if it is, what your next steps might be in order to seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
2. Gathering Evidence
Once you have hired an attorney, they can get to work on gathering all of the information that they will need to assist you in your case. This includes things like employment records from the bus company, police reports, and photos or video footage.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
After gathering the information that they may need, your lawyer may begin settlement negotiations with the insurance company. At this point, it is critical that you have an experienced attorney representing you, as they may have a better shot at putting your arguments together in a persuasive way in order to help you seek maximum compensation.
Bus Accident Compensation
After you have taken care of all of your medical needs, one of your most pressing questions is likely, “How much is my case worth?” While it is difficult for any attorney to give an accurate answer to that question at the outset of a case, your damages, which are the money paid to victims in an accident, can be broken down into two categories
Economic damages are things that are easy to quantify and prove. They include things like medical bills, money paid out to repair damaged property, and lost wages or vacation time from not being able to work.
Non-economic damages typically refer to the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your injuries. Though they are more difficult to put an exact number on, they may factor into your settlement, depending on the circumstances of your accident.
As mentioned, bus accidents introduce a wrinkle into the question of who you may be able to seek compensation from. As opposed to a car accident, when you will typically be dealing solely with insurance companies and the other driver, in a bus accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the government agency or the bus company who may be responsible for your injuries.
Legal Time Limits
For any type of personal injury claim, there is an associated “statute of limitations.” A statute of limitations is simply the legal term for the length of time that you have to file a claim. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for bringing a claim based on a bus accident is three years. This means that, starting from the date of the accident, you have three years to get your claim filed. If it is filed outside of this window of time, it will likely be dismissed.
There are exceptions to the general rule, however. If the victim in an accident is a minor, then the statute of limitations will essentially be paused until they reach the age of majority. In addition, if the crash resulted in a death, then there may be special rules that apply. Generally speaking, it is advisable to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to avoid running into problems with the statute of limitations.
Call THE Colorado BUS ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our bus accident attorneys have the experience and knowledge that has helped thousands of injured victims seek compensation after suffering an injury from a bus accident. We have the maximum knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek maximum compensation.
Our firm also believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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