Colorado Bus Accident Lawyers
Written By: Attorney Brendan McQuaid
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From the metropolitan areas lining the Front Range, to the mountains, plains and high deserts of the state, public transportation can be an excellent way to navigate Colorado. Specifically, public transit buses provide valuable transportation services to thousands of Coloradans and visitors each day. While the vast majority of public buses are safe and reliable, buses, just like any other vehicle on the roadway, do experience collisions with other vehicles, objects, and pedestrians.
Given the size and weight of public buses and the numerous passengers they transport, bus crashes can range from minor to catastrophic. Regardless of the severity of the crash and the number of individuals involved, bus crash claims in Colorado can be extremely complicated. In addition to immediately contacting an attorney with experience in bus accident claims, it is critical that essential steps be taken to preserve your rights.
WHAT PARTIES ARE INVOLVED IN A BUS ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Public transit bus crashes can take many forms. Innocent people can suffer injuries as passengers, pedestrians, or occupants of other vehicles. These types of accidents can be caused by driver neglect, improper vehicle maintenance, and inadequate training, among other causes. If you suffer injuries due to a public transit bus collision in Colorado, you should immediately identify the parties involved and start collecting evidence to support your claim.
When one is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the police will typically respond to the scene. Although the police will usually conduct an investigation of the vehicles involved and the cause of the crash, you should not rely on the police report alone. Oftentimes the police report will not adequately identify the proper parties, eyewitnesses, or cause of the crash. This is because the police officer conducting the investigation was not present at the time of the accident and is relying solely on the statements of those involved.
When a public transit bus is involved, this could involve dozens of passengers and witnesses. There will often be conflicting stories about how the crash occurred and who was at fault. Moreover, not all of the passengers and witnesses may be interviewed, leading to the potential loss of critical eyewitness testimony.
If you suffered injuries in the crash, regardless of your specific involvement, it is imperative that you identify the parties involved. You will want to note the names of the bus company, bus driver, drivers of other vehicles involved, pedestrians, and eyewitnesses. You will also want to obtain current contact information for these individuals and the names and policy numbers for any automotive insurance companies involved.
If possible, you should also find out the bus number and whether the bus is operated by a governmental agency or is privately operated. The bus number and operator information are often posted on the side of the bus.
The specific operator of the bus can have a significant impact on the value of your claim, the notice requirements, and timeframe for bringing your claim. Bus company names that sound like they are clearly operated by governmental entities are frequently subcontracted out to private companies.
For example, while many Regional Transportation District (RTD) buses are operated by the local public transportation agency, some are contracted out to third-party corporations with private employees, maintenance facilities, and insurance policies.
If you were injured by an RTD bus, read more about suing the City of Denver.
Conversely, bus company names that sound like they are privately operated may still be operated by governmental entities. This is important because in Colorado, injury claims against governmental agencies can involve damage caps that may limit the amount of your recovery and also follow specific statutory requirements that must be followed. Failure to identify the operator of the bus and follow the required notice and claim requirements against a governmental agency can be fatal to your claim, so it is critical that you identify the proper parties and consult with an experienced bus accident attorney immediately.
PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE
In addition to identifying the proper parties and obtaining contact information, you should immediately preserve all evidence available at the scene. This involves taking photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved, as well as taking photographs of any visible injuries sustained. In addition to taking photos yourself, obtain photos and evidence from any other individuals involved. Evidence tends to disappear as time passes, so it is imperative that you obtain and preserve as much critical evidence as possible.
Another reason for properly identifying the specific bus company and bus number of the vehicle involved in the crash is so video surveillance and vehicle data can be preserved. Most, if not all, public transit buses carry video cameras onboard. These cameras face forwards, backwards, and to the sides of the bus. They also show the bus driver as well as his or her view of the road. In addition, buses contain computer data that can show the direction, route, and speed of the bus on a specific day.
It is critical to preserve any video footage of a bus accident to show if the driver was at fault. An experienced bus crash attorney may assist you by immediately securing this critical data for use in your claim.
WHO CAN I FILE A CLAIM AGAINST?
As mentioned previously, there are numerous causes of bus accidents that result in a broad spectrum of injuries. Most often, these types of claims are caused by bus driver error. The bus driver may be driving while fatigued, distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or simply not driving like a cautious driver who is responsible for the lives of others. Other claims may involve inadequate training and regulation, as well as improper hiring, route planning and vehicle maintenance.
It is possible that the bus company knew that the driver was unfit to drive the vehicle or that the vehicle was not safe for the roadway, knowingly putting passengers and others on the road in danger. As a result, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced bus attorney who may thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and identify all of the potential claims available.
TRUST THE BUS ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS AT ZINDA LAW
You should never attempt to handle these claims alone. The attorneys at Zinda Law Group may help you navigate the extremely complicated and specific legal requirements following a bus accident in Colorado. By speaking with one of our experienced local lawyers in Denver, you can begin to seek the retribution you deserve for your injuries.
The experienced car accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help guide you along the way. Our goal is to make the claim process as painless as possible and to provide some comfort that your case is being handled properly and with the utmost care and attention. To learn more about how our firm may be able to help you, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with one of our bus accident attorneys in Denver.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.