Bus Accident Lawyers in New Mexico
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Everyday, millions of Americans rely on buses to transport them to work, school, or other states. Being hit by a bus while you’re out walking, riding your bike, or driving your car or motorcycle is a terrifying experience. It is equally as terrifying to be a passenger on a bus involved in an accident. The injuries from such accidents can be severe and may even lead to wrongful death. That’s why it’s important to call a New Mexico bus accident lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have experienced either type of accident, you are likely experiencing a lot of pain and confusion and may wish to hold the at-fault party responsible for your injuries. Before you take any actions, you should meet with a New Mexico bus accident lawyer to discuss your case and decide how to proceed with your claim.
BUS ACCIDENT STATISTICS
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines a bus as a vehicle meant to transport nine or more passengers. According to data published by the FMCSA, in 2019, of the 33,244 fatal crashes on the Nation’s roadways, 4,696 (14.1 percent) involved at least one large truck or bus, and 231 of those crashes involved buses alone. In addition, there were an estimated 6,722,000 nonfatal crashes, 72,000 of which involved buses. In that same year there were 13,000 crashes involving buses that resulted in nonfatal injuries to passengers.
In that same year, 258 fatalities that occurred due to bus accidents were non-motorists –meaning pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-driver victims. In 2019, there were 671 total fatalities per 288, 227 million vehicle miles traveled (a fatality rate of .23) in the state of Texas alone.
TYPES OF BUS ACCIDENTS SEEN BY A NEW MEXICO BUS ACCIDENT LAWYER
The type of bus accident that occurs typically depends on what kind of bus you are a passenger of or where you are driving or walking. Different types of buses include school buses, city buses, greyhounds (or other long-distance transport buses), tour buses, party buses, etc. If you are in an urban area, you are more likely to be involved in an accident with a school or city bus, while you’re more likely to be involved in an accident with a greyhound bus if you’re driving on the highway.
There are a variety of accident scenarios that can occur involving a bus. A bus could strike a pedestrian, a car, a truck, a motorcycle, or another bus. A bus driver could also lose control of the vehicle and crash into other objects, such as street signs or dividers on a highway. These are known as “single vehicle crashes.”
COMMON CAUSES OF BUS ACCIDENTS
Bus accidents can occur under a variety of circumstances, depending on road conditions and location. Here are the most common causes of bus accidents in New Mexico:
Many bus accidents are caused by the actions of the bus driver. Whether the bus operator is inexperienced or simply makes a critical error, they are often the ones liable for the accident. While driving a large motor coach is not always easy, especially on city streets, drivers are supposed to have special training that qualifies them to operate the vehicle safely. Common ways a bus driver may cause an accident includes failing to signal, speeding, making sharp turns, and violating traffic laws.
Buses are large vehicles, and they need the room to properly brake and make turns. They also need more space than others to operate safely on the road, especially when switching lanes. Another driver on the road can make an illegal turn,suddenly brake in front of the bus, or make it more difficult for a bus to change lanes, causing the motor coach to either swerve or hit another vehicle.
Local or state governments are responsible for maintaining the roads but they may fail to fix potholes or other dangerous conditions that can cause an accident. Some of these dangerous conditions include, but are not limited to, broken stop lights, broken or missing street signs (such as stop signs), and broken guardrails.
Poor Weather Conditions
Sometimes, buses are either trying to keep to a schedule or must operate when the weather conditions are difficult. Some hazardous road conditions caused by the weather include slick roads due to rain and icy roads in the winter. Icy roads in the winter often have black ice, which is harder to detect and make it especially dangerous.
COMMON BUS ACCIDENT INJURIES
While every accident is different, there are certain types of injuries that are more commonly experienced by passengers of buses and other large vehicles. Pedestrians and other motorists can experience the following injuries as well:
The force involved in a bus accident can break bones in the arms, hands, fingers, legs, back and other areas of the body.
The high-impact nature of these accidents often sends objects flying, which can pierce the skin of bus riders, causing serious lacerations and scars.
The sensitive construction of the spinal column is especially vulnerable to the impact of a high-speed motor coach crash.
These are very common injuries in bus accidents. Even when restrained by seatbelts, passengers often strike their heads from the impact of a collision and sustain concussions and other head trauma.
What to do after a Bus ACCIDENT
What you do immediately after a bus accident is important for your claim and for your continued overall health and recovery. It is important to follow the necessary steps to ensure that you not only get the maximum compensation that you are entitled to, but also to recover from your injuries and get back to your life.
After any car accident, you should call the police immediately if other passengers have not already done so. The police will write up a report and document the scene of the accident. You can request a copy of this report in the days and weeks after your accident. Also, make sure to document the scene of the crash with a phone camera or other recording device if you are able to do so.
Seek Medical Attention If Necessary
If you call 911, be sure to let the operator know if you or others are injured. The operator will send an ambulance to the scene to help treat any severe or minor injuries sustained. If you are not treated at the scene, seek medical attention immediately after the accident. After treatment, be sure to get copies of your medical records.
Contact a New Mexico personal Injury ATTORNEY As Soon As Possible
An experienced personal injury attorney who has handled many similar cases will be able to provide sound advice for your case and walk you through your next steps. Finding the right personal injury lawyer in New Mexico may seem difficult, but you need an experienced personal injury lawyer you can trust. Zinda Law Group’s experienced bus accident lawyers are here for you 24/7.
New Mexico Statute of Limitations
If you wish to pursue a personal injury claim against a bus driver, contact an injury attorney right away, for there are legal time limits that determine how long you have to file a claim. These time limits are the state’s statutes of limitation. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case involving a bus related accident is three years. This means that you have three years from the date of your accident to file a claim.
If you attempt to file your claim beyond that three-year limit, your claim is barred. This means that it is not allowed and will be dismissed. If you lose a loved one in a bus accident, there is a three-year statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim that begins to run on the day of your loved one’s death. You will have three years from that point to file a claim, and if you fail to do so, it is barred. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you determine when you will need to file, as well as whether you qualify for circumstances that allow you to delay the statute of limitations.
WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE AND HOW?
A bus driver can be held responsible for your injuries in a civil court if the four elements of a negligence claim are met: duty, breach of that duty, causation, and damages. A lawyer must prove that the driver owed you a duty, which is typically to act as a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances to those under which your accident occurred, and that the driver breached that duty by driving in a way which caused the accident. Next, a lawyer must show that, but-for the actions of the driver, your injuries would not have occurred. Damages are proved by showing you suffered an injury, whether physical or financial (such as damage to your car or other personal property) from the accident.
If all of these elements are met, the driver will be held liable for your injuries, and you may recover the monetary costs of the accident from them. Typically, the first two elements (duty and breach) can be proven by showing the driver violated a law which was meant to protect you. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to identify if there are any laws that the driver may have violated that would prove breach of a duty.
The bus company or the public transit agency that employs the operator is also responsible for the actions of the driver behind the wheel, as bus drivers are agents of their employer. Further, if the accident was caused by dangerous roadway conditions, the state or local government may be held liable to a limited extent due to the danger of the roadway.
WHAT YOU CAN RECOVER
You may be able to recover the costs associated with your injury through a personal injury claim. The severity of the injury and recovery time directly affects the amount of recovery for a personal injury action. After all, your injury may leave you unable to work or perform daily tasks, and you might require ongoing medical care and extensive rehabilitative therapy. You may also be able to recover the costs in the form of compensatory damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you in recovering the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Recoverable damages include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are the actual, monetary costs of your injury. Noneconomic damages cover the mental and emotional toll the injury has taken on your life and are recovered in the form of compensation for pain and suffering.
The following are common economic and noneconomic damages you may be entitled to recover:
You may be able to recover the cost of medical bills you have paid out of pocket since the accident. This includes doctor’s visits, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and medication. You may also be able to recover the costs of any future appointments, medication, or treatments necessary for your recovery.
If you are out of work due to your injury, you may recover what you would have earned from the time of the accident until you can return to work as a part of your economic damages.
Diminished Earning Capacity
In addition to lost wages, you may be able to recover loss of earning capacity. If your injuries from the accident prevent you from going back to your job or working at another job for similar compensation, you may be able to recover the difference between what you were earning before the accident and what you are earning now.
If you lost a loved one in a bus accident, you may be able to recover any costs for their medical care or funeral expenses through a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
Your non-economic damages include pain and suffering that result from the accident. Any kind of bus accident takes an emotional and mental toll on a person and their family, and a bus accident can exacerbate this suffering. You may be able to recover for this mental anguish itself, and the cost of mental health treatment that may stem from the accident.
How Zinda LAW GROUP Can HELP
Injuries suffered due to a bus accident can cause severe financial, physical, and emotional strain on your well-being. It is important to get as much help and support as you can immediately following your or your loved one’s injuries. Our New Mexico injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group can assist you with recovering the costs associated with your recovery.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers will guide you through the often-complex legal system to help file your claim and pursue maximum compensation you may be entitled to. We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family during this time of recovery. If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees. This is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.