Bus accidents can be devastating because they can easily cause injuries to multiple people. Not only can bystanders be injured, but also people who trusted the bus to get them safely to their destination. As a result, bus drivers must operate the vehicle safely and responsibly by doing the following:
- Ensuring the bus is in good working order
- Driving safely and obeying traffic laws
- Maintaining control of the bus
- Ensuring passenger safety
When you are injured in a bus accident, knowing what steps to take to preserve your legal rights can be difficult. The Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys of Hankey Marks & Crider have experience representing clients in these types of collision cases. To discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable attorneys, contact us at [phone number] or reach out to us online.
The Severity of Bus Accidents
Collisions involving buses can be severe for several reasons, including:
- Size and weight: Buses are large and heavy vehicles. Therefore, they can cause significant damage when a collision occurs because of the force they impart on impact.
- Lack of safety restraints: Unlike other vehicles, most buses do not have seat belts or airbags for passengers. As a result, passengers are vulnerable to injuries when a collision occurs.
- High passenger capacity: Buses carry many passengers. As a result, when a collision occurs, many people are at risk of injuries and fatalities.
For these reasons, when a bus is in a collision, there is a higher chance that numerous people will have serious injuries. If you were injured in a bus crash caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your losses.
Common Causes of Bus Crashes
There are various reasons that a bus crash may occur, including:
- Driver error: When bus drivers become distracted, they can lose control or fail to react, causing a collision. Due to the number of people on buses and other distractions all drivers face, bus drivers can easily get distracted.
- Poor maintenance: Buses must be adequately maintained. Failing to maintain a bus can cause issues with the brakes, tires, or other vital components. Any malfunction in any bus part could cause an accident.
- Other drivers: When another driver fails to follow traffic laws, they may cause a collision with a bus. Even though it seems a passenger car shouldn’t be able to cause tremendous damage to a bus, the severity of injuries suffered by the people on the bus depends on the force of impact and other factors.
- Pedestrians and bicyclists: Sometimes pedestrians or bicyclists fail to yield to a bus. When this occurs, people can be seriously injured when the bus driver slams on the brakes to avoid a collision.
- Inadequate training: In some cases, bus accidents are caused by inadequately trained bus drivers. Bus drivers must receive proper training on how to operate a bus safely. When a bus driver is not correctly trained, they could cause a collision.
Who Can Be Liable for a Bus Accident?
Determining liability for a bus collision can be complex because multiple parties are usually involved. Some parties who may be liable for a bus crash include:
- Bus driver: Drivers are generally the first party investigated after a collision. If the crash was caused by driver error, the driver could be liable for any injuries or damages resulting from the crash.
- Bus company: In some cases, the bus company that operates the bus may be liable. For example, they could be liable if the company failed to properly maintain the bus or hire a qualified driver. Additionally, when a bus crash occurs during the driver’s employment, the company may be vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence.
- Bus manufacturer: Sometimes, defects in the bus itself can cause collisions. For example, if a faulty part or a design flaw caused the crash, the manufacturer may be liable for your losses.
- Other drivers: When another driver causes a collision with a bus, they will be liable.
- Government entities: Depending on who owns the bus, a government entity may be liable because of their ownership. For example, many municipalities own bus systems, as well as school districts. If these entities fail to maintain their buses, they may be liable for any collision caused by their failures. Additionally, government entities may be responsible if dangerous road conditions cause the crash.
- Maintenance companies: Many bus owners and operators hire maintenance companies. They can be liable when the maintenance company fails to properly maintain the buses per their obligations.
When determining liability, your attorney must look at all parties who could be liable. They will investigate to determine who was negligent, whether there was a breach of duty, and whether there was a defect in the bus.
Claims for Compensation After Bus Accidents
You can seek compensation for your losses when you are injured in a collision that was someone else’s fault. The types of compensation you can seek depend on the circumstances of your case but may include the following:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced capacity for earning
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
You can seek these losses through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Typically, you will file an insurance claim with the negligent party’s insurance company before filing a lawsuit. You should file a lawsuit if you cannot reach an acceptable settlement agreement with the insurance company.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
It is essential to understand that you have limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Indiana, you usually have two years to file an injury lawsuit from the collision date. However, this timeframe may vary depending on the specific facts of your case.
If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statutory period expires, you cannot recover compensation through the court system.
Contact Hankey Marks & Crider for Representation in Your Bus Accident Case
The attorneys of Hankey Marks & Crider have experience representing individuals injured in complex personal injury cases. Using our skills and knowledge, we will fight for your best interests, so you can receive the compensation you deserve. We offer confidential case evaluations where you can discuss your legal options with one of our skilled attorneys.