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Can I Sue for Compensation If I Was Injured in a Bus Accident?

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By Clair B. Norton
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Can I sue for compensation if I was injured in a bus accident

Government entities—from county school districts to large city municipal transit authorities—carry liability insurance. They also have special processes for processing injury claims. They require specific notification forms and have shorter statutes of limitations.

A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand local interpretations of sovereign immunity and procedural requirements. They can also assess whether the liable parties have caps on financial recovery.

Insurance

Every time a person gets on a bus, they entrust their safety to the driver. Unfortunately, this trust is sometimes shattered in accidents that cause serious injuries.

Fortunately, buses carry special insurance coverage that allows them to cover passengers when they are injured in an accident. These insurance policies are usually much larger than those of motor vehicles.

Injuries sustained in a bus accident can lead to costly medical bills and loss of income due to missed work. Those are considered economic damages and can be compensated in a personal injury lawsuit.

When the party responsible for the accident is a government entity, the process becomes more complicated. A lawsuit against a government agency requires that you file a notice of claim to provide them with the opportunity to investigate. This is a legal document that must be filed within 90 days of the accident. It is also important to gather any evidence that will help strengthen your case.

Statute of Limitations

Injured bus accident victims often want to know if they have a claim against the company that operated their vehicle. Depending on whether the bus was operated by a private business or a public entity, the laws governing how long injury victims have to file their lawsuits may differ. Lawsuits against government units, for example, usually have shorter statute of limitations, special procedural requirements and caps on the amount of damages awarded to plaintiffs.

In addition, lawsuits against public entities may be subject to the legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, which holds an employer responsible for the actions of their employees when the employee is acting within the scope of their employment. Because of this, it’s important for injured plaintiffs to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. This will ensure that all parties involved in the accident have their statements documented and evidence collected. It will also help to avoid any interaction with the defendant’s insurance or legal department, which can try to pressure a victim into accepting a low-ball settlement offer.

Damages

In the case of a bus accident, you can claim compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The total amount of your claim will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of your injuries.

A lawyer will help you determine which party is responsible for the crash and the damages resulting from it. They will also be able to provide evidence such as eyewitness testimony, police reports, and accident documentation. They can help with securing any surveillance camera footage that may have captured the moment before, during, or after the crash.

If the responsible party is a government entity, then the procedure will differ slightly from that of a private company. For instance, you will need to file a Notice of Claim before filing a lawsuit against a government agency. This will give the agency a chance to investigate your claim before you file a lawsuit. Additionally, the statute of limitations will be shorter.

Getting Started

The first step after a bus accident is seeking medical attention for your injuries. Your doctor’s statements and records will help in establishing your damages later on when pursuing compensation from the responsible parties.

Once you have been treated, a personal injury attorney can start working on your case. The attorney will file required legal documents and communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. He or she will also investigate the cause of the crash and identify all of the liable parties. This may include the bus driver and even the owner of the bus under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior.

If the bus is owned by a city, school district, or other government entity, sovereign immunity might apply and could complicate the process. A lawyer can determine if sovereign immunity applies and help you to pursue compensation from the appropriate party. This may include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Also, you could be entitled to punitive damages if the crash was caused by gross negligence or malice.

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