For millions of people in the United States, buses are the mode of transportation that they rely on to get where they need to be. In most cases, buses are a safe option that results in fewer traffic accidents as compared to cars and motorcycles. But many people are still injured in bus accidents every year due to the unique circumstances that passengers are in when traveling by bus.
Similar to car accidents, bus accidents can range from relatively minor fender benders to very serious collisions and/or rollovers. As a result, the resulting injuries can also range from minor scrapes and bruises to broken bones and serious head trauma. One thing that makes the circumstances of bus accidents unique is the higher risk of a tip-over or rollover due to the size and height of the bus. In addition, most buses are not equipped with seatbelts or airbags. So even though the incidence of a bus accident is less likely than a car accident, there is a great chance of a serious injury if a bus accident occurs.
Passengers who have been injured in a bus accident have options available to them when it comes time to file a claim, but the process is quite different with a bus accident than it is with car accidents. There are unique laws that are specific to bus accidents that passengers should be aware of if they want to pursue a personal injury claim.
An initial investigation will be required in order to determine who is liable for the accident. A variety of factors will be looked into, including:
If it is determined that the bus driver is at fault, the claims process can be somewhat complicated. That is because buses are considered “common carriers.” Common carriers, which are businesses that transport people or goods for a fee, have certain federal and state regulations that apply to them. In addition, most buses are owned by entities such as school districts and public transportation bureaus. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, school buses account for approximately 37% of bus fatalities.
It is important to understanding that there are options available to you in terms of who is liable and where to present your personal injury claim. If the bus driver was responsible, you would most likely file a claim against the charter company. If improper maintenance caused the accident, the company responsible for maintaining the fleet could be held responsible. Or in some cases, you might file a lawsuit against another driver if he or she caused the accident.
If the bus is owned by the city or a school district, another set of rules come into play. Each state has its own specific policies that determine the claims process. Many states require you to notify the city within three to six months of the date you were injured. Other states have a thirty-day deadline for presenting your claim. If you do not present your claim in the required amount of time, you may be prohibited from pursuing a lawsuit at a later date. For these reasons, it is advisable to consult with an experienced bus accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Typically, when filing a claim with a government entity, the claim must state the following:
Compensation, also known as damages, may include the following, depending on the circumstances of the bus accident and your injuries:
If you have been injured in a bus accident, contact Monmouth County bus accident lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. We work hard to seek the maximum financial compensation that will cover any medical bills and other pain and suffering for injured victims. To schedule a free consultation, call 732-493-9400 or contact us online. Our office is located in Eatontown, and we serve clients in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Mercer County and the New Jersey towns of Long Branch, Asbury Park, Middletown, Ocean Township, Freehold, Wall, Belmar, Sea Girt and Neptune.