What Type of Compensation Can I Get for a Bus Accident?
Bus accidents can result in significant injuries, property damage, and even fatalities, causing great pain and suffering for those affected.
If you are a bus accident victim, you may seek compensation for all of your losses including your economic and non-economic damages. connect to the bus accident lawyer for legal guidance.
The Types of Compensation Available After a Bus Accident
If you sustain injuries in a bus accident caused by the negligence of any driver involved in the accident, you could seek compensation for both your expenses and the psychological consequences.
- Medical expenses, including emergency medical care, hospital stays, surgeries, diagnostic tests, ongoing care, rehabilitation, and assistive devices such as a wheelchair or crutches.
- The value of lost earnings because you could not work while recovering from your injuries and cannot work in the future due to disabling and permanent injuries.
- Compensation for the non-economic effect of your injuries, including physical and emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of companionship, and loss of the ability to participate in enjoyable activities or events due to the injury.
- Property damage reimbursement to repair or replace property such as a motor vehicle involved in the accident or personal property such as clothing or a cell phone.
If a loved one died in a bus accident, you can pursue wrongful death compensation, which may include:
- Payment for a funeral and burial or cremation.
- Loss of financial support, services, and inheritance.
- Emotional distress for the victim’s family.
An experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer can answer your legal questions about your case during a free case evaluation. The evaluation gives you time to learn more about the legal team and the services they can provide to handle your claim.
Factors That Can Influence the Amount of Compensation You Receive
The injuries sustained in a bus accident can result in significant expenses and severe effects on the sufferer’s quality of life. HealthCare.gov reports that fixing a broken leg, for example, can cost up to $7,500, and a three-day hospital stay is, on average, $30,000.
In addition to these medical expenses, there are other costs for the sufferer, such as modifications needed to their home to accommodate the injury or hiring someone to perform household services they cannot do independently. The inconvenience, pain, and emotional distress associated with the injury also add to the compensation.
The ability to seek recompense after a bus accident through a wrongful death or personal injury claim and the amount of compensation available depends on various factors.
Establishing liability is crucial to pursuing compensation for a bus accident. Your personal injury attorney will work with you to identify the responsible parties and collect evidence to support your claim.
Several factors can influence liability in a bus accident case, including:
- Negligence: If a party involved in the accident was negligent, they may be liable for damages. This could include distraction, speeding, or failing to maintain a safe following distance.
- Traffic law violations: Violating traffic laws, such as running a red light or failing to yield, can result in a party’s liability for the accident.
- Faulty equipment: If the cause of the accident is a malfunctioning part or poorly maintained equipment, the party responsible for maintaining the equipment may be liable.
You can hold several parties responsible for causing a bus accident, including the:
- Bus driver: If the bus driver was negligent or violated traffic laws, they could be liable for the accident.
- Bus company: The company that owns or operates the bus may be responsible if they fail to maintain the bus properly or employ a driver with a history of accidents or unsafe driving.
- Other motorists: If another vehicle’s driver caused the accident, they may be liable for any injuries or damages.
- Municipalities: In some cases, the local government may be responsible for an accident, such as a poorly designed bus stop or malfunctioning traffic signals.
The Amount of Insurance Available for the Claim
Whether a negligent bus driver, bus company, the operator of another motor vehicle on the road, or even a municipality caused the accident, the most likely source of compensation for your claim will be a liability insurance policy. All liability insurance policies are subject to policy limits, which refer to the maximum amount of money the insurance carrier is willing to pay for the claim.
Drivers of any motor vehicle operated on a public roadway have a minimum amount of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance they must pay, and—as noted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration—those operating buses that carry passengers have an increased insurance requirement to account for the duty they owe to both the passengers of the bus as well as others navigating the road in proximity to the vehicle.
Often, a bus accident will result in the injuries or deaths of multiple people. Auto liability insurance policies give different policy limits depending on the number of people who sustained harm by providing a per-person limit and a per-accident limit. Multiple people filing claims for the same accident will often result in smaller settlements, as these claims are against the same coverage.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file within this timeframe, a court may dismiss your case, and you will be unable to seek compensation for your injuries. The statute of limitations varies by state.
In most cases, it is two or three years from the date of the accident. It is, therefore, essential to call an attorney in your state to confirm the specific time limit that applies to your case, as this timeline can dramatically reduce if you file a claim against a governmental agency, or you may be able to extend the period for a few reasons.
While it may seem like two or three years is a long time, many things must occur during this period. Valuation of a claim can only occur once a claimant reaches a point in their recovery where their condition has stabilized. The legal team must have time to gather the information and evidence to prove the claim and justify its value. Additionally, it takes time to communicate with the at-fault party’s insurer about the matter and negotiate a settlement.
The Severity of the Injury
The severity of the injuries you sustain in a bus accident also determines the amount of compensation you can receive for them. More severe injuries typically result in more costly medical treatment, a greater amount of lost earnings, and more time missed from work.
Some injuries produce permanent disabilities that will result in losing your ability to work and accomplish daily living tasks independently and require lifelong medical treatment.
Claims for permanent and disabling injuries are catastrophic injury claims and typically include injuries such as those involving the brain or spinal cord, the amputation of a limb, or the loss of a primary sense, such as hearing or sight.
Steps Involved in the Bus Accident Claims Process
Whether negotiating with an insurance company or pursuing a lawsuit, you will follow several key steps in the process:
- Gathering evidence: Your attorney can collect evidence to support your claim, such as medical records, accident reports, and witness statements. This evidence helps to establish liability and determine the claim’s value. Gathering evidence often takes considerable time—far more than a claimant has to pursue the matter on their own. Car accident lawyers work with a team of legal professionals who make this process easier for the claimant.
- Properly valuing your claim: Your lawyer can ensure they value all the financial and psychological costs you incurred because of the accident.
- Negotiating with insurance companies: An experienced personal injury lawyer can negotiate with insurance adjusters to secure a fair settlement for your injuries and damages. The initial settlement offer made by an insurance company is generally far below the established value of the claim. Settlements are final, meaning that the amount of compensation you agree to accept is all you can collect from your claim. Never agree to an unfair settlement.
- Going to trial if necessary: If you cannot reach a settlement, your attorney can represent you in court, presenting your case before a judge or jury to seek the compensation you deserve.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Bus Accident Claim?
While your legal team will handle the bulk of the work in filing and proving your claim, you can help by:
- Keeping copies of all bills, receipts, and other documentation your attorney can use in the case.
- Promptly responding to the attorney’s request for information and signatures on the contingent fee contract and other authorizations.
- Avoid talking about the accident to the insurance company and the liable party or posting about the case on social media, as others can use these discussions to devalue the claim.
- Journaling about your injuries to track the frequency of your medical appointments, your daily levels of pain, the effects on your quality of life, and the amount of time you miss from work due to your injuries.
- Complying with your doctor’s treatment plan, including taking all prescribed medication and attending all scheduled appointments.
An experienced personal injury attorney in Phoenix can provide valuable guidance on understanding the legal process involved in bus accident cases. They can explain the various steps, timelines, and legal concepts you encounter while pursuing compensation.