Legal Considerations After A Bus Accident
Whenever people board a bus to commute to work or for a vacation tour, their safety is the last thing they are concerned about. Still, they should remember their safety lies in the hands of the bus driver and the bus company. Accidents can happen. Bus accidents can cause not only the same injuries as car accidents but can instigate unique injuries of their own. These injuries may be far worse than those one would receive in an automobile accident. This is because:
- Buses carry little or no passenger safety equipment, such as seat belts
- Buses are more prone to rolling over than automobiles
- Buses require passengers to keep hold of their belongings. This may lead to projectile injuries if the passengers and objects are thrown around during an accident
What actions should an injured passenger take?
A passenger injured in a bus accident should seek immediate emergency medical attention. Preferably, the passenger should inform the bus driver, who should then call 911 to summon ambulances and paramedics.
If the bus driver or other bus personnel cannot or refuse to do this, the injured passenger should call for emergency medical assistance themselves.
After emergency treatment, the injured passenger should consult their own doctor for additional medical tests. Some insurance companies will not accept claims for injuries after a set period of time has passed, and if an injured person wants to make a claim, they must do so before this deadline passes.
These tests should include examinations for back, head and spinal injuries. Symptoms of these injuries often take days or weeks to appear and may manifest after the time limit for claims has expired.
What actions should a mildly-injured passenger take?
If a passenger is not seriously injured, they should document the accident as best they can. They should obtain:
- The names, telephone numbers, addresses and email addresses of accident witnesses
- The names, telephone numbers, addresses and email addresses of the driver, any other bus personnel, and other passengers
- Photographs of the accident scene, using their smartphones. Take pictures from as many angles as possible
- The name, badge number and business card of police officers at the scene of the accident
These will help you in any future actions you might decide to bring against those responsible for the accident.
Who could be liable for a bus accident?
Usually, the bus accident could have been caused by a third-party driver, the bus driver, or both could have contributed to the accident.
If the accident was caused by a third-party driver, the injured passenger could generally make a claim against the driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for their injuries. However, if the driver at fault was the bus driver, or both the bus and third-party driver share responsibility or the accident, it is more challenging to make a compensation claim.
In these situations, it is best to seek the assistance of an knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.
Should the injured passenger sue?
An injured passenger should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, even if they have not yet considered what legal actions they might launch. The personal injury lawyer will be able to:
- Determine who is likely at fault for the accident
- Understand and explain what options the injured passenger has
- Help the injured passenger find physicians who are experienced in treating bus accident injuries
- Navigate the complex procedural and legal issues that will arise in the process of making a claim or bringing other legal action
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