With private buses, school buses and public transit buses all traversing the streets of Olympia, bus accidents can and do happen. If you were in an accident that involved a bus, your path to recovering damages may differ from typical passenger vehicle accident claims.
An attorney from Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC can recover compensation if you or a loved one has been involved in bus accident and sustained injuries.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
A bus accident may be caused by any number of factors. In some cases, a bus accident may be the result of the actions of another driver, such as the driver of a passenger car or truck. In other cases, a bus’s mechanical failure such as the brakes or defective equipment can cause an accident. At other times, poor road surface conditions, such as potholes or icy surfaces, may be a contributing factor in an accident.
Sometimes, bus accidents are caused by the bus driver’s negligence. A driver’s inexperience, for example, may cause a bus accident. Or a bus accident may be caused by a driver operating a bus while distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fatigued or while taking improper or aggressive actions, such as making a turn too quickly or driving at an unsafe speed.
Dangers Associated with Bus Accidents
A bus accident can be extremely dangerous for the driver, the bus passengers and any other drivers, passengers or pedestrians on the road. Because the majority of buses aren’t equipped with seatbelts, a bus accident may cause passengers to be thrown from their seats, causing them to collide with windows, other passengers or other objects.
As such, a bus accident can cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries that result in permanent impairment, spinal cord injuries that cause paralysis, internal injuries that require immediate surgery to correct, and many others. Some might even be fatal.
Recovering Compensation after a Bus Accident
After a bus accident, knowing how to recover compensation for injuries can be confusing. But some party typically is responsible for the accident. That party might be another driver, a mechanic who failed to repair a bus part properly, the manufacturer of a defective tire that caused the accident or the bus driver.
Whoever behaved negligently or outside what would be considered rational and safe behavior needs to be held responsible for the accident. According to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, buses for transporting people are required to obtain permits and register as required under law as a passenger carrier. Passenger carriers have a duty to exercise a level of care required to keep passengers as free from hazards as possible.
In order to recover compensation following a bus accident, you will need to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit. You will have to prove that the negligent actions of the party responsible caused the accident and that the accident was the direct cause of your (or your loved one’s) injuries. If this can be proven, then the responsible party will be liable for damages.
If the responsible party is liable, then you will be able to recover damages based on the severity of your injuries. If your injures were severe enough that you had to miss work, then one type of compensation that you will be able to recover is lost wage compensation. If your injury caused a permanent disability or impairment, then you may be able to recover damages for disfigurement, pain and suffering. In the state of Washington, you have three years from the date of injury to file a claim for damages, according to Washington Revised Code Chapter 4.16.
Do You Believe You Have a Case? Speak with an Attorney Today!
Whether you were in another vehicle or in the bus at the time of a traffic accident, or if you slipped and fell on the bus stairs, an attorney from our firm can help gather all of the evidence you will need to prove negligence and liability. In some cases, this will require filing a claim against a government agency, which brings additional requirements to take legal action.