Bus accident injuries can prove catastrophic. While a bus’s large size can provide some protection in an accident, the lack of seatbelts and many passengers may mean a high risk of injury following a bus accident.
How can you claim compensation for your injuries if you are in a bus accident?
Obtain a copy of the police report.
The police report from a bus accident will contain a great deal of vital information about what led to the accident and who likely bears liability for the incident. It will also contain information about where and when the accident occurred.
Check over the police report for accuracy. As a bus passenger, you may have relatively few options for correcting a police report with inaccurate information. Still, you should contact the police department and share any information about an inaccurate report to make it easier for you to get the compensation you may deserve when you file a claim.
Other Evidence Related to a New York Bus Accident
To file an injury claim after a bus accident, you must display liability for the accident. You may have assumed, at the scene of the accident, that you did not need to collect evidence. The police responded, and you had other things on your mind. However, evidence can prove valuable in establishing your right to compensation after an accident.
If you have the opportunity, you may want to collect:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Witness statements
- A copy of your statement
A lawyer may also want to obtain any video footage of the accident, including cell phone footage captured by you or other passengers or any traffic camera footage of the accident.
Keep up with your medical needs after a bus accident.
Pay careful attention to your medical needs and requirements following a New York bus accident. Even injuries like broken bones may require you to follow a list of instructions issued by your care provider to maximize your odds of recovering fully. If you have more severe injuries, you may have a longer list of instructions you must follow.
Keep up with everything your care provider requires. If you intend to file a bus accident claim, you may need to clearly show that you have done everything in your power to maximize your odds of making a full recovery.
You may also want to keep up with evidence related to your recovery and your medical bills.
Keep track of:
- Any scans and tests you may have related to your injury, including the results of those tests. If you suffer severe injuries, you may naturally deserve more compensation than if you suffered relatively minor injuries in the accident. The insurance company may want to look through your records to better understand what injuries you sustained and what you may need to do about them.
- Your medical bills. Most often, your medical bills will be the foundation of your injury claim. You may want to keep track of bills you have already paid, including copay or deductible amounts and bills you need to pay or have made payment arrangements for.
- Your recovery. Keep a journal that documents the course of your recovery and the limitations you may face during that process. You may have a long road to recovery in front of you and several emotional struggles that accompany your injuries. A journal can more clearly indicate exactly what struggles you may have faced during your recovery, which may make it easier for you to establish what difficulties you faced after the accident. Take photos of your injuries as they progress through the healing stages.
- Any additional information provided by your doctors and therapists. Your doctors may offer insights into your recovery, including how much you will likely ultimately recover after your injuries. That documentation can prove essential in clearly laying out the losses you have faced and your next steps.
Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
You should retain an attorney to file a New York bus accident claim. After a bus accident, you may need to retain an attorney as soon as possible.
The Statute of Limitations for a Bus Accident in New York
To file a bus accident claim and receive compensation for your injuries, you must file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out. The statute of limitations in a bus accident claim may depend on who bears liability for the accident, and, in cases where the bus driver or bus company bears liability for the accident, the party that owns the bus company may affect how long you have to move forward with a claim.
In New York, you have three years to file an accident claim from the date of a car accident. However, suppose a government entity bears liability for an accident, as in the case of a bus accident claim when a city-owned bus bears liability for the incident. In that case, you may need to pursue an intent to file your claim within 90 days of the initial accident.
Many people do not realize how little time they have to file a claim against a government entity in New York. However, failure to start your claim within those 90 days could make it impossible for you to recover the compensation you deserve since the court may refuse to hear your claim if you file it outside that initial 90-day window. Once you have recorded your intent to file, you have one year from that date to move forward with a claim against a government entity.
Retain a lawyer during that initial period after your accident. The attorney can fill out all paperwork related to your claim correctly so you do not miss out on any essential deadlines for recovering compensation for your injuries.
Understanding the Compensation You Can Recover for a New York Bus Accident
In a bus accident, multiple people may suffer severe injuries. Every passenger on the bus has the same risk of injury in an accident since everyone may get thrown around. In some cases, multiple passengers may struggle with the same limitations you do. Most bus companies have insurance policies designed to help provide compensation in an accident, but those insurance companies may not automatically pay out the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
By retaining a lawyer, you can better understand how much compensation you deserve for a New York bus accident.
A lawyer can help you go over:
- Your medical costs. You may have immense medical bills related to your bus accident injuries. The worse your injuries, the higher those medical bills may grow, and the more trouble you may have managing the financial limitations accompanying those bills. An attorney can help review those bills and give you a better idea of what to expect.
- Your lost wages. Did you have to miss work because of your New York bus accident? An attorney can help you better understand how those lost wages have impacted you and what you may need to do to recover compensation for your lost income.
- Your suffering. Frequently, bus accident claims will include compensation for pain and suffering. While that compensation will not alleviate the suffering you have faced, it will provide you with funds that can help you rebuild your life after your injuries.
Often, the insurance company that covers the liable driver will try to limit the compensation you can recover for your injuries, particularly in cases where multiple individuals have suffered injuries or you suffered severe injuries and need to pursue substantial compensation. An attorney can help you break down the losses you faced and give you a better idea of how much compensation you deserve.
Collecting Evidence About the Bus Accident
In many cases, you will need to establish who bears liability for your bus accident to pursue compensation. As a passenger on a bus, you know that you did not cause the accident and that you deserve compensation from the liable party. However, the other parties involved in the accident may try not to accept liability or only accept partial liability if possible.
The bus driver’s insurance company may claim that another driver caused the accident, while any other driver involved may claim that the bus driver caused the accident.
Your attorney can help sift through the evidence related to the accident and keep the focus on you and your losses, where it belongs during your claim. As a result, you may have a clearer picture of how much compensation you should expect for the often devastating injuries that accompany a serious bus accident.
Fighting for Your Right to Compensation
Everyone injured in a bus accident should have the right to reasonable compensation for their injuries. Bus accident claims, however, often involve multiple injuries, which can make the quest for compensation more difficult.
When you retain an attorney to help with your bus accident claim, you may find it much easier to establish your losses and the compensation you realistically deserve for those losses. Your attorney will help focus on your specific rights, not others’ rights, which may help streamline your claim.
Protect your right to compensation.
While your lawyer works on filing a bus accident claim on your behalf, you may need to take steps to help protect your right to compensation.
Avoid Posting on Social Media
Keep posts about your recovery or the accident off of social media. You may also want to carefully check what else you post during your recovery. In some cases, insurance companies have used social media posts to show that the injured party did not suffer the injuries they claimed and does not, as a result, deserve the compensation asked for in the claim. Your attorney can discuss more potential social media posts with you as you manage your claim.
Let Your Attorney Deal With the Insurance Company
As a passenger on the bus, if you observed what led to the accident, you may need to make a statement about anything you observed leading up to the accident. In some cases, you may know what caused the accident, especially if you had an obvious view. In others, however, you may not know what caused the accident. Let your attorney deal with the insurance company as much as possible, and talk to your attorney about how to best shape your statement.
Follow Your Care Provider’s Instructions
You have a long list of instructions to follow as you recover from your injuries. Continue to follow the recommendations and instructions laid out by your care provider. Let your care provider know about any difficulties you may face on your road to recovery, and promptly take care of any issues that may arise.
In some cases, if you fail to follow those instructions, you may limit the compensation you can recover for your injuries since the insurance company may claim that your lack of adherence to doctors’ orders caused your continuing limitations or worsening injuries.
Contact an Attorney After Your New York Bus Accident
A bus accident can prove devastating. Working with an attorney gives you a better idea of the compensation you deserve and receive comprehensive support as you manage your claim. Contact an attorney as soon after your bus accident as possible to protect your right to compensation.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.