Bus accident injuries can be catastrophic. You suffered serious injuries due to someone’s negligence: often the negligence of another driver. Can you seek compensation for those injuries, especially in cases where multiple bus passengers might have suffered injuries?
Any time you suffer injuries due to the negligence of another party, you may have the right to pursue compensation for those injuries through an injury claim. However, a bus accident claim can quickly turn complicated.
Start by Contacting an Attorney
Any time you suffer an injury in a bus accident, whether the bus accident occurred due to negligence on the part of the bus driver or another driver that collided with a bus, get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help with several key elements of your bus accident claim.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
In New York, you may have limited time to file a bus accident claim, particularly if a government entity owns the bus and the bus driver caused the accident.
New York law may provide up to three years to file an injury claim after a typical car accident, including a bus accident. However, suppose the bus accident involves liability on the part of a government entity. In that case, you may have just 90 days to file an intent to sue and one year and 90 days to formally seek compensation for your injuries. After that time, the court may refuse to hear your claim.
Collecting Evidence Regarding Your Bus Accident
To file an injury claim, you may need to establish who caused your bus accident. Sometimes, you may have clear evidence that the bus driver committed an act of negligence that led to the accident and, therefore, to your injuries. In other cases, however, you may not have the evidence to establish who caused the accident.
Did the accident occur because of a negligent driver? Does the bus company share liability for the accident due to negligent maintenance on the bus or failing to properly monitor or train the driver? An attorney can help provide the evidence you need to put together a comprehensive accident claim to help you pursue the compensation you may deserve.
Learn About the Compensation You Deserve
Following a bus accident, you may end up with severe injuries. Bus accidents can cause broken bones, spinal trauma, back and neck injuries, and severe lacerations. You may need compensation for the medical costs you may have faced after your accident, any income you lost, and the pain and suffering you faced because of the incident.
An attorney can help you cover the financial losses you faced because of the accident and provide better, more comprehensive insights into what to expect as you deal with the insurance company. On the other hand, the insurance company may try to pressure you to accept a low settlement offer that does not fully reflect the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Working with a lawyer gives you a much better idea of the compensation you deserve.
Filing a Claim After a New York Bus Accident
After you talk to a New York bus accident attorney, you will learn whether you have grounds to file an injury claim to help you pursue compensation for your bus accident injuries. The claim process can prove complex, depending on who caused the bus accident and what compensation you may need to pursue.
Determining Liability After a New York Bus Accident
Liability for a New York bus accident, like liability for a car accident, can depend on a variety of factors. Often, you may discover that multiple factors contributed to the bus accident or your injuries.
The Bus Driver
In many cases, the bus driver will make an error that leads to the accident. Bus drivers spend many hours driving large vehicles in tight traffic. Those large vehicles can prove very difficult to maneuver. They may have large blind spots that can make it very difficult for the bus driver to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and potential hazards. Furthermore, the large size of the bus may make it difficult for the bus driver to maneuver safely in heavy traffic, such as during rush hour.
The bus company’s insurance may kick in when the bus driver bears liability for an accident. The bus company, however, may not bear direct liability when the bus driver commits a normal error in the course of driving that leads to a serious accident.
The Other Driver
While the bus driver may often bear liability for an accident, in some cases, liability for an accident involving another driver may rest on that driver. Some drivers may grow impatient in tight traffic, causing them to make errors that could result in a severe accident.
When another driver’s negligent behavior on the road causes an accident with a bus, you may need to pursue compensation through that driver’s insurance company.
The Bus Company
In many New York bus accidents, the bus company can share liability with the driver for the accident.
The bus company may, for example:
- Fail to take care of needed maintenance on its buses. When the bus company fails to properly maintain a vehicle, it may result in a more serious accident or lead to a breakdown that causes an accident.
- Fail to provide drivers with adequate training. It can prove difficult to find drivers for New York buses, and some bus companies may push their drivers to get behind the wheel as soon as possible without offering adequate training.
- Fail to monitor their drivers. If a bus driver develops a pattern of reckless behavior, the bus company may need to respond quickly to those dangerous behaviors.
- Keep a driver that has a history of causing severe accidents. While rare accidents can happen to anyone and do not serve as a reason to discontinue a driver’s overall employment, multiple severe accidents, or frequent accidents, could indicate that the driver cannot safely continue to hold the role.
A lawyer can help investigate the bus driver’s history, the bus’s records, and any other factors that may have contributed to the accident.
The Compensation You May Recover Following a New York Bus Accident
High medical bills, time out of work because of your injuries, and the many expenses that often accompany a serious accident can spell financial devastation after a New York bus accident. Many people need to know how much compensation they can reasonably expect for their injuries.
A lawyer cannot guarantee the compensation you will ultimately recover for those injuries but can provide a better look at how much compensation you should expect for the injuries you sustained.
Take a look at these common compensation elements after a New York bus accident and how they may apply to your claim.
Compensation for Your Medical Costs
A bus accident can result in severe injuries, ranging from broken bones or severe lacerations to spinal trauma or brain injuries. The worse your injuries, the greater the medical bills you may face as a direct result, and the more compensation you may need to cover the cost of those injuries.
As part of your New York bus accident claim, you may include compensation for the medical costs you may have faced after your accident. Make sure you talk to your lawyer about the anticipated future cost of medical bills and the immediate cost of bills you may have already faced for your injuries.
Compensation for Any Income Losses
Consider how your bus accident injuries have impacted your ability to go to work. Some employers make the process as easy as possible: they want their employees back in the office, and they will provide them with the support they need to start working, even if that means limitations to what the employee can do. Other employers, however, may not want those employees to return to the office, especially if they work in positions where their injuries could place them or others in danger.
As part of a comprehensive bus accident claim, you can include compensation for any income you lost because of your injuries. Factor in both times missed immediately after the accident, when you may have lost the ability to go back to work completely, and further time you may have missed while recovering, including time spent attending follow-up appointments or undergoing procedures designed to aid in your recovery.
Tell your lawyer if you suffered injuries in your bus accident that could permanently prevent you from working since you may have the right to claim compensation for lost earning potential.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
The suffering you face after your bus accident can change your life. Following a bus accident, many people may struggle to deal with the pain that goes along with their injuries or the isolation that often occurs when you cannot get out with your friends and loved ones the way you did before the accident.
Some people may struggle with anxiety due to the bus accident or their injuries, which can further complicate their ability to get out in public. You may also have to contend with serious physical pain throughout your recovery.
As part of your bus accident claim, you can include compensation for the suffering you faced due to your injuries. While those challenges may not have a direct financial value, your lawyer can help you determine how to include them in a comprehensive injury claim.
What Does a New York Bus Accident Claim Look Like?
You may start by contacting a lawyer who can help walk you through the claim process and give you a better idea of what to expect. What happens next? Your lawyer will start with an investigation into your accident.
That investigation will look at:
- Likely causes of the bus accident
- The insurance policy that covers the liable party
- The extent of your injuries
- The suffering you have faced because of your injuries
- Your medical costs
Then, your lawyer will put together a compelling, comprehensive claim package that lays out the losses you have faced and the compensation you expect for those losses. Your lawyer will submit that package to the insurance company that covers the liable party.
The insurance company will then have a chance to respond to that package. In most cases, the insurance company will conduct its investigation into the accident. The insurance company wants a comprehensive look at all factors that likely contributed to the accident and the losses you have faced.
The insurance company will respond to that package either by a) providing a settlement offer or b) denying liability or denying full liability for the accident, which means you may get a lower settlement offer. In many cases, that settlement offer will not reflect the full compensation you deserve for your New York bus accident injuries. Your lawyer will then help you negotiate a reasonable compensation offer that reflects the losses you have faced.
Court Appearances and Bus Accident Claims
Many accident victims worry about the possibility of going to court to deal with an accident claim. In most cases, you will not have to go to court over a bus accident claim. Instead, you will generally work to agree out of court. Contact Finkelstein & Partners, LLP to get a free consultation today.
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.