A bus accident can be devastating, leading to life-altering injuries as well as fatalities. Handling a bus crash typically is different from an accident with another car. Instead of dealing with another motorist, a person will likely have to negotiate with either a public entity or a corporation, as well as an insurance carrier. That is why it is so important to talk to a bus accident lawyer with Baron & Budd by either completing our online form or calling 866-236-9479.

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Unfortunately, bus accidents occur far too often. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics analyzed accidents that took place over a five-year period, from 2003-2007. In 2007 alone, 354 people died – 220 of these victims were drivers of other vehicles and their passengers. And though people typically think that bus accidents mainly occur on highways, that is not necessarily the case. According to the study, 34.5 percent of fatal bus accidents took place on residential streets.

In many instances, this type of wreck happens due to a poorly maintained bus, an inattentive or impaired driver, or some other type of negligence on the part of the company that owns the bus. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident with a bus, you need to speak with an attorney to see if you have grounds for a bus accident lawsuit.

Any sort of automobile accident can result in a serious, debilitating injury that is not only painful, but expensive as well. It can lead to repair bills, medical expenses and lost wages. An accident involving a bus can make a bad situation even worse when a person tries to obtain compensation for damages, or financial losses, incurred due to the wreck.

Even if you are completely certain you were not to blame for the accident, that will likely not matter at all if you are not represented by an experienced bus accident lawyer. At Baron & Budd, we have advocated for victims for nearly 40 years, helping them obtain the compensation they deserved for the suffering they experienced.

Why You Need a Bus Accident Lawyer

A bus accident lawyer can provide you with the valuable insight and experience necessary to pursue your claim. You need the assistance of an experienced bus accident attorney in order to have the best possible chance of obtaining the compensation you are seeking for the damages you have incurred.

These are just some of the reasons why hiring a bus accident lawyer is so vital to your chances for success.

Determining Fault

It may seem obvious at first blush that filing a bus accident lawsuit will be simple, since you are 100 percent certain you know who is at fault. The driver of the bus was to blame, so it should be simple to secure restitution, right? The truth is that obtaining compensation can be extremely complicated.

For instance, the driver of the bus may not be the only one at fault. There could be several other parties that played a role in the accident that resulted in your injury, and it will be critically important to identify each and every one of them. There is a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, a Latin phrase meaning, “let the master answer.” Under this doctrine, an employer bears responsibility for its employees’ on-the-job actions. The driver of the bus – as well as the bus company – could face liability as result. Or, it could be that the driver was not at fault at all, but a part malfunctioned and caused the accident. In that case, the manufacturer of that part could be liable.

Dealing with the Bus Company's Insurance Company

One of the biggest pitfalls that ensnare self-represented accident victims is dealing with an insurance carrier. It may seem that it would be simple to settle out of court with an insurer, since commercial vehicles such as buses are required by law to carry expensive insurance policies. The hard reality, however, it that it is extremely difficult to deal with an insurance company trying to defend a large policy. The insurance company will vigorously protect its interests because it stands to lose a great deal of money. As a result, the insurance carrier will be extremely aggressive in either attempting to slash your claim significantly or have it denied entirely. Just like any other business, an insurance company’s goal is to make money. If it gives into your demands, it will have to do so for everyone else who makes a claim.

The law does not mandate that an insurance company will owe you a penny. The only thing it provides you is the chance to file a bus accident lawsuit in order to obtain compensation for the damages you have incurred. You bear the burden of providing the proof needed to show that the defendant or defendants in your case were responsible for your injury, and should be compelled to pay your damages as a result. The insurance company will fight hard in order to pay you as little as possible – preferably, nothing at all.

Big insurance carriers also have a team of skilled, aggressive defense lawyers at their disposal to defeat bus accident lawsuits. More than likely, that team went into action as soon as the accident was reported.

The longer it takes for you to hire a bus accident lawyer, the harder it will be for you to win.

Self-insured Charter Bus Companies

In some instances, a bus company will opt to self-insure its fleet rather than pay the extremely high costs associated with commercial vehicle insurance policies. This is legal, of course, and is done by putting aside a portion of revenues in order to pay accident victims who win a bus accident lawsuit against the business.

If you have been involved in an accident with a self-insured bus company, it will more than likely assign a company officer to help protect its interests. This officer will be every bit as aggressive as an insurance carrier adjuster – probably more so. Unfortunately, self-insured company officers do not have to operate under the same type of code of ethics as does an insurance adjuster. As a result, there are times they will resort to unsavory tactics such as threatening witnesses and tampering with evidence. Without the help of a seasoned bus accident lawyer, your rights could be violated and your case could be irreparably damaged.

Government Owned/Operated Buses

If the accident involves a bus owned and operated by a municipality or other type of governmental entity, the challenges could get even more difficult. That entity will still work aggressively in order to deny you compensation, and additional red tape could make filing a bus accident lawsuit even more complex.

Common reasons that bus accidents occur

There are several potential reasons that a bus accident may take place. These include faulty equipment, negligent maintenance of that equipment, driver fatigue, driver error, poor weather conditions and more. In order to have grounds to file a bus accident lawsuit, you must be able to not only prove that your injury and property damage were due to the accident, but also that the accident was the result of another party’s negligence. This other party could be the bus company, bus driver, the manufacturer of a defective part that led to the accident, etc. There could be more than one negligent party responsible.

Common injuries that occur as the result of bus accidents

In some instances, injuries sustained in a bus accident can be relatively minor, such as bruising or sprains. Most of the time, however, injuries are extremely serious due to the vast difference in size and weight between a bus and a car, truck or SUV. Head trauma, organ damage and bone fractures occur quite often.

What to Do if You are Involved in a Bus Accident

If you are involved in a bus accident, your first priority should be to obtain any necessary medical treatment. Not only is this important from a health perspective, it could also have a significant affect on your case. In order for your bus accident lawsuit to be successful, you will need to obtain medical attention within a reasonable time period. If you don’t, and your injury becomes worse because of the delay, then you will likely only be able to obtain compensation for the original injury. You will be financially responsible for any medical expenses that arise due to complications that may occur.

Next, you need to contact an experienced bus accident lawyer so that an investigation can be launched. Time will be of the essence so that the investigation can begin while evidence is fresh. Weather conditions, road conditions and several other factors can quickly alter the accident scene and cause evidence to fade away. Remember, insurance carriers typically begin their own investigations almost immediately after an accident involving a commercial vehicle occurs. The longer you wait to obtain legal representation, the larger the advantage the opposing side will enjoy.

How Baron & Budd Can Help

A bus accident lawyer with Baron & Budd can help you or a loved one obtain fair compensation for the suffering you have been forced to endure. We will also work to make sure those responsible for the accident are held accountable for their negligence.

Call a bus accident attorney with Baron & Budd at 866-236-9479 or complete our contact form to schedule a complimentary consultation. We will clearly explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and let you know how we may be able to help.
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