The public relies on various bus services every day. These large vehicles help cut down on traffic congestion and speed up commuting times. However, buses are also capable of inflicting severe damage in an accident, and most bus accidents happen on busy city streets with high potential for multiple victims.
A Phoenix resident who sustains injuries in a bus accident may pursue compensation for the resulting damages by filing a personal injury claim. Contact Knapp & Roberts today to schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix accident attorney.
If you recently sustained injuries and economic damages from a bus accident, you may think that fault is perfectly clear in your situation and that you should have little to no trouble securing a settlement. However, the reality is that pursuing a civil claim, even a seemingly straightforward one, is more complex than the average person realizes. An individual with no trial experience and no formal legal training may miss important deadlines, overlook court filing requirements, or fail to explore available compensation options.
Refraining from hiring an attorney on the assumption of costly legal fees can actually end up costing the plaintiff more. An attorney can ensure the plaintiff meets his or her filing obligations with the court, gather evidence to support the plaintiff’s position, and coordinate with professionals who can testify as expert witnesses to further strengthen a claim. Hiring an attorney increases the chances of succeeding with a bus accident claim, and will likely secure more compensation than the client could alone.
The average Phoenix resident encounters several types of buses on a regular basis. When an accident occurs, the bus driver, the company that hired and trained the driver, or another entity may bear liability. It is also possible for another vehicle driver to cause an accident with a bus that results in injuries to bus passengers, pedestrians, and others. Depending on the type of bus involved, an injured bus accident victim may face various legal complications in the pursuit of compensation.
Many bus accidents occur due to visibility issues; it can be difficult for bus drivers to see completely around their massive vehicles, and other drivers may fail to account for buses’ generally poor maneuverability. Speeding, distraction, aggressive driving, and driver error are other common causes of bus accidents. Victims in these accidents can potentially include a bus driver and passengers, occupants of other motor vehicles, and pedestrians.
If the accident occurred due to intoxication behind the wheel, distracted driving, or aggressive driving, the driver likely acted outside his or her job duties and would absorb liability for the incident. However, the bus company may also face liability if ineffective training policies, unsafe hiring practices, or other operational shortcomings led to the hiring of an unfit bus driver.
Equipment failures or road defects may also cause bus accidents.
If another motorist causes an accident with a bus, anyone injured would file a civil claim against the at-fault driver. The resulting lawsuit would be a personal injury claim, but it is possible for the at-fault driver to face criminal charges if he or she was driving under the influence, participating in criminal activity, or committing a serious moving violation at the time of the accident.
Ultimately, the plaintiff’s attorney in a bus accident claim must gather evidence to determine who is liable for the accident and then prove the a-fault party’s negligence. In any civil claim, the term negligence defines one party’s failure to act with reasonable care or uphold a duty of care in a given situation. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians to follow the traffic laws and drive as safely as possible. In a bus accident case, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove the defendant was negligent and that negligence was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s damages.
A common carrier is any organization that offers transportation to the public as a paid service. A few examples of common carriers include commercial airlines, tour bus companies, and taxi companies. Since common carriers offer transportation as a paid service, the law deems that they have a higher duty of care than typical private drivers do. Common carriers must do everything possible to prevent injuries to paying customers and the general public.
If a common carrier used negligent hiring policies, failed to perform necessary background checks, or otherwise allowed a dangerous bus driver to assume a position capable of harming passengers and others, it is very likely the carrier will face liability for the resulting damages. However, some common carriers are publicly-controlled entities, and it is more likely for a bus accident to involve a public transportation service.
Filing a lawsuit against any government-controlled entity is very different than a claim against another private party. Many federal and state agencies and offices have sovereign immunity that protects them from civil liability claims and may only absorb liability under very specific circumstances. Local agencies may also have some measure of sovereign immunity.
If an injured bus accident victim has grounds for legal action against any public entity, the statute of limitations is likely much shorter and available compensation much less than a claim against a private party. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona is two years. However, claims against any city, county, or the State of Arizona itself only allow a 180-day window to file claims, and a lawsuit must follow within one year of the claimed event.
Buses are capable of causing serious damages at high speeds, but can result in devastating injuries even at lower speeds. If a bus hits a pedestrian, or a bus passenger falls and suffers a traumatic brain injury due to the driver’s negligent or reckless driving, the potential recovery for claims could be substantial.
An injured plaintiff with a successful bus accident claim can potentially secure compensation for immediate and future medical expenses, lost earnings from time spent recovering from an injury or from long-term disability, property damages, and their pain and suffering. An attorney can help gather necessary evidence and witness statements, coordinate with expert witnesses to strengthen the client’s claim, and handle difficult insurance claim issues should any arise.
Contact Knapp & Roberts today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Phoenix bus accident attorneys. We can answer the questions you have about your case at no cost and no obligation to hire our firm. If you agree to representation, we can help you understand the available compensation in your claim and what to expect from filing a lawsuit.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.