When you get on the bus, you are placing your safety in the hands of the driver. Washington law deems buses and other high capacity vehicles as “common carriers”, and holds those who are responsible for transporting passengers to the highest degree of care for the safety of its passengers. However, not all of those injured in a bus accident are eligible to receive compensation. The Seattle, Everett, Tacoma and Bremerton bus accident attorneys at Washington’s Law Firm can help determine if this standard of care has been breached, and who, if anyone, was legally at fault.
What Causes Bus Accidents
Sometimes, bus accidents are caused by the bus drivers themselves. Bus drivers receive in-depth training before they are given the responsibility of transporting passengers. They almost always know how to operate the vehicle safely. But, sometimes they are drowsy, distracted, or intoxicated in some way or another and cause an accident. Sometimes the drivers are not adequately trained. Sometimes the vehicles are not in safe working condition. Sometimes the bus company makes an unreasonable schedule that directly causes bus drivers to be too exhausted to safely transport passengers. In these circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation from the bus company.
Not all bus accidents are caused by negligent bus drivers. Often enough, other drivers act recklessly or carelessly enough to impact the bus, or otherwise cause injury to its passengers. In this circumstance, you may be entitled to compensation from the driver of the other vehicle.
Sometimes bus accidents are caused by the government’s inadequate maintenance of roads, causing hazards to drivers. Buses are very large and heavy, and much harder to maneuver and stop than smaller vehicles. On some roadways, potholes and other unmarked hazards can cause buses to harm their passengers without any liability from the driver. On such occasions, the government agency responsible for the maintenance of the roadway is responsible for the harm caused to the bus passengers.
In some cases, bus accidents occur despite the driver, the bus company, and anyone else involved in the operation and maintenance of the vehicle doing their part to prevent collisions. Sometimes it’s the result of a faulty part on the bus. Defective parts that cause bus accidents are the responsibility of the company that manufactured the faulty part.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Lacerations and/or deep cuts: When glass or other broken interior parts meet the human body, cuts of various size can occur. No matter how deep the cut, passengers injured in bus accidents should treat the affected area as soon as possible to minimize the chance of infection. Occasionally, lacerations are severe enough to require reconstructive surgery. Some cuts are deep enough to require stitches. Some are severe enough to require emergency medical treatment.
Whiplash and soft tissue sprain injuries: There’s always a risk of colliding with part of the interior in a bus crash. Soft tissue injuries including whiplash result in pain, swelling, and tenderness to the injured area. More serious injuries can result in various types of headaches, a loss of range of motion, and even muscle spasms.
Head and spine injuries: Sometimes in a bus collision, a passenger is thrown about and their head collides with part of the interior. In some cases, these injuries result in nausea, insomnia, affected vision, and even loss of consciousness. More serious trauma can cause partial or complete paralysis, a permanent loss of mobility, a permanent loss of cognitive ability, paralysis and even death. Likewise if the spine is impacted with sufficient force, resulting injuries can involve the loss of mobility and loss of life.
Broken bones and bone bruises: If the impact in a bus accident is violent enough, passengers may be thrown about the bus and strike the interior. Sometimes this results in broken bones, and bone bruises. These are indicative of serious claims with expensive medical costs, and sometimes a prolonged loss of income due to injury. Sometimes the breaks are severe enough to cause a permanent weakening of the affected bone.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Bus Accident
- Call the police and request a collision report be made.
- Obtain the relevant information from the other bus driver’s information:
- Bus Number
- Insurance Information. The at-fault driver was likely driving a government insured vehicle. Be sure to get the information anyway.
- Obtain as much contact information of every witness: This should be relatively easy as witnesses are ready available due to the amount of passengers on a bus. This contact information can be absolutely vital to your claim if and when a dispute arises in the claim :
- Phone Number
- Take clear photos of the scene of the collision, as well as the damage to all of the vehicles involved in the accident. If you are transported to the hospital via ambulance, ask a loved one to the scene in order to take pictures.
- Open a claim immediately with all insurance companies involved, even your own. Do not give any recorded statements without first speaking to a lawyer first.
- Call an experienced Seattle, Everett, Tacoma and Bremerton semi truck and bus accident attorney.
- Keep track of all of your medical providers; obtain any police reports and company incident reports, and any documentation from insurance companies or law firms.
- Document all of your time lost at work due to injuries caused by the collision.
We Exist to Fight for You
Washington’s Law Firm dedicates its time and effort towards helping the people of Washington.
Time Is Not On Your Side
Over time, witness memories fade, video footage disappears, and records can be lost. The Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Bremerton bus accident attorneys at Washington’s Law Firm can make sure evidence of the accident and responsible party is preserved and your claim is framed correctly from the beginning. The statute of limitations for bus crash injury claims is generally three years in Washington State. However, there are additional and sometimes tricky requirements for those who seek compensation from government agencies including school districts. These additional requirements can elongate the litigation process and, if not met, can potentially cost you all of the compensation you would otherwise be entitled to. The bus accident lawyers at Washington’s Law Firm are ready to give you a free evaluation. Call us at 844-486-9797 today to see if you may be entitled to recover for your injuries.