Public transportation can be a convenient and economical means of commuting to work or traveling from place to place in Phoenix, but when you board a bus, you are essentially putting your safety and well-being in the hands of the bus driver and bus company, which can be a frightening thought considering bus accidents occur more often than you might think and have the potential to cause more damage than most other motor vehicles. Buses are extremely large, heavy vehicles and when they are involved in an accident, buses can cause serious injuries, death or destruction of property. If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a public bus or while getting on or off a bus, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and other damages. Contact our bus accident lawyers at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC today to discuss your legal options.
Competent and Capable Bus Accident Attorneys
The aftermath of a Phoenix bus accident can be stressful and overwhelming, and your first priority following a bus accident should be to ensure that you and your loved ones get the medical attention you need. If your injuries are severe, you could require emergency surgery or long-term medical care, which can be costly and life-altering. Even if you don’t appear to have suffered any injuries, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Serious physical trauma like internal bleeding or a neck injury isn’t always immediately obvious, and if you don’t seek medical attention right away and the injury worsens over time, you may have a difficult time proving that the bus accident was the cause of the injury. Once you have sought proper medical care, your next step is to find a Phoenix personal injury attorney with experience handling bus accidents to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Our bus accident lawyers at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC are familiar with Phoenix transportation laws, and with our legal team on your side, you can improve your chances of maximum recovery.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
A bus accident is an accident that involves any type of bus, including a public bus (i.e. city bus or transit bus), school bus, tour bus, motor coach, party bus or limo bus, private bus, charter bus, commercial bus (i.e. Bolt Bus or Greyhound Bus), or any other vehicle that can accommodate more than 10 people. Buses are considered “common carriers,” which in the United States means they transport people and/or goods from one place to another, and when a bus accident occurs, it isn’t always easy to determine what caused the accident, who is at fault and how you should go about pursuing compensation for your injuries. Many bus accident injuries in Phoenix occur when a bus driver:
- Loses control of the bus
- Swerves or breaks suddenly to avoid hitting something or someone
- Loses consciousness
- Falls asleep at the wheel
- Is distracted while driving
- Makes an improper left-hand turn
Other common causes of Phoenix bus accidents involve:
- A pedestrian stepping into the path of a bus
- A defective or malfunctioning bus part
- Another vehicle crashing into a bus
- Mechanical failure
- Inclement weather
- Unsafe road conditions
Bus Accident Injuries in Phoenix
Buses are significantly larger and heavier than most other vehicles on Phoenix roadways and they can cause a great deal more damage in the event of an accident. Bus accidents typically involve dozens of passengers and because federal law does not require buses to have seatbelts, the risk of injury or death is higher in bus accidents than in many other types of motor vehicle accidents, as these passengers can easily be thrown from their seats in the event of a collision, or possibly even ejected from the bus. There are many different types of injuries victims can sustain in a Phoenix bus accident, but some of the most common are:
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Loss of limbs (amputation)
- Severe burns
Negligence and Liability in Phoenix Bus Accident Cases
When you board a bus in Phoenix, whether it’s a public bus, a school bus or a charter bus, you expect that the bus is safe and that you are being driven by a qualified and responsible driver who will take every precaution to protect your safety and well-being. In fact, all common carriers, buses included, are legally obligated to transport passengers from place to place safely and responsibly, and this duty of care means bus companies are required to hire skilled drivers, regularly maintain their vehicles and warn passengers of any potential dangers. When a negligent bus company or driver breaches this duty of care and an accident occurs as a result, the bus company or driver may be liable for the injuries and damages the accident causes.
Due to complex ownership/responsibility situations, determining liability in a Phoenix bus accident case and holding the at-fault person or party liable for your injuries can be a complicated process, and that is where an experienced bus accident attorney comes in. Parties that may be held liable for your Phoenix bus accident injuries include the following:
- Bus driver – If the bus driver’s negligence caused the bus accident, he or she may be legally liable for your injuries, as well as the company that employed the driver.
- Bus company or owner of the bus – Bus companies are obligated to make sure their drivers are properly hired, trained and supervised and they are typically responsible for any negligent acts on the part of their drivers.
- Manufacturer of the bus or bus part – If a defective bus or bus part contributed to the accident, the manufacturer of the bus or bus part may be liable for your injuries and damages.
- Company that maintained the bus – If an outside company was responsible for maintaining the bus and failed to maintain it properly, the company may be at fault if their actions caused the accident.
- Other motorists – If another vehicle is involved in the bus accident and the driver’s negligence contributed to the accident, you may be able to file a claim against the driver or his or her insurance company.
- School boards and school districts – If the accident involves a school bus, the school board or school district would be liable for the accident, unless the school board contracted with a private school bus company to handle its transportation needs, in which case the private company could also be named as a defendant, along with the school board or district.
- Construction company and state or local governments – If the cause of the bus accident was a defectively designed, maintained or constructed road, the responsible company or government entity may be liable for your injuries.
Filing a Bus Accident Injury Claim for Compensation
When you are involved in a bus accident, you may assume that your insurance policy or the other person’s insurance policy will cover the cost of your injuries and losses. However, insurance companies typically try to pay out as little as possible when it comes to personal injury or wrongful death claims, and the insurance claims adjuster will likely seek to minimize compensation, which is why hiring a bus accident attorney to protect your rights is critical. Your attorney can deal with the insurance company and attempt to reach a favorable settlement agreement on your behalf, but in cases where that isn’t possible, your attorney can take your personal injury or wrongful death case to trial.
Depending on the circumstances of the bus accident, there are different types of bus accident claims you can file. For instance, if the bus driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, you may have grounds to file a negligence claim alleging that the driver failed in his duty of care to you and the other passengers on the bus. Driver negligence is perhaps the most common cause of bus accidents in Phoenix, but there are other factors that can contribute to bus accidents and other parties that may be liable for any injuries you sustain in a bus accident. If the accident occurred because a defective bus part malfunctioned or failed, you may be able to pursue compensation from the manufacturer for any injuries you or your loved ones sustained in the accident. If the accident occurred because of poor road design or maintenance, road construction or a defective road feature, you may instead pursue compensation from the municipality or public entity responsible for maintaining the roadway.
Some common damages in Phoenix bus accident claims include medical bills, lost wages, job loss, loss of future earning capacity, emotional distress, wrongful death, funeral expenses and loss of consortium.
Statute of Limitations for Bus Accident Claims
In most personal injury cases in Phoenix, the deadline to file a claim for compensation is two years. This is known as a statute of limitations, or the maximum time frame in which parties involved in an accident must initiate a legal proceeding. However, when it comes to Phoenix bus accidents in which a city, county or public entity is liable, the deadline to file a claim is much shorter. If you plan to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a school district, school board or government entity in Phoenix, you must do so within 180 days, or else lose your right to obtain compensation. Additionally, you may be required to prepare the evidence before filing the claim, so there truly is no time to waste.
How Our Bus Accident Attorneys Can Help
No matter what caused the bus accident you were involved in, it is never a good idea to speak with an insurance claims adjuster without first consulting a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, nor is it wise to attempt to file a lawsuit and pursue proper compensation on your own. As your legal counsel, our two main objectives are to establish negligence in your bus accident case and seek maximum compensation for your injuries and other damages. In order to satisfy these objectives, we will work hard to review the statements of everyone involved in the accident, interview eyewitnesses, call in accident reconstruction experts who can recreate the crash, and consult with medical experts and other experts to place a full value on your economic and noneconomic losses.
We know how devastating it can be to suffer serious injuries in a bus accident or lose a loved one in a fatal crash, and no matter what caused the accident, choosing to file a claim and recover damages is never an easy decision to make. However, the window of time you have to file a claim is limited, and our Phoenix bus accident lawyers at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC are here to help you. When you hire our firm, we will thoroughly investigate every detail of your personal injury or wrongful death claim and work diligently to build a strong case that gets you the compensation you deserve. We can help you find out who is responsible for your injuries and hold that person or party accountable so you can move past the bus accident and rebuild your life.
Consult Our Experienced Bus Accident Attorneys
The consequences of a bus accident can be catastrophic for injured passengers and their loved ones, and if you have been involved in a bus accident in Phoenix or the surrounding area, you need a capable attorney on your side who specializes in handling bus accident claims. Bus accidents are not the same as car accidents and they shouldn’t be handled the same way in court. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident in Phoenix, do not hesitate to contact our legal team at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC. We are well-versed in the best legal strategies for proving negligence in Phoenix bus accident cases and we work on a contingency-fee basis, which means we only get paid if you recover compensation. This allows us to provide affordable, qualified legal representation to those in need in Phoenix and throughout Arizona.