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Catastrophic Bus Crash Lawyer

Buses are a vital part of the infrastructure. No matter where you go, there’s a good chance you’ll see a bus or two just about every day.

While buses are incredibly useful, they are difficult to maneuver, which can lead to catastrophic bus accidents. In 2017, there were more than 66,000 total bus accidents across the country. About 15,000 of these accidents resulted in injury, and 229 bus crashes resulted in unfortunate fatalities.catastrophic bus crash

Whether it involves a school bus, a city bus or some other type of bus, these catastrophic bus crashes can be extremely dangerous. The passengers on the bus itself are often unprotected, as many buses (especially school buses) don’t have seat belts. Of course, passengers in the other vehicle are at risk as well. Buses weigh many tons, while the average car is only about 3,000 pounds. That means a bus crash naturally leads to severe damage and major injuries.

If you have been in a catastrophic bus crash or any other kind of wreck involving a bus where you have incurred serious injuries, you have legal options. At Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers, we have helped thousands of people get the compensation they deserve after a bus crash that resulted in major injuries. We know how serious these accidents can be, and we know how to negotiate with the insurance company. We also have the experience to take your case to court and fight for your rights.

Give us a call at (855) 969-5624 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a bus crash lawyer.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries You Can Seek Damages for After a Bus Accident

Many states have “common carrier” laws that designate buses and other large transport vehicles as a special category of business service. These laws hold the bus driver, the busing company, and others involved in the maintenance and operation of the bus line more accountable than other commercial vehicles. They may have to exercise the highest standard of care to protect passengers and others on the road, as opposed to a lesser standard of “ordinary care.”

The insurance policies that protect bus companies from accident-related losses tend to be larger, often $1M – $5M or more. At the same time, the insurance companies that pay out for these policies have strict limits that can make it difficult for those with injuries to claim compensation. This is especially true if the bus service was owned or operated by a government entity.

As a result of these strict policies, it can be challenging for those involved in a bus accident to claim more than a moderate amount of losses unless they have what is considered a catastrophic injury.

A “catastrophic injury” goes beyond a simple bruise or sore neck. Individuals who suffer catastrophic bus accident injuries will have extended hospital stays, possible surgeries, and a long recovery time.

Examples of a catastrophic injury include:

  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Internal organ damage
  • Major traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that result in temporary or permanent impairment
  • Major traumatic soft tissue injuries that require surgery or lengthy treatment
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Injuries resulting in facial scarring or disfigurement
  • Injuries that lead to temporary or permanent physical impairment
  • Amputations
  • Crushing injuries
  • Third-degree burns
  • Deaths

Bus accident victims who have injuries less severe than these can still seek compensation, but those with catastrophic injuries have a higher chance at obtaining more comprehensive coverage for all of their accident losses.

How Common Are School Bus Crashes?

Nearly half a million buses transport about 25 million children to school every day in the United States. Some of the worst news that can ever happen is a school bus crash. We send our children to school on buses, trusting the infrastructure system to keep them safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. While bus crash fatalities are rare, they do happen. In 2016, there were a total of 9 school bus passengers killed in crashes, along with four bus drivers. A total of 20 pedestrians were killed in these accidents, and 80 occupants of other vehicles were also killed.

In addition to these fatalities, 2016 saw about 16,000 bus crash injuries. About a thousand of these injuries were to school bus drivers, while 5,000 were school bus passengers. In addition, about 10,000 occupants of other vehicles were injured. Fewer than 500 pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-occupants were injured in bus crashes in 2016.

Clearly, when a school bus crash does happen, the results can be disastrous. That’s why it’s important to speak with an experienced bus crash lawyer if you or a loved one is injured or killed in this type of wreck.

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Bus Crash

The most common type of buses on the road are those that are owned and operated by city governments. However, many tour buses and other commercial buses also drive on our nation’s roads every day. If one of these commercial buses causes a crash that leaves you injured, you can file a lawsuit against the company that owns the vehicle.

Commercial buses are known as “common carriers.” These are a category of vehicles that transport people for a fee. Common carriers are required to follow specific regulations, and they carry the highest degree of care to protect their passengers. So, these companies can be sued if they fail to follow certain regulations, or if the driver or company itself doesn’t provide the utmost care for its passengers or others on the road.

For school and city buses, filing a lawsuit gets a bit murkier. You will need to file a lawsuit against the municipality and/or the specific bureau or division that oversees buses. This may include an organization such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, or the local school system of the bus that was in the wreck.

Filing a claim against a government entity can be tough unless your injury losses are significant. Claims made against government-owned buses that involve more serious, catastrophic injuries are more likely to undergo a more serious review by the courts, insurers, and government entities.

Claims involving minor injuries may get dismissed under laws that protect government entities, or they could result in a minor settlement offer with little other recourse available.

If you are involved in a wreck with a city-owned bus, you will need to hire a lawyer who has experience handling similar cases in your area. Every city has specific laws regarding suing the municipality, such as what paperwork needs to be filed and how long you have to file the lawsuit.

Proving Negligence in a Bus Crash

Whether you’re injured in a crash with a city or commercial bus, you must show that the driver acted negligently (or intentionally) in order to seek compensation. Negligence is present when a person acts in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t, and therefore causes injury. Four elements must be proven to show negligence:

  1. The driver had a duty of care, including following all regulations and exercising the utmost care for passengers and others on the road 
  2. The driver breached their duty of care
  3. This breach of duty was the direct cause of your injuries
  4. You suffered real damages because of the bus crash

If these elements are proven, your bus crash lawyer may be able to get compensation for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

Speak to an Experienced Catastrophic Bus Crash Lawyer Today

A school bus crash or any other kind of wreck with a bus can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, catastrophic injuries for passengers and other drivers. They can also cause severe property damage and leave you without a way to get to work — and can leave you incapacitated altogether.

If you’re injured in a bus crash, you have legal options. At Auger & Auger, we have represented bus crash victims for over 26 years. We know what it takes to get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (855) 969-5624 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a bus crash lawyer.