How to Protect Your Rights When Dealing With a Negligent Bus Driver
Buses are still popular vehicles for public transportation in the US and other parts of the world. Buses are large vehicles that can transport several passengers at a time, which is why bus drivers need to practice diligence and defensive driving at all times. While buses are generally safe to ride, there are still circumstances like driver negligence that can endanger bus passengers and other vehicles, drivers, and pedestrians. Thus, it helps to know how you can protect your rights when dealing with a negligent bus driver if ever you find yourself involved in a bus accident.
Seek Legal Assistance
Whether the bus involved is private or publicly owned, you will need to hire the services of a lawyer due to the complicated circumstances and conditions behind the accident. Even if you determine or have proof that the accident was due to the bus driver’s negligence, personal injury lawsuits can get complicated, especially if the bus is operated and owned by the government. Moreover, a bus accident lawyer specializes in basic principles in bus accident cases and will help you pursue justice and due compensation for the injuries you sustained. If you get involved in a school bus or city bus accident, your lawyer will facilitate the best process of filing a claim against the government by following the procedural rules mandated by your state.
As a bus passenger, you can file a lawsuit not only to the negligent bus driver or the bus company but also to anybody who shares responsibility in the accident, including the driver that caused the collision, the bus manufacturer or supplier, or any person or entity whose negligence has, in one way or another, led to the accident and the resulting injuries or death.
File Claims Promptly
One of the limitations in a bus accident claim, especially those involving publicly-owned buses, is to file claims within six months after the date of the accident. Having a lawyer assist you with filing the claim can help the process smoother and avoid complications or limitations that can deny you of your rightful claim.
Depending on the state, a settlement or verdict exceeding $500,000 can be paid in installments, should the responsible public entity request for such a method of compensation. However, you as the plaintiff cannot file for punitive damages against the public entity. If the bus is privately owned, the aforementioned limitations do not apply, but a prompt filing of your claim is still necessary for building a strong case.
Have Solid Documentation of the Accident
An experienced lawyer in bus accidents will help you reinforce the investigation of the accident by sending a private investigator to the accident scene, even if a police report has been prepared. In certain situations, police reports often do not include accurate measurements of deviations and positions before and after the accident.
They will only include estimates and take into account witness statements of those present during the accident. A private investigator’s report can help strengthen the case, especially when cross-referencing against the findings of the insurance company’s investigators.
You should never be too complacent when it comes to riding a bus. Always practice caution when riding a bus and drive defensively if you are driving near buses. Even though bus companies, operators, and drivers have the responsibility of taking care of passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians, you should have measures ready when things go wrong. Having a reliable lawyer at your side will help you protect your rights at all times, especially during road accidents.