Phoenix Bus Accident Lawyers
Buses are generally considered to be one of the safest forms of transportation, and thanks to the environmental movement, public transportation is on the rise in Arizona. Unfortunately, even though many people view buses as being perfectly safe, accidents can still happen. And when they do, it’s not always easy to determine what happened, who’s at fault, or how long you have to file a claim.
Going into a bus accident claim alone may be one of the biggest mistakes you make in your life. Putting together an investigation, finding evidence, and demanding compensation is not easy, especially when you are trying to recover from serious injuries. However, we at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., have the experience you need to recover money for the damages that you have suffered. Call us at (602) 267-1280 to speak with a member of our team and set up your free consultation.
Buses are a must for public transportation in nearly every major city in the United States. These massive vehicles are made to transport dozens of people at once and need to be able to make non-stop trips throughout the day. This frequent use, however, can lead to serious accidents. While there are many different reasons a bus might get into an accident while on the road, there are some causes that are common in many cases. The most common causes of bus accidents are:
- Inclement weather
- Bad road conditions
- Defective or malfunctioning parts of the bus
- Driver error
- Bus fires
- Another driver on the road
- Negligence on the part of the bus company or bus driver
- Improper left-hand turns
The sad fact of bus accidents is that, no matter what their cause, the fallout is sure to be devastating. Buses weigh tens of thousands of pounds and can easily crush other cars and pedestrians under their wheels. That is why, when a bus is involved in a collision, the resulting injuries are likely to be catastrophic, if not fatal.
Because buses are larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road, they can cause much more damage, both to other vehicles and the people in and around them. There are many different types of injuries that could possibly be sustained during a bus accident, and most of them are devastating. Some of the most common include:
- Head, spinal, and brain injuries (including TBIs)
- Joint and bone injuries
- Permanent disability
- Wrongful death
While you might think that insurance is going to protect you and provide you compensation for any and all injuries listed above (and possibly more), it’s important you contact a qualified personal injury attorney. They may be able to help you get compensation above and beyond what the insurance company is offering. You should always keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses. This means they will almost always put their profit over your needs. Never assume that an insurance company is going to be on your side. However, with the help of an experienced lawyer, you can hold the responsible party liable through an in-depth investigation.
If you’re hurt in an Arizona bus accident, you’re going to want to do everything you can to make sure the person or people responsible are held accountable for it. Here in Phoenix, The Husband and Wife Law Team can help, but first it’s important to understand the different types of buses in Arizona, and who’s responsible for them.
- Public/city transit buses. City buses typically stay inside the city and are used by those who do not have their own vehicle, or simply don’t want to use their own vehicle. Finding who’s responsible for these vehicles can sometimes be tricky, but typically it’s either a bus company that’s been hired by the city, or the city itself, if the bus was partially at fault for damages that resulted from an accident.
- Private/charter buses. These buses can be just as big as city buses, but they are not for public use. Chartered buses are typically hired by a group of people to provide transportation to a specific place or area, for a specified period of time. This can include sporting events, corporate outings, or other occasions in which it doesn’t make sense to have multiple people drive. These buses are entirely private and so either the charter company will be responsible, and/or the driver of the bus can be held accountable for any bus accidents.
- Tour buses. Tour buses are similar to private or charter buses but they are primarily used to take a group of people to several different locations, or a location that is quite far away. Also unlike private or charter buses, these tours are arranged by the bus company. These cases can be tricky because, if the group of people using the bus hired the tour bus company directly, the company and/or the driver of the bus could be at fault. If however, the bus was hired through an intermediary on behalf of the group, that intermediary could also be liable in case an accident occurs.
- School buses. When an accident involving a school bus occurs, typically it’s the school board or school district that’s liable. However, if the school board hired a private company to handle transportation, that private bus company can also be held liable in addition to the school board.
- 15-passenger vans. These vans are designed to take a group that’s too large for one small vehicle, but not enough to fill a large bus, from one destination to another. These vans are typically rented from a rental or leasing company. If the van gets into an accident, it’s likely to be considered a bus accident due to the size of the vehicle. The rental company and/or the driver of the van at the time can be held liable in these situations.
Not everyone who is injured in a bus accident is a passenger. Sadly, many victims of bus collisions are pedestrians who were struck while crossing the street. These kinds of accidents are devastating, as pedestrians have no protection from a vehicle that weighs tens of thousands of pounds. When pedestrians are hit by buses, it can result in devastating injuries or death. If your loved one was killed by a bus, then it would probably be a case of wrongful death. You can file a wrongful death claim in order to receive compensation and hold the at-fault party liable. While this may not bring your loved one back, it will allow you to recover financially.
A vast majority of the time, when a pedestrian is hit by a bus, it is due to the negligence of the bus driver. The driver may have been distracted by his phone, fatigued and sleeping behind the wheel, or even inebriated. Bus drivers must be aware of the massive responsibility they carry, considering how large, heavy, and dangerous buses can be. Sadly, many drivers don’t take this responsibility seriously, and the result is always devastating. This is why it is so important for victims of negligent bus drivers to have the chance to recover compensation for their injuries.
After being involved in a serious bus accident, the next step you should take is to determine how much compensation you are owed for your damages. If you go into a claim with no amount in mind, then it’s easy for the at-fault party and their insurance to convince you to take a lower amount in compensation than you actually deserve. Calculating your damages isn’t just important for budgeting, but also for negotiations.
The first step to determining your settlement amount is to look over your economic damages. These include financial costs, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. To calculate the amount of compensation you are owed for these damages, you can gather up bills, receipts, and paystubs related to the accident and add the total together. After figuring out your economic damages, you can move on to non-economic damages. This category includes all losses you suffered that are not directly financial. You can claim compensation for emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and lowered quality of life. Compensation for these can be harder to calculate, as they do not come with receipts. The best you can do is speak with an attorney who can evaluate your case and determine how much you should, and will be, rewarded for your non-economic damages.
Bus accidents are not like car accidents. They are far more traumatic, and the damages resulting from them are far more severe. With a bus’s sheer size and weight, no matter what vehicle you are in during the collision, chances are high you will lose, and walk away far more injured than the bus driver. On top of that, it can be difficult for a person to know where to go to get the compensation they deserve. Which means that recovering damages can be a very difficult process.
If you have been involved in a serious bus accident, whether you were a passenger on the bus, another driver, or a pedestrian crossing the road, do not hesitate to call us at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. We are the Phoenix personal injury attorneys that have the experience you need in car and bus accidents. Don’t try to go it alone. Call us today at (602) 267-1280 for a free consultation.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer