Due to their increased size and weight, any collision with a bus and a passenger vehicle can have catastrophic consequences for you and for everyone else involved. Serious injuries and personal losses are not uncommon when vehicles as large as commercial and municipal buses crash, especially when the incident occurs at highway speeds.
If were hurt because of a bus driver or company’s negligence, you may want to talk to a Montgomery County bus accident lawyer about recovery options. A seasoned local injury attorney could help you construct a comprehensive civil case and seek restitution for all your recoverable damages.
Recovering Available Losses After a Bus Wreck
In order to have valid grounds for a case, at least one of the damages suffered by someone involved in a bus crash must take the form of a physical injury that required medical attention. Accordingly, most bus accident claims focus first on recovering for medical bills the plaintiff had to pay for catastrophic injuries sustained in their accident, as well as other economic losses like missed income from work, loss of earning capacity in the future, and damage to personal property.
However, a Montgomery County bus crash attorney could also pursue compensation on a plaintiff’s behalf for non-economic damages, which are those that cannot be quantified with an objective dollar value. Depending on the circumstances, non-economic losses stemming from a bus wreck may include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life due to a long-term or permanent injury, disability, or disfigurement.
Holding Various Parties Liable for a Bus Crash
Many bus accident claims are based on the same theory of negligence that applies to most other auto accident cases. Under this theory, a person may be liable to pay for someone else’s damages if they violated a duty of care they owed that other person and, in doing so, caused a collision to occur that directly resulted in compensable losses.
However, a bus driver who drove drunk, violated traffic laws, or fell asleep at the wheel is not the only defendant a bus wreck lawyer in Montgomery County could potentially hold responsible for a crash. Depending on the circumstances, the company that hired the bus driver may bear some liability for the actions of their employee under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Likewise, a mechanic or garage that failed to install a part on a bus correctly could bear liability if the failure of that component directly caused the crash.
Additionally, municipal authorities are not immune from liability for bus accident injuries, under the Pennsylvania Sovereign Immunity Act. In the event that a government employee causes an accident while on the clock, the entity that employed them may be liable for resulting damages.
What If Another Driver Causes a Bus Wreck?
In addition to bus driver, bus companies, mechanics, and municipal authorities, third-party commuter vehicle drivers may bear liability for a bus accident under certain circumstances. For example, if someone runs a red light and crashes into the side of a bus whose operator was acting reasonably and safely, fault for ensuing injuries and losses would fall to the negligent third-party driver, not the bus driver or anyone else affiliated with that common carrier.
In this kind of situation, Pennsylvania’s no-fault car insurance system may come into play, which in many situations limits the right of personal injury claimants to file lawsuits over auto accidents before pursuing compensation through their own car insurance first. A qualified Montgomery County bus wreck attorney could explain how this system works in further detail if it applies to a particular claim.
Does Comparative Fault Ever Play a Role in Bus Crash Claims?
While it is rare for someone injured in a bus crash to be found partially to blame for causing their own injuries, comparative negligence does occasionally impact recovery in these kinds of cases. For instance, if a bus driver stops too suddenly and causes a standing passenger who was not holding onto a handrail to fall and get hurt, that passenger may be found somewhat at fault for their ensuing damages, even though the bus driver is primarily to blame for the accident as a whole.
If a plaintiff is found to bear a percentage of fault for their injuries, 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §7102 allows the court hearing their case to reduce the final damage award proportionately based on that percentage. Assistance from qualified legal representation in the area is often key to effectively contesting allegations of comparative fault in a bus wreck claim.
How Long Does a Bus Accident Victim Have to File Suit?
Under 42 PA Con. Stat. §5524, anyone who suffers a personal injury due to another party’s negligence has only two years in which to get their case started. If an individual injured in a bus crash waits longer than two years to take legal action, their case will almost certainly be time-barred, meaning that recovering compensation will be impossible.
Speak with a Montgomery County Bus Accident Attorney Today
Determining who is at-fault for a bus crash is often complicated, often due to the various parties who may bear partial or total liability for this incident. On top of that, even if you can effectively demonstrate liability, it can be challenging for someone unfamiliar with civil litigation to successfully identify all their damages and pursue compensation all of them.
Fortunately, help is available from a knowledgeable Montgomery County bus accident lawyer. Call today to schedule an initial consultation and find out how a seasoned legal professional could help you with your claim.