Buses provide an important service but their presence on the road creates unavoidable hazards. They are impossible for other drivers to see around, and their large blind spots mean bus operators might not see other drivers, bikers, or pedestrians. They are cumbersome to handle, and their weight makes them extremely dangerous in a collision.
If you have suffered an injury in an incident involving a bus, an experienced attorney could help you seek financial recourse from the responsible party. A Southampton bus accident lawyer could review your case and provide essential guidance moving forward.
Deadline to File a Claim After a Bus Wreck
In most cases, injured people in Pennsylvania have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. However, if a unit of government might have some legal responsibility for the incident, the timeframe for action is much shorter.
Local governments often have a role in most bus accident cases. If the vehicle were a city bus providing public transportation, a school bus ferrying children to public school, or any bus that was transporting people for a public purpose, a local government could have liability.
42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated § 5522 requires an injured person to file a notice of claim with a local government within six months of the incident that led to the injury. This notice must include the name and contact information of the physician who treated the claimant.
Failing to file this notice on time or filing a notice that does not meet the statutory requirements could defeat an injured person’s claim. It is critical that someone injured in a bus crash consult with a knowledgeable lawyer in Southampton as soon as possible to preserve any rights the injured person might have against a local government.
Documenting Negligence After a Bus Crash
When seeking damages, an injured person must prove that someone else’s negligence contributed to their injury. Negligence is an unreasonable lack of care that puts others at risk of harm.
A knowledgeable local attorney could immediately begin gathering evidence of bus driver negligence. The police report of the incident could provide important information, as could the statements of witnesses. Most newer buses have cameras that could provide crucial evidence, and many also have black box data recorders that might offer clues about what was happening immediately before the crash.
Depending on the circumstances, an advocate might seek other evidence including:
- Vehicle repair and maintenance records
- Driver’s cell phone records
- Driver’s personnel file
- Bus company’s training records
- Information about the functioning of traffic control devices
- Records of other vehicle accidents at the same location
If there is evidence that a bus company or its driver behaved negligently, the bus company could be liable for an injured person’s damages. Other potentially liable parties could include the bus maintenance company, the local government that contracted with the bus company, the local government responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred, other drivers, bus passengers, and the manufacturers of the vehicles.
Many accidents result from the combined negligence of several parties. When a Pennsylvania injury case goes to court, the judge or a jury allocates responsibility among the parties. A plaintiff who is more than 50 percent responsible cannot recover damages from any other parties. A plaintiff who holds 50 percent or less of the fault could collect reduced damages.
Bus companies and other defendants might try to pin an unfair proportion of the blame for an accident onto the plaintiff in an attempt to reduce their liability. A savvy Southampton attorney could combat these tactics by presenting clear evidence of the defendants’ negligence and showing it was the primary cause of the bus crash.
Work with a Capable Bus Crash Attorney
Bus accidents could cause severe injuries, and recovery could take a long time. However, time is of the essence when bringing a claim for damages, and it is important to get to work building a case immediately.
Schedule an appointment with a Southampton bus accident lawyer as soon as possible after the incident, even if you are not yet fully recovered. A strong case could result in a better monetary recovery, so call today.