Hundreds of buses transport passengers to, from, across, and through Pennsylvania on a daily basis, whether through municipal bus networks or private companies. The driver of any type of bus is expected to act reasonably at all times to protect the safety of passengers and others on the road. Any failure to comply could serve as grounds for a civil lawsuit.
Every year, bus accidents cause hundreds of fatalities and severe injuries. Many of these collisions were tragically caused by negligent bus drivers. This could be the result of negligent driving, such as neglecting to yield to cars, pedestrians, or bicycles, as well as other traffic violations. In some instances, the vehicles lacked adequate maintenance or safety harnesses and seat belts.
Accidents involving buses are unique and require special handling. If you have been injured in an accident, you need a Pennsylvania bus accident lawyer's extensive knowledge. What you do after a PA bus accident is crucial.
This article will discuss the steps that you should take so that you are able to get the compensation that you are entitled to.
What to Do After a Bus Accident Occurs in Pennsylvania
Regardless of a bus driver's level of experience, anything can happen. This is why they're known as accidents, and they occur daily. You must be prepared in the event of a catastrophe, particularly if you or someone else is injured. Knowing what to do in the event of a bus accident will allow you to move forward.
- Receive Proper Medical Attention - After any accident, but especially a bus accident, your primary concern should be your well-being and physical health. Allow a physician to examine and treat you as soon as possible. Consider that some injuries may manifest symptoms hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. Your doctor should be able to determine if you have internal injuries, and you should request medical records from him or her before filing a claim.
- Report the Incident to the Police - In the event of a bus accident, it is strongly advised that you contact the police promptly. It is necessary to report any accident in order to avoid potential legal issues, and it is also beneficial to document the accident for use in a bus accident claim. In the event of an accident, bus drivers are required to notify the police. However, you should do so as well, and if you do so, you should provide specific details to the officer at the scene without admitting fault.
- Gather all Information and Evidence - After being involved in a bus accident, it is imperative that you gather as much information and evidence as feasible. This information can be used as evidence if you pursue compensation in the future. Photography is essential for providing evidence in your case. Taking photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage will be of great support. Obtaining the contact information of everyone involved, including witnesses, is also essential.
Bus Accident Liability in Pennsylvania
The entity that owns and operates the bus, and in some cases, the driver, are liable for an accident involving a bus. All bus operators are required by law to operate their vehicles safely, which includes driver safety on the road, proper vehicle maintenance, and background checks for drivers. A bus operator can be held at fault for an accident if they breach their duty of care to operate the vehicle safely. Similarly, if a bus driver operated the vehicle in a negligent manner, he or she could be found at fault and held responsible. Adding to the complexity, multiple parties may share responsibility.
Bus Accident Claims in Pennsylvania
If you were injured in a bus accident owned and/or operated by a government entity, you should consult with an experienced PA personal injury attorney familiar with pursuing claims against the government.
To file a claim against a commercial company or driver, you must establish that negligence occurred on their part. Reasons for negligence may include the driver's actions, such as speeding or driver fatigue. If the bus was not maintained adequately, if safety standards were not met, or if other reasonable safety protocols were not followed, the commercial entity could be found negligent.
Compensation for Damages After a PA Bus Accident
You may include both economic and non-economic losses in your settlement demand or lawsuit, barring the compensation caps for public bus accident cases. Typical recoverable losses in a claim include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost work income/wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life’s pleasures
- Personal property damage
An experienced PA bus accident lawyer will provide more information on the types of compensation you may be able to recover following a bus accident.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
You have the right to file a lawsuit when a private bus driver's or bus company's negligence directly causes an accident that causes you harm. 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 5524 establishes a two-year statute of limitations for initiating a lawsuit.
If the defendant is a government employee or the municipal transit authority that employs them, your case may be more complicated. In accordance with 42 PA Con. Stat. §5522, anyone who intends to sue a government agency for a personal injury must notify that entity in writing within six months of the date of the injury; therefore, you have a much shorter window of time to initiate the litigation process than under the PA statute of limitations.
Let Brandon J. Broderick's Attorneys for Bus Accidents Assist You in Moving Forward
The assistance of a Pennsylvania bus accident attorney is not required in order to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit, but it would be beneficial to do so in this circumstance.
There may be rules and complex laws that you do not know or understand, so having a legal professional can be extremely beneficial. There are important filing deadlines to consider. In addition, if you do not have legal representation, the insurance company covering the bus driver may attempt to offer you less compensation, taking advantage of your lack of experience. Keep in mind that even a minor bus accident may result in severe consequences, expensive medical expenses, and lengthy recuperation periods.
Consult with a PA personal injury lawyer, such as Brandon J. Broderick, to avoid making similar mistakes or receiving less compensation. You can focus on your recovery with the knowledge that an experienced attorney is handling your case. Contact us now for a complimentary consultation. We look forward to helping you.