When you sustain injuries following a bus accident, one of your many questions would be whether you will get compensated for your damages. The damages one sustains differ from one victim to another, even their severity. Regardless, losses suffered in a bus collision get compensated, but the process of seeking claims can be complicated. The bus owner or insurance provider will aggressively defend themselves against an accident to avoid paying for the damages. This complexity makes it necessary to engage a lawyer experienced in bus accident claims to pursue your damages as you recover from your injuries. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have helped many of our clients get their rightful compensation from bus accidents.
Overview of Bus Accidents
A bus is a common carrier in Nevada, and as such, it is held in high regard with passenger safety. A person can get injured in a collision involving a bus in various ways, these are:
- When the bus you are on collides into another vehicle or crashes
- When you get hit by the bus as you stand at a bus stop waiting for a bus
- When a coach hits your car as you share the road
- When the bus driver applies sudden brakes that results in you getting thrown out of your seat and hitting yourself against the body of the bus
- As you alight from the bus or as you board, the driver is in a hurry to move and accelerates while not securely onboard or off the bus
Regardless of how the accident happened, you have grounds to claim damages from the at-fault party. Theoretically, accident claims should be straightforward and easy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Filling a claim following a bus crash can be faced with many challenges.
Establishing the real cause of the accident is one of the crucial steps in winning your claim. For instance, if the bus driver hit a pothole and, as a result, you hit your head against a seat, or the bus crashed, it is not the driver’s fault or the bus owner’s fault. When you seek damages from the wrong party, you are likely to lose and end up with no costs paid.
Establishing Fault in a Bus Accident is Essential in Winning your Case
As mentioned, you must seek your damages from the right party to get compensated. Knowing the actual cause of the accident helps in determining the party responsible for the accident. Bus accidents can be due to many reasons. Some of the common causes of accidents include:
Bus drivers are often on the road for long hours resulting in them getting fatigued. Others will ask for extra shifts to make more money, neglecting the need to rest. As a result, the driver will not react appropriately when faced by an emergency on the road, resulting in an accident. Other times, the driver can fall asleep on the wheel, causing an accident. If an accident causing injuries happens due to driver’s fatigue, then he or she is responsible for the damages.
If you notice the driver displaying signs of fatigue even when the accident has not happened, you can take a video or pictures and raise a complaint with the bus company. When an accident occurs, these pictures and video recordings will help win your claim.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Not every accident is due to the negligence of the bus driver. The city or county is responsible for maintaining the roads and ensuring damages are repaired on time. If a bus hits a pothole, it will cause passengers to hit against the seats or other parts of the bus. This would cause injuries, some being substantial. A coach can also crash when the driver loses control over it due to the impact with the pothole.
When this happens, it is not the bus company or driver at fault but the government entity responsible for maintaining the roads. In such a case, seeking damages from the bus company or their insurance provider will get you nothing. Establishing the at-fault party is essential in getting your costs awarded. In this case, to win your damages, you must seek them from the government agency responsible for maintaining the road.
Bus drivers can be negligent on the roads resulting in an accident. When a driver runs a red light or fails to yield way, these are some of the negligent behaviors that can result in an accident. When an accident happens due to the driver’s negligence, you must prove negligence with their insurance provider to win damages.
Because of the nature of work a bus is involved in, it needs regular maintenance. The bus company must ensure it is regularly maintained and parts changed as required or guided by the law. Some bus companies want to save money by avoiding regular maintenance of their buses. If this is the case, the bus company will be held responsible for an accident due to neglecting to maintain the bus.
Other times, a bus company may be diligent in ensuring their buses are well maintained, but the auto shop is found negligent in their servicing. This means an auto shop can also be responsible for damages in a bus crash.
Bus manufacturers or part manufacturers can also be held accountable for damages sustained following a bus accident. If the manufacturer released a faulty bus or part, and it is responsible for the accident, the manufacturer is held accountable for the damages.
A bus uses the same road as other motorists. The recklessness of other road users can result in a bus crash, causing damages. When another motorist is responsible for the bus accident, the bus company or its insurance will not pay for the costs.
Establishing fault in a bus accident is crucial in knowing the right party to seek damages from. If you want to win your case for damages, the first thing is to ensure you are seeking damages from the right party. Based on the various causes of bus accidents, as discussed above, multiple entities are responsible for paying costs.
Establishing fault is not as easy as one would assume. Every party that may be held accountable will try to apportion blame to another party to avoid paying damages. This makes it essential to hire a lawyer that understands bus accidents and the laws therein. Your lawyer, with the experience of bus accidents, knows how to establish fault in the accident and ensure you seek claims from the right party.
Can You Win Damages if You are Partially to Blame?
Yes, you can. As earlier stated, not all accidents are a result of the driver’s negligence. An accident victim can share fault for the accident. For instance, if you are a pedestrian and cross at the wrong place or were walking on the road instead of the sidewalk, among other reasons, you can get partially blamed for the crash. This, however, does not mean you can’t win damages.
Nevada uses the comparative negligence law where more than one party is to blame for the accident. Unfortunately, in Nevada, for you to win damages against the other party at fault, their share of responsibility must be higher than yours. This means the other party responsible for the accident will try their best to blame you for the accident to avoid paying for the damages. This makes it even more important to have a lawyer represent you through this process.
The comparative negligence law in Nevada comes with a twist. Compared to pure comparative negligence, apportioning of blame is shared in any way as long as it totals to 100%. For instance, if another motorist involved in an accident with the bus is found to be 80% responsible, he or she will get their 20% in damages.
In Nevada, however, NRS 41.141 provides for the revised comparative negligence rule. If you are seeking damages from the bus company or their insurers, they may enter comparative negligence as a defense. This means to win losses, you must present sufficient evidence that the other party was at fault at least 50% or more. This means, even when there are multiple defendants to the case if their combined responsibility for the accident must be over 50% for you to win damages.
If you are, however, found to have been responsible for the crash with over 50%, irrespective of how significant the injuries are or damages, you will receive nothing in compensation. For this reason, your lawyer must ensure you have sufficient evidence to convince the jury that the other party was more responsible for the crash than you.
If the jury gets convinced that you are entitled to compensation, they will come back with two verdicts. These are:
- A usual determination indicating the damages awarded to you without considering your fault and
- A more specific verdict, showing the negligence percentage apportioned to each entity
Provided your fault is found to be below 50%, your damages will get reduced to your fault level. For instance, you got involved in a bus accident that resulted in you suffering losses worth $100,000. You sue the bus company for the damages incurred, but they enter comparative negligence as their defense. In this case, your lawyer must convince the jury that you deserve to get awarded damages by showing the other party was responsible for the accident.
If the jury is convinced and you are found to be 25% responsible for the damages, the bus company will get ordered to pay you $75,000 instead of the full amount of $100,000.
However, if the jury finds that you were 75% responsible for the accident, you will receive nothing in damages according to the comparative negligence rule in Nevada.
Although this may seem simple, many complexities may arise as a result of a bus accident that can cost you your damages. If you want to avoid losing your losses, you must ensure to be careful on the road and follow the laid down traffic laws. You must also ensure to have all the necessary evidence that will help you win your case.
What You Need to do Following a Bus Accident to Win your Case
When you get involved in a bus accident, the damages you suffer can be substantial, especially to your finances. Some bus accidents can result in death, while others can lead to life-long injuries needing extended treatment. When you experience such injuries, and your damage claim is denied, it is devastating to you and your family. For this reason, you must ensure your case is supported with sufficient evidence to avoid this.
What you do immediately following the accident is crucial to the success of your claim. Some of the essential steps you need to take when in a bus accident are:
- If you are a passenger on the bus, you must inform the driver of your injuries as soon as you experience them. The bus company must write a report of the accident that is useful when seeking claims. You must ask to get the details of the bus company, the bus driver, and those of their insurance provider. These are crucial in showing you were on the bus, and the accident occurred involving the particular bus.
- On the bus, there are many passengers. Find one or two that can be a witness for your case. Get their details and establish if they would be available to testify on your behalf if called to. Additionally, ask them for a written and signed statement supporting their testimony.
- The bus driver must report the accident to the police. If they are, however, injured that they cannot make a call, you can report the accident and wait for emergency rescue and police at the scene.
- If you are a motorist involved in an accident with a bus, you must also take measures that will ensure you win your damages. The first thing is to see if you are injured and move to safety. Exchange your details and insurance details with the bus driver. The bus driver must also share the details of their employer with you. Taking photos of the accident scene from various angles is crucial. These angles help the accident reconstruction experts determine who was at fault for the accident.
- As you wait for the police, take pictures where possible of the accident and the inside of the bus. Photos of your injuries are also important and of the other passengers on the bus. If another external cause contributed to the accident, get the pictures too. For instance, if the bus hit a pothole, take photos of the surroundings and the pothole. This is essential evidence when you need to get your damages from the government agency responsible for the roads.
- The next important step is to seek medical attention for your injuries. Your health and safety are the most crucial. Get to a hospital immediately and find treatment for your injuries. Your doctor, upon treating you must issue a comprehensive report of your injuries and the treatment you receive. If there are medical procedures such as surgeries or CT scans carried out, they must all be included in the report. If your doctor finds that you need extended treatment, this, too, must be included in the report.
- One of the damages you stand to recover is the cost of repairing your vehicle. If your car got damaged as a result of a bus crashing into you, you must present evidence of the damages and the cost of repairs. The auto shop where you take your vehicle must give a comprehensive report of the damages to your car and the repairs done. If some parts were changed, they must be included as well as their cost.
- When involved in a road accident, you will need some days to recover from the injuries. This will mean you will miss work and the income for the days not worked. Fortunately, you are entitled to damages due to lost revenue. However, to win these damages, you must provide evidence that you missed work due to the injuries. A doctor’s report to your employer asking for sick off days and a statement from your employer is crucial. Your employer must issue a letter indicating that you are an employee and the money you make. The letter must state the days you have missed work and how much you lost in income for the days not worked.
- A police report is also crucial in winning your claim. As your lawyer attaches the other necessary documents for your application, the police report is essential. The police report typically consists of their findings at the accident scene, the reason for the accident, photos of the scene, and details of the parties involved. This is crucial because some people may lie they were in the accident when they were not to take advantage of the situation. A police report is a credible piece of evidence in supporting your claim and will help you win it.
- One of the advantages of hiring a lawyer is that they work with accident reconstruction experts. These experts are trained in helping determine fault in an accident. An independent report by the experts is crucial in winning your case. The experts will demonstrate how the accident happened and who is to blame for it. This will enable the insurance company to make an informed decision or the jury to decide on the party responsible, especially when comparative negligence law is used.
Statute of Limitations
This refers to the time an accident victim has to file a lawsuit or a claim for the damages. This is crucial to winning your case. If the time awarded lapses, it would mean that you cannot seek damages, and in that case, you lose. In Nevada, an accident victim has two years in which to seek damages following a bus accident.
If you fail to file a lawsuit or settle your claim in two years from the date of the accident, you will lose the opportunity of getting compensated for the damages. Your lawyer in understanding how crucial the time limit is will ensure your claims are filed in good time with the insurance company. If the insurance provider disputes the claim or denies it, your lawyer will have sufficient time to file a lawsuit seeking damages.
Available Damages when you Win in a Bus Accident
When involved in a bus accident in Nevada, you are entitled to receive damages from the party responsible for the costs. The state allows an accident victim to receive both economic and noneconomic losses. However, to win your case and get the resulting damages awarded, you must adhere to the guidelines shared above. Below, we discuss the various losses you stand to recover when you win your case.
These are the damages that are supported by evidence of how much they cost. Some of the damages under this are:
- Medical expenses – when you get injured in a bus accident, you will need to get treated for the injuries. The cost of medication and treatment is usually supported by receipts and doctor’s reports. You are entitled to receive compensation for all the costs associated with getting your injuries treated that include any surgical procedures and costs of medicine.
- Lost income – during the period you are recovering from your injuries, you may be required to miss work. This will result in your losing revenue for the days taken to heal from the injuries. This type of loss, as earlier stated, is supported by evidence from your employer. When you win your case, you also get compensated for the lost income.
- Property damages – when involved in an accident with a bus, the likely property to get damaged is your car. The cost of repairing your vehicle is also compensated in Nevada once you win your case.
These are the losses a victim or their family suffers as a result of the accident but are not quantifiable. These damages are often disputed because they are hefty and have no documents supporting them. Some of the ones you will recover when you win your case include:
- Pain and Suffering – the injuries you sustain will cause you pain and discomfort. Although there is no precise figure that is suitable for all, damages, in this case, are decided on a case by case basis.
- Wrongful death – a bus accident can result in the death of a victim. The value of the victim’s life may not be quantifiable but qualifies for compensation following the accident.
- Lost limb – no amount of money can replace a lost body part. However, its loss qualifies for compensation. This is not guided, and the damages awarded will vary from one case to another.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
When involved in a bus accident, the frustrations from the injuries are enough pain without adding the possibility of losing your compensation case. A small mistake or a technicality can cost you your claim, making the situation worse. If the insurance company or the party at fault denies your request, your lawyer must file a lawsuit seeking damages. Winning your case is essential in ensuring your losses get paid. For this, you need a skilled lawyer from the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm to pursue the claim for you. Call us at 702-996-1224, and let us seek these damages for you.