Buses are an efficient and convenient way of transporting groups of people. However, some characteristics of buses put passengers at risk of injury if the bus gets into an accident. Occupants of smaller vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists face serious injury or death if they get involved in a bus crash.
A Pace bus accident lawyer represents people who suffer serious injuries and the families of people who died in bus collisions. With the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney, you could claim compensation from the people, company, or government responsible for the incident. A settlement or verdict could include reimbursement of your expenses and lost income, as well as money for your pain, suffering, scarring, disability, and all other impacts of the wreck.
Claims in bus accident cases are complicated. Florida is a no-fault state for vehicle accidents, so someone who suffers injuries must first submit the claim to their personal injury protection (PIP) insurer if they have it.
Anyone registering a motor vehicle in the state must have PIP insurance that protects the owner and their household members. Florida Statutes § 627.732(3) defines a motor vehicle, and it excludes buses owned or operated by a state agency, except school buses. If the bus is owned by a private operator or is a school bus, the operator must have PIP that covers uninsured passengers. However, if the state or a municipality owns the bus, it is not required to provide this protection.
PIP coverage limits are low, and injuries from bus accidents are often severe. Medical expenses can exhaust available PIP coverage quickly. Therefore, an injured person can bring a lawsuit against responsible parties if their insurance coverage is inadequate to cover their losses.
When someone (the plaintiff) brings a lawsuit seeking compensation for an injury, they must prove the responsible party (the defendant) was negligent. Negligence is not taking appropriate care to prevent an injury to someone else.
Buses are common carriers under the law and have an enhanced legal duty to protect passengers and others from harm. In most traffic accident cases, the negligence standard is that the defendant must exercise reasonable care, but if the defendant is a common carrier, they must exercise the utmost care.
A proactive Pace bus accident attorney could study accident reports and subpoena information from the bus company and others to determine whether the bus company and driver were fully compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. Any non-compliance or deviation from best practices could be evidence that the bus company did not exercise the utmost care and was negligent.
Bus companies are often defendants in cases arising from bus wrecks, but others could also bear responsibility. It is usually to a plaintiff’s advantage to bring as many potentially responsible parties as possible to the negotiating table.
Some transportation companies lease their fleet. If the bus operator does not own the bus, the owner could be an additional defendant. Many bus companies contract with repair shops to provide maintenance. If shoddy maintenance was a factor in the incident, the repair shop might have liability. Similarly, a manufacturer could be liable if a defective part contributed to the incident.
Other potential defendants include the drivers of other involved vehicles, bus passengers, and the local government responsible for maintaining roads at the place where the accident occurred. A committed bus crash lawyer in Pace could investigate any possible evidence of negligence to bring claims against every potentially responsible party.
Bus collisions can cause devastating injuries. If you have PIP insurance, it might not cover the full cost of medical treatment. If your injuries are severe or permanent, you will need to bring a personal injury claim to receive adequate compensation.
Contact a Pace bus accident lawyer as quickly as possible. Some claims are subject to a shortened timeframe, so prompt action is necessary. Call today to discuss your circumstances with a knowledgeable attorney.