Bus Accident Injuries: What You Need To Know
Anyone looking for a bus accident lawyer Hyattsville MD trusts may already know how much a public transportation accident can change your life. Buses are often thought of as safe transportation option and they can be very cost and fuel efficient. Nevertheless, when a traffic accident involves a bus — especially when it is carrying passengers — it is possible for many serious injuries to result.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 233 fatal crashes involving buses, and an additional 11,000 non-fatal crashes involving buses, during 2014. Bus accidents can refer to collisions that involve public transit buses, privately-owned buses, cross-country transit buses, and school buses. According to the latest statistics available, the majority of bus accidents involve either school buses or cross-country buses.
School bus accidents, in particular, can be very traumatic for all parties involved. Over the past 10 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school bus accidents accounted for 0.4% of all fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. Although this percentage may seem small, it translates to approximately 133 fatalities, on average, every year. The majority (71%) of these fatalities were occupants of other passenger vehicles — not occupants inside the bus — who were involved in the collision. Over one-fifth (21%) of victims were the occupants were pedestrians or bicyclists who were hit by a school bus.
Bus accidents themselves may not be as common as other types of auto accidents, but as an experienced bus accident lawyer Hyattsville MD can offer may attest, these accidents could potentially cause a great deal of harm.
Passengers on board a bus can experience severe injuries just like the occupants of other motor vehicles might experience. Some buses might provide more protection to passengers than others. Cross-country buses and school buses, for example, typically have enough seats for each passenger to be sitting while the bus is in motion; city transit buses, on the other hand, could potentially become overcrowded or require several passengers to remain standing while the bus is in motion. Passengers who are sitting could still sustain injuries to the head and neck, especially if they come into contact with another seat or another passenger during a crash. Passengers who are standing during a crash could potentially suffer from a multitude of injuries: everything from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries could be fair game in a particularly bad collision.
To make matters worse, as any bus accident lawyer Hyattsville MD might know, seatbelt laws might not apply for passengers on board a bus. Therefore, some buses may not require passengers to wear seatbelts and other buses might not even provide seatbelts.
When other vehicles are involved in a bus accident, the occupants of those vehicles could potentially suffer from devastating injuries. The average bus is substantially bigger and heavier than the average passenger car or SUV. If a bus collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the occupants in the other vehicle are more likely to sustain severe injuries from the impact of the crash.
Pursuing an Injury Settlement
It could be essential for an injured passenger to seek compensation for injuries caused by a bus accident, especially if these injuries require substantial medical care. Financial compensation could potentially account for:
When seeking financial damages after an accident, the claimant may be able to work with the liable party’s insurance provider in order to reach a settlement. However, claimants may wish to seek legal counsel from a top bus accident lawyer Hyattsville MD can provide if these discussions do not go well, if the claim is entirely refused, or if the claimant believes the settlement offer is not reasonable.
A good bus accident lawyer in Hyattsville MD will likely know that insurance companies are not always willing to provide fair settlements to individuals after bus accidents. In theory, insurance companies look out for their clients by providing financial damages after an accident; in practice, many insurance companies are primarily focused on making higher profits. By refuting liability or convincing a claimant that certain injuries will not be expensive to treat, an insurance provider may be able to negotiate a much lower settlement offer than the claimant really deserves. In some cases — especially when certain injuries could develop into long-term medical problems — a claimant might not know the full extent of his or her injuries and an insurer could take advantage of this.
Liability is not always easy to determine in bus accidents and this may be why injured passengers seek counsel from a bus accident lawyer Hyattsville MD trusts. The bus driver could potentially be liable for the accident, but it will likely be important for the claimant to prove that the driver was also blatantly negligent during the accident. The bus company (or another company that owns the bus) could potentially be held liable as well. When an accident involves a public transit bus, the state or city municipality operating the bus may be responsible; for a school bus accident, the school district might be involved.
There are several different parties that could potentially be held accountable for a bus accident, and a skilled bus accident lawyer Hyattsville MD can provide may know that liability in a bus accident could depend on several factors. Depending on how the accident happened, and depending on the injuries that an injured passenger sustained, it could even be possible to collect compensation from more than one party.
At Cohen and Cohen, P.C., we believe that it is essential for clients to feel comfortable and confident when working with our legal team. Our lawyers understand the complexities of bus accidents and we know that injured victims may be under a great deal of stress after an accident.
If you have suffered a serious injury because of a bus accident, or if a bus accident has led to the wrongful death of a loved one, a Hyattsville MD bus accident lawyer at Cohen and Cohen, P.C. may be able to help you through the process of filing a personal injury claim. To talk with a bus accident lawyer Hyattsville MD trusts about your case, call our Maryland office today at (301) 637-8381.