Mississippi Gulf Coast Bus Accident Lawyers
A bus accident can be a devastating event that leads to life-changing injuries and even death. Bus accidents are occurring with increasing frequency on America’s local streets and highways, making them a real safety concern for even non-bus riders.
In 2014 alone, there were 69,000 bus accidents in the U.S. and 281 fatalities. While a third of those fatalities (91) involved school bus accidents, the others were on commercial buses such as commuter buses and tour buses. Other accidents involve serious injury and property damage for which victims are left wondering where to seek just compensation.
Many accidents involving commercial buses involve driver error or even gross negligence. Just like an airline pilot, a bus driver is held to a higher standard of care because they are responsible for the safety of passengers in their vehicle. If a bus driver has a history of reckless driving or is careless on the road and an accident occurs, you may have a claim for personal injury or even wrongful death.
Common Reasons that Commercial Bus Accident Occur
A bus accident might occur on a commercial bus for several reasons. If you are on a cross-country bus with a driver that doesn’t know the area, have experience driving in inclement weather, or is overtired, the chances of a bus accident go up significantly. Some bus accidents also occur due to faulty equipment or a lack of proper maintenance. Other bus drivers are reckless in their driving, don’t follow the rules of the road, or even drive while under the influence. In some of these cases, the driver, the bus company, or more than one party could be at fault in a potential accident on the road.
Injuries Occurring Due to Commercial Bus Accidents
Not many buses today are equipped with safety belts and few people wear them even when they’re present. However, because a bus is such a big vehicle, injuries in an accident could range from minor sprains and strains to major head injuries or even death. In a serious bus accident where the vehicle rolls over, head trauma, organ damage, and death are more common.
Many injuries and fatalities from bus accidents also occur to passengers in other vehicles. If you were driving in your car and were struck by a commercial bus, it was probably a devastating crash. Not only is your car likely totaled, but you and your passengers have probably sustained some pretty serious injuries.
The same is true for pedestrians and cyclists. These often deadly accidents involving a bus and a pedestrian are heartbreaking. Buses sometimes fail to yield to pedestrians, even those walking in designated crosswalks. Not only are bus drivers and companies held financially responsible for these cases, but they often have criminal penalties as well.
Depending on the severity of the injury, medical care and hospitalization could be expensive and long-term. Long-term care for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) could reach as high as $5 to $15 million for a lifetime. Other injuries might require surgery, physical therapy, and medication management.
Determining Fault in a Bus Accident
In many cases, passengers in a bus aren’t paying attention to the road so really don’t know who is at fault in a bus accident. If the accident is with another vehicle or a pedestrian, the victim or witnesses may see obvious evidence of fault. Even if the driver is to blame and fault is clear, securing restitution for injury and damages isn’t always easy.
For example, sometimes more than one party is at fault in a bus accident, and everyone needs to be identified. Even if the driver was completely at fault, the bus company is responsible for that driver and could face liability. In some cases, the driver wasn’t at fault at all, and vehicle malfunction is to blame for a tragic accident. Here, a part manufacturer or the bus company who failed to maintain the vehicle could be liable.
Navigating Bus Company Insurance Company Representatives
If you are involved in a commercial bus accident in Mississippi, you may receive a quick response from the bus company and its insurance company to try to meet your needs. Be very careful with these experts who don’t have your best interests at heart.
The reality is that an insurance company represents the bus company and is in the business of saving it as much money as possible. They might deny your claim, stating that the bus company or driver weren’t at fault. Or, they might accept your claim and attempt to reach a quick settlement that is far below what your injury and suffering are worth.
In some cases, a bus company will be self-insured instead of having a commercial insurance policy. This is the same idea as an insured bus company with one difference. Since the money is coming directly out of their pockets, the claims person hired could be even more aggressive in trying to get you to settle your case and jeopardize your rights.
In either case, anytime you are involved in bus accident, you should speak to qualified Mississippi bus accident attorney as quickly as possible. An experienced bus accident lawyer can help protect your rights and deal with insurance company representatives on your behalf.
What to Do if You Are in a Bus Accident
Bus accidents are traumatic events that are unexpected and often results in serious injury and property damage. Your first priority should be to get needed medical treatment as soon as possible. Any delay could affect your health and jeopardize your case.
Next, you need to contact an experienced bus accident attorney in South Mississippi that will protect and fight for your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries and disability from the accident, including payment for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. When death occurs, the responsible parties could face a wrongful death case as well as face criminal charges.
The longer you wait to seek help from an experienced bus accident lawyer, the larger the advantage the other side could enjoy. Contact the Gardner Law Office to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss your case and explain how our services can help.