Seattle Bus Accident Lawyers
Legal Representation for Bus Collision Victims
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a Washington bus crash, it's vital that you take immediate legal action. The clock starts ticking on the date of the injury or death, and the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim in Washington state is only three years. Failure to file a claim in a timely manner can result in the loss of compensation that you and your family may be entitled to. To file a successful personal injury or wrongful death claim, it is important to seek the representation of a skilled and experienced attorney.
Bus accidents are complicated. Get help from a top Seattle accident lawyer at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today!
The Washington injury attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. have been successfully representing Seattle area injury victims and their families for over four decades. Our experience gives us an edge when go up against powerful transit corporations and insurance companies. Bus accidents are complicated. Get help from a top Seattle accident lawyer at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today.
To schedule a free one on one consultation with a skilled member of our team, dial (888) 228-3860 today.
Who Is Liable in a Washington Bus Accident?
Determining fault in a bus accident can be extremely complicated and there can be multiple contributing parties. A knowledgeable attorney can investigate the accident and identify the liable party, which could include any of the following:
- The bus driver: It's common to want to blame the driver – any driver – when an accident has occurred. And it's true. Often when there's an accident on the road, the driver is at fault, and this is no different with buses. Bus drivers are not immune to driver errors while operating a vehicle and so, if the accident was caused by an improper lane change or because the bus was following someone too closely and rear-ended them, the driver of the bus would be to blame for the accident.
It might seem to many, that when the bus driver is at fault, it's a fairly straightforward case. But unlike other drivers on the road, the bus driver is not operating his or her own vehicle, and don't actually have their own personal insurance for that vehicle – in this case, the bus. Instead, the public bus company will most likely have their own insurance. In the case of Washington State, those companies are the Washington State Transit Association and/or the Washington State Department of Transportation. This can make things even more complicated when it's time to file a claim, as filing an accident claim against a government entity can be much more complicated than filing a claim against an individual with their own insurance policy.
- The bus company: The Washington State Transit Association and Washington State Department of Transportation are not the only companies that run buses. You could have also been hurt by a school bus, a charter bus, or a tour bus and in all these cases (including government buses), the bus company could be at fault. Bus companies have a certain duty of care they are responsible for, in order to ensure that their buses are safe for all passengers. If the bus wasn’t loaded properly, if it’s overloaded with passengers and their luggage, or if it’s been improperly maintained and cared for, these are all conditions that could eventually cause an accident while the bus is on the road, and the bus company is certainly responsible for them.
Even in some cases of driver error, it can be proven that the bus company was ultimately at fault. If they haven’t properly vetted their drivers, or if they hire a driver they know is incapable or that they have a history of drunk and/or alcohol abuse, they can be held responsible for not taking proper care to ensure the safety of their passengers. Bus companies typically have insurance that covers all of the passengers on the bus, and if the bus company is proven to be at fault, it is most likely this insurance that will protect you and get you the compensation you deserve.
- A negligent driver: Of course, sometimes it’s just a matter of the bus being in the wrong place at the wrong time and it’s neither the fault of the bus driver or the bus company but rather, the fault of another driver. In these cases, the bus might have partial insurance that will protect all of the passengers on-board, but the driver of the other car will also have their own insurance that will cover most of the expenses and compensation.
- The bus manufacturer: And then again, everyone can do everything they’re supposed to do out on the roads, and something still happens to cause an accident. Maybe a tire tears and flies off the bus, or perhaps the brakes weren’t properly installed and they fail, causing an accident. When something physically happens with the bus, and it’s because the bus manufacturer did not properly install or manufacture the bus and/or its parts, the bus manufacturer can be to blame. This is another area that can be problematic for the victims, as bus companies are typically very large organizations with very large teams of lawyers that know how to fight and get out of paying compensation in court.
Responsibility of the Bus Company
All mass carriers such as bus companies have a legal obligation to provide the utmost duty of care to their passengers. This responsibility includes providing adequate compensation for medical bills and other related losses. Bus companies often try to save money by denying injury claims and by offering quick, small settlements to make the claims go away. If you have suffered a serious injury or have been offered an inadequate settlement, it may be in your best interest to contact a Washington injury attorney right away.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Washington Bus Accident Claims?
Under Wash. Rev. Code Ann. section 4.16.080, bus accident victims may legally pursue a personal injury claim against the responsible party or parties within three years of the date of the accident or the discovery of injuries related to the accident. Failing to file before the deadline will result in a forfeiture of rights. In the unfortunate event that an immediate family member, such as a spouse, child or parent, was killed in a bus accident, the statute of limitations is also three years.
What Kind of Damages Can Be Claimed After a Bus Accident?
A passenger injured in a bus accident may be entitled to compensation for any of the following damages:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills related to the initial injury
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma and emotional duress
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Home and vehicle modifications (such as wheelchair ramps and lifts)
- Permanent injury or disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages
In a wrongful death lawsuit, compensation for the following damages can be claimed:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before they died
- Loss of future benefits (such as medical benefits and retirement)
- Mental anguish and emotional duress
- Loss of love, affection, companionship, guidance, marital consortium, etc.
- Loss of household duties the deceased performed (such as childcare, property maintenance, vehicle maintenance, repairs, chores, etc.)
Obtaining Justice for Bus Accident Victims in Washington
If you have been injured or lost a family member in a Seattle bus accident, you have options. And you don't need face the battle for rightful compensation alone. The legal team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. will put our decades of experience to use on your behalf to help you get the settlement you deserve. We will fight tirelessly to protect your best interests while you and your family focus on healing.
Do not hesitate to call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today at (888) 228-3860 for a free one on one consultation with a Seattle auto accident lawyer.
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