Seattle Lawyers Answer Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accidents
Millions of American ride buses every day to work, to school, or to run errands. Many Americans also use buses to travel across country or take organized tours. But, what if you are injured while riding on a bus, or what if a loved one is killed in a bus accident? The following frequently asked questions should be able to provide some answers for you.
If you have more specific questions, or if you've been injured in a bus accident, contact a Seattle injury lawyer at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. for a free consultation. We have been successfully representing Seattle area accident victims for over four decades and would be honored to take on your case.
You can reach us at (888) 228-3860.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accidents
If I am a driver or passenger in vehicle involved in an accident with a bus, do I have grounds for a lawsuit?
If I, as a pedestrian or bicyclist, am hit by a bus, do I have grounds for a lawsuit and who can be held liable?
A: Yes. Buses are considered "common carriers." A common carrier can be defined as an entity who is in the business of transporting people or goods from one place to another for compensation. A common carrier has an "utmost duty of care" for its passengers. In other words, passengers are the bus company's clients or customers, making the bus company responsible for their safety.
A: That depends on who was at fault. If it was driver error that caused the accident, the bus driver and the company who hired them can be held liable. If you tripped and fell while on the bus, the bus company may be held liable. If another vehicle caused the accident, that driver can be held liable. If a road condition such as a pothole or crumbling pavement, or a broken traffic signal is the cause of the accident, the municipality in charge of maintaining those roads and signals could be held liable. If the accident occurs on a private driveway or access road that is not maintained by a municipality, the property owner can be held liable. If faulty design or manufacturing caused the accident, the company that made the bus can be held liable.
A: If you were robbed or assaulted while on the bus, the person or persons who accosted or attacked you could be held liable. The bus company or the city in charge of the transit system may also be held liable for not having adequate security. Remember, as a common carrier, the bus owners are responsible for your safety.
Q: If I am a driver or passenger in vehicle involved in an accident with a bus, do I have grounds for a lawsuit?
A: Once again, it depends on who's at fault. If the bus caused the accident, the bus driver and the bus company can be held liable. If a third party caused the accident, they would be held at fault.
Q: If I, as a pedestrian or bicyclist, am hit by a bus, do I have grounds for a lawsuit and who can be held liable?
A: Again, it all comes down to fault. If you were hit due to driver error or negligence, you absolutely have grounds for a law suit against the bus driver and the company that hired him. However, Washington is a comparative, or contributory, fault state, meaning that the percentage of damages you can claim can be reduced by your level of fault. Suppose you, as a pedestrian, were struck by a bus while in the crosswalk, while you were crossing against the light (not obeying the traffic signal). As a pedestrian, you always have the right of way, so the bus driver could be partially at fault for the accident. But, you were acting carelessly by not obeying the traffic signal, so you share a percentage of fault for the accident. The courts may rule that the bus driver was 60 percent responsible for the accident and you were 40 percent responsible for the accident. In that case, you could only recover 60 percent of your total damages.
A: That depends on your injuries and what degree of fault you had in the accident. Possible damages could include any of the following:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills resulting from the original injury (such as skin grafts, plastic surgeries, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Costs of household and vehicle modifications (such as wheelchair ramps and lifts, etc.)
- Loss of a limb
- Property damage and loss
- Lost wages from missed work
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Permanent injury or disability
- Punitive damages
- Hedonic damages (loss of joy of life)
A: In the unfortunate case that you've lost a loved in a bus accident, you may sue the negligent party for any of the following wrongful death damages:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before they died
- Mental anguish and emotional duress
- Loss of future wages
- Loss of future benefits (such as medical benefits and retirement benefits)
- Loss of love, affection, companionship, guidance, marital consortium, etc.
- Loss of household tasks that the deceased used to perform (such as childcare, property and vehicle maintenance, repairs, and other chores, etc.)
A: Buses are owned and operated by school districts, private corporations, or municipalities. Any time you seek legal action against a company or government entity, it is vital that your claim be represented by an experienced Seattle bus accident attorney.
More Questions? Ask Us
Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has served Washington state injury victims for over 40 years. During that time, we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today for a free consultation.
Dial (888) 228-3860 to begin your recovery and reclaim your life. Se habla español.
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