Tacoma Bus Accident Attorneys
Tacoma has a vibrant public transportation system that allows residents and visitors to easily get around the city as well to Seattle, Renton, Kent, and beyond. In addition, city streets host everything from scenic Greyhound buses that cross the entire West Coast to lively party buses. These large, high-powered vehicles are invaluable to helping Tacoma residents get around, however, that does not mean they are 100% safe. Bus drivers are just as prone to driver negligence as anyone else, and the large blind spots mean they have to be fully aware when on the road. Otherwise, they can cause a catastrophic bus accident.
If you or someone you loved were injured in a collision with a bus, you may be able to pursue compensation in an auto accident claim. In order to ensure not a single cent is left out of your claim, you should reach out to the Tacoma bus accident attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. We offer every potential client a free initial consultation to discuss their case and, if we take you on as a client, we can aggressively pursue all forms of compensation on your behalf. To learn what options are available after a bus accident, contact us at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860.
Large buses require the driver to constantly have full control over the vehicle and to be keenly aware of their surroundings. These vehicles have extensive blind spots where other drivers, bicyclists, and motorcyclists can be effectively invisible to the driver. If they do not check their blind spots, allow other vehicles the time to pass them, or change lanes without using their blinkers, they can cause serious trauma in a sideswipe accident.
In addition to their length, the size and weight of the bus play a major factor in a collision. Like accidents involving trucks, these vehicles need a significant amount of time to brake properly and come to a complete stop. If a driver fails to do so, they can easily rear-end a car in front of them and, if the vehicle is smaller than the bus, the occupants can suffer severe injuries. Even minor collisions that could amount to a fender-bender with a passenger vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries to pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.
Another major issue with buses is their tendency to rollover. A bus’s engine is raised up higher than most passenger vehicles. This means that during a collision the bus can tip to either side, leading to a rollover. Rollovers are horrifying events that can injure multiple drivers as the bus collapses on top of them or slides across several lanes of traffic.
But other drivers are not the only ones at risk. Bus passengers expect to get to and from their destinations safely and, during a collision, they can often be knocked around the vehicle’s interior. However, these accidents are often very different for bus occupants. While passenger vehicle occupants have seatbelts to protect them, bus passengers do not, as the vehicle and seating are designed to absorb the majority of the force involved in a crash. You may assume that seatbelts would make buses safer, however, research has shown that in large buses like school buses, bus occupants often do not need them to avoid serious injuries in a collision, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
That being said, in a rollover collision, T-bone accident, or even rear-end, it is still possible for bus occupants to suffer serious injuries that require medical attention. Depending on the injuries sustained, the accident could cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. How then can they recover compensation?
If a bus accident was caused by a negligent individual, then any victims may be able to pursue an auto accident claim against that person. While most people may assume this means the bus driver, other drivers can also be found at fault for a collision. In addition, the city of Tacoma may also be at fault if the city failed to properly attend to a safety hazard, such as a pothole, missing traffic signs, or faulty stoplights.
When evaluating these cases, it is important to understand that there may be two types of claims that you can file: an auto accident claim against a private driver or a government tort claim against a government agency.
The first can involve a claim against a passenger vehicle driver, truck driver, or the bus driver of a private bus like a:
- Long-distance motorcoach, such as Greyhound
- Tour bus
- Church bus
- Party bus
- Airport shuttle bus
- Charter bus
Auto accident claims against private drivers are often filed against the driver’s auto insurance policy and will mean contending with an insurance adjuster who will want to pay you as little possible. However, with the right attorney, you may be able to collect enough evidence to hold the driver accountable and achieve proper compensation.
In contrast, a public bus driver could work for:
- Pierce Transit
- Sound Transit
- Metro Transit
- Tacoma Public School District
When filing a tort claim, you are effectively filing a personal injury claim with the local or state government. Traditionally government agencies are protected from claims through sovereign immunity, but the Revised Code of Washington section 4.92.100 allows accident victims to hold government workers and agencies liable if they committed negligence while performing their job. This means that if a bus driver acted negligently, you may file a claim for damages. Similar to claims against private companies, you have three years to file a claim, but you must go through proper procedures with the specific agency. This process can become rather complicated, so you will want to have your case reviewed by an attorney before taking any action against the government.
It is important to note that bus occupants can file claims against private drivers and public bus drivers. Passengers are often found innocent of any fault in an auto accident claim, as they lack any control over the vehicles involved, and can pursue a claim against all at-fault parties.
Bus accident claims require an in-depth investigation into the exact cause of the accident, all available liability policies, and your own medical injuries. Because of how devastating these accidents often are, insurance agencies are resistant to paying out full compensation to injured parties, meaning they will try to devalue your injuries or leave things out of a settlement offer. Contacting an experienced Tacoma car accident attorney may be your best bet at recovering enough money to cover the costs of your injuries, as well as any pain and suffering and lost wages you were deprived of because of the accident.
The team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., has over 40 years of experience and knows auto accident claims inside and out. When we take on a case, we review every detail to ensure not a single dime is left out of your claim and that all evidence is accounted for. To receive the best legal aid in Tacoma, contact us at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860.
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