Driving a car is one of the most dangerous things you can do, more dangerous than things that tend to cause people more worry, such as traveling by plane or boat. It stands to reason, then, that by riding in a bus instead of driving your own car, you are avoiding some of the risks associated with car travel. For one thing, a bus is a bigger and sturdier vehicle than a car. For another, the only people who can legally drive buses are professional drivers who hold commercial driver’s licenses. Therefore, you can be sure that you can trust the driver not to make rookie mistakes. Despite this, bus accidents happen, and they can result in multiple people suffering serious injuries. When someone gets injured in a bus accident, it is usually possible to get enough money to cover the accident-related medical bills without filing a lawsuit or going to court. To find out more about getting the money you need after a bus accident, contact a Riverdale bus accident lawyer.
What Can Go Wrong on a Bus Ride?
The most common types of bus accidents vary according to why the passengers are on the bus and where the bus is going. If it is a school bus or city bus, it will follow a specific route, mostly on city streets where traffic lights are frequent. School buses spend a substantial portion of their routes driving in residential areas with low speed limits, while each city bus route centers on one of the major roads in the city, so they are more likely to drive in heavy traffic. In either case, most of the accidents involving school buses and city buses take place at relatively low speeds, which reduces the risk of serious injury. The fact that these buses do not have seatbelts increases the risk of injury, though.
Charter buses are more likely to transport passengers on long-distance road trips, where they spend most of their time on the interstate highway. The Atlanta area has one of the busiest highway systems in the country, so buses transporting church members on mission trips, students to sports tournaments, or tourists on multi-city tours will be sharing the road with commercial trucks and with cars where the drivers have been behind the wheel all day. The seats on charter buses are cushioned and feel more like an airplane seat than the bench-like seats on a school bus or city bus, but they do not always have seatbelts, so they do not offer much more protection in the event of a collision than the seats on buses where passengers pay little or nothing to ride.
The most common causes of bus accidents are the same as the most common causes of any other motor vehicle accident. Hazardous road conditions, excessive speed, distracted driving, and alcohol or drugs can cause someone to collide with a bus, just as they can cause collisions among other types of vehicles. The difference with bus accidents is that there are more passengers, and they are less likely to be wearing seatbelts. A bus accident lawyer is needed to help you sort through the claim and get you the medical attention you need.
Gathering Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
In order to persuade an insurance company or a court that you are entitled to money after a bus accident, you must prove that the accident occurred and that it caused your injuries. Police reports and news coverage serve as evidence of the accident, but you should also take pictures of the scene of the accident in case insurance claims adjusters or lawyers want to know more about how the accident occurred.
You should go to a hospital emergency room to be examined immediately after the accident, even if you feel like you do not have injuries serious enough to require treatment. Some injuries commonly caused by traffic accidents, such as concussions and whiplash injuries, take hours to start showing symptoms. By going to a doctor promptly, you can begin treatment before your symptoms get worse. Just as important, though, is having doctors clearly indicate in your medical records when and how your injuries happened. This way, no one can attribute your symptoms to a pre-existing condition. You would be surprised how often insurance companies come up with excuses to get out of paying. The last thing you want is to be in a courtroom where the defendant’s lawyer accuses you of lying to get money. How embarrassing would it be to hear a lawyer say, “The accident wasn’t that bad! His headaches must be from a concussion he got playing football in high school,” or, “She doesn’t really have whiplash injury! She just has neck pain because she’s old!”
Who is Legally Responsible for a Bus Accident?
In any traffic accident, insurance companies determine which driver bears what percentage of fault for the accident. This is why all drivers must carry liability insurance, so if they cause an accident, the insurance company will pay for the damage they caused. If the bus collided with another vehicle, the bus driver may or may not be at fault for causing the accident. Meanwhile, the company that owns the bus is legally responsible for the safety of the passengers. Bus companies carry commercial liability insurance to pay insurance claims by passengers who got injured while riding the bus. If the bus collided with a commercial truck, the trucking company might also bear responsibility for damage caused by the accident.
Should You File an Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit After a Bus Accident?
In most cases, you can get the money you need after a bus accident by filing an insurance claim, and you do not need to go to court. Getting an adequate insurance settlement is not as easy as it sounds, though. Your chances are better if you hire a bus accident lawyer to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact 770 Good Law About Bus Accident Cases
You probably do not need to go to court to get the money you need after a bus accident, but you do need a bus accident lawyer. Contact 770 Good Law, the Law Office of H. Q. Alex Nguyen and Associates, LLC, in Riverdale, Georgia, to discuss your case.
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