Bus drivers and their employers have a responsibility to more than the passengers they transport. Because these vehicles can be so unwieldy on the road, bus drivers need to be specially trained if they want to protect other parties from harm. A negligent bus driver can trigger a severe accident, upending your plans for the future along the way.
You don’t have to address bus accident losses without support, though. Instead, you can work with an accident lawyer who specializes in bus accidents to overcome your losses. Together with Pendleton Law Team, you can take your case before a judge and advocate for your right to post-accident compensation.
Bus Drivers’ Roadway Responsibilities
Bus drivers, like other motorists on the road, are expected to abide by Virginia’s roadway laws if they’re going to keep their peers safe. A bus driver who fails to take the size of their vehicle into account puts themselves at an even higher risk for traffic violations than your average motorist.
Bus drivers, specifically, have to carefully monitor how they back up and change between lanes, as their blindspots are more substantial than other vehicles. Bus drivers also need to be particularly aware of the speed limit on the road they’re navigating on, as it’s harder to bring larger vehicles to an abrupt stop than it is to stop smaller ones.
Drivers who fail to take these additional safety measures into account or who violate standard roadway procedures can be accused of negligence in the wake of an accident. Specifically, bus drivers whose behavior results in an accident can find themselves held responsible for your financial losses if you can prove that their negligence resulted in your losses.
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Holding the Right Party Liable for Your Bus Accident
It’s easy to say “bus driver” when addressing the party allegedly liable for your recent accident. These drivers aren’t the only parties who can be held responsible for an accident on the road, though. There are occasions on which government officials and/or corporate representatives may be liable for a bus driver’s roadway behavior.
Specifically, bus drivers who are categorized as employees by a transportation company may benefit from that company’s legal protection. In these cases, you may have the opportunity to hold corporations like Greyhound liable for an accident on the road. Bus drivers employed by the city or state may benefit from similar protections.
That said, these parties must be categorized as employees if you want to hold their supervisors legally accountable for your losses. Bus drivers operating as independent contractors do not benefit from these protections and instead are expected to represent themselves in civil court.
When Are Third Parties Implicated in a Bus Accident?
There’s also a chance that the party liable for your bus accident may not be affiliated with a bus company or driver at all. If this is the case, you may have the right to divide fault for your accident between applicable parties.
That said, Virginia has one of the strictest contributory negligence policies in the United States. If it appears that you were responsible for any percentage of your accident, you may lose the right to pursue compensation for your losses.
That’s why it’s important to work with a Newport News bus accident attorney ahead of time. Together you can get ahead of any accusations that might neutralize your case.
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How to Estimate the Value of a Bus Accident Case
The purpose of a bus accident complaint is to help you both hold a liable party accountable for your losses and secure the support you need to financially recover from your accident. Before you can demand compensation for your losses, however, you need to know what your bus accident case is worth.
You can begin estimating your case’s value by establishing the sum of your economic losses. Our team can look at the bills generated by your post-accident recovery, speculate about your future expenses, and add them together to establish your baseline expenses. When calculating this sum, our team considers your:
- Medical expenses
- Damaged property and cost of repairs
- Lost time at work and subsequently reduced wages
- Lost opportunities for advancement or alternative employment
- At-home assistance and childcare, if applicable
- Funeral expenses, as applicable
Afterward, we modify the sum of your economic losses courtesy of state-approved multipliers. These multipliers stand in for non-economic, or non-bill-generating, losses. This way, you can demand compensation for emotional distress, mental health concerns, and pain and suffering. Our final calculations represent the compensation your losses may entitle you to.
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Your Right to Legal Action After a Bus Accident
You deserve a reasonable amount of time to recover from the shock of a bus accident. That said, you have to act quickly if you want to take legal action against the party you think may be liable for your losses.
Virginia specifically caps your actionable time at two years under its personal injury statute of limitations, or Code of Virginia §8.01-243. If you can’t bring a comprehensive complaint forward within that time period, you may lose the right to pursue action against a liable party.
If you were injured in a bus accident in Newport News, our lawyers know how to make the most of the time that the state allotts to you after an accident. When you bring your concerns to our law firm, we can keep an eye on your deadline as we build a comprehensive case against the party responsible for your accident.
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What to Expect After Filing a Bus Accident Civil Complaint
After you bring a bus accident claim forward in civil court, a county clerk considers the nature of your losses. It’s these parties who determine whether or not your case moves forward.
If your case does move forward in court, you have the right to choose how you request a financial settlement. You can, for example, summon a liable party to settlement negotiations. These negotiations can take place outside of the courtroom and without the supervision of a judge. You can, however, request that an attorney represent you throughout the proceedings.
You can alternatively request that your case forgo negotiations and go straight to trial, instead. This can represent the beginning of a lengthy but comprehensive legal investigation into your accident. If you choose to proceed in court, you should be prepared to undergo:
- Opening statements
- Closing statements
All of these stages precede deliberation and the delivery of your verdict. Fortunately, if the court comes to a decision that you disagree with, you can appeal that decision – so long as you have new evidence to present – and begin the process again.
Take Legal Action After Your Bus Accident
Bus accidents can feel as though they come out of nowhere – and sometimes they do. Bus drivers, however, have a responsibility to everyone on the road around them. Drivers who fail to uphold that responsibility can force you to contend with losses that permanently impact your quality of life.
You don’t have to resign yourself to these losses. You can take action, instead. With help from our attorneys, you and your loved ones can advocate for the financial support you need to recover from a bus accident. You can contact Pendleton Law Team online or over the phone to begin building your bus accident complaint today.
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