What Happens if a Bus Hits Your Car?

What Happens if a Bus Hits Your Car?

Navigating the aftermath of a bus collision can be complex and delicate. Beyond addressing the immediate damage to your vehicle, understanding the legal implications of public transportation accidents is crucial. It is paramount to know your rights and the necessary steps to protect them in such situations.

Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers are here to provide the expertise and guidance needed to navigate this challenging terrain. We’ve got decades of experience helping our clients seek justice and achieve compensation for their painful ordeal. Our practice is guided by a simple yet crucial philosophy: Trust Guss. Your well-being is our top priority, and you can Trust Guss to lead you through the entire process.

What Area of Law Covers if a Bus Hits Your Car?

If a bus hits your car, personal injury and traffic law are primarily involved.

  • Personal injury law primarily concerns the harm caused to individuals, their property, and their legal rights in such situations. It encompasses the legal principles and procedures for seeking compensation for injuries, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the accident.
  • On the other hand, traffic law governs the rules and regulations that dictate the operation of vehicles on roadways. These laws encompass traffic signals, speed limits, right-of-way rules, lane usage, and other guidelines to ensure road safety and order. In the context of a bus-car collision, traffic law plays a crucial role in determining if any violations occurred that contributed to the accident. For example, if the bus driver ran a red light or failed to yield the right of way, they may be held accountable under traffic law regulations.

If you find yourself in an accident with a bus, it's essential to understand the different legal aspects that could affect your situation:

Negligence

Negligence is a key legal idea that holds people or organizations accountable for not taking reasonable care, which can harm others. In a bus accident, negligence might occur if the bus driver or the company running the bus doesn't meet the expected standard of care, like driving dangerously, ignoring traffic rules, or not keeping the bus safe.

Product Liability

Product liability applies when a faulty bus part causes an accident. In these situations, the maker or seller of the defective component may be responsible for the resulting harm. Product liability laws aim to safeguard consumers from harm due to faulty products and ensure those at fault are held accountable for any injuries or losses.

Government Claims

Government claims come into play when the bus involved in the accident is a public transit vehicle run by a government agency. Special rules and processes for filing a claim against a government entity exist, as sovereign immunity might restrict the ability to sue the government. These rules differ by location and usually include specific notice requirements and limits on damages that can be obtained in a lawsuit against the government.

Who Can Be Held Liable if a Bus Hits Your Car?

When involved in an accident where a bus hits your car, determining liability is crucial. Liability falls upon the party responsible for the accident. In this case, several entities could be held accountable:

  • The Bus Driver: If the driver's negligence, such as speeding, distraction, or failure to adhere to traffic laws, caused the accident, they might be liable.
  • The Bus Company: The company that owns the bus may be liable if the accident resulted from their failure to maintain the vehicle or adequately train the driver.
  • The Bus Manufacturer: If a defect in the bus's design or manufacturing contributed to the accident, the manufacturer could be held accountable.
  • Another Third Party: Sometimes, other factors, such as poor road maintenance or obstructions caused by a third party, can lead to an accident. In such cases, the third party may be responsible.
  • Multiple Parties: In some instances, responsibility may be shared between the driver, the bus company, and possibly other parties involved in the chain of events leading up to the accident.

What Compensation Can You Get if a Bus Hits Your Car?

When a bus hits your car, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation depending on the accident's circumstances.

Type of CompensationDescription
Vehicle DamageRepair costs or total replacement value for your car.
Medical ExpensesAnything from ER costs to ongoing treatment fees.
Lost IncomeLost wages and potential future earnings lost due to injuries.
Pain and SufferingCompensation for physical and emotional distress.
Punitive DamagesAwarded as a deterrent in cases of egregious negligence.

Immediate Steps to Take After the Incident

Your first concern should be the safety of everyone involved. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location to prevent further traffic disruptions and hazards. Once secure, check for injuries. If there are injuries or the road is blocked, dial emergency services immediately using the local emergency number.

Next, it's essential to call the police to the accident scene, even if it seems minor. Official reports from law enforcement are invaluable during insurance claims and potential legal proceedings. Inform the dispatcher of what happened, follow their instructions, and remain at the scene until the authorities arrive.

Then, contact and insurance information should be exchanged with the bus driver. Be sure to note the bus number and the transit authority or company owning the bus.

Information to exchange:

  • Driver's full name and contact details
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Bus number and company name

Finally, documenting the scene can aid in your insurance claim. Take photos of your car, the bus, and the surrounding area. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information. This includes:

  • Photos of vehicles and location
  • Witness names and contacts
  • Traffic and weather conditions at the time of the accident

Understanding Insurance Claims

Determining Fault

It's crucial to establish who is liable for the accident to understand who is at fault. Fault determination rules vary by state; some apply a comparative fault system where responsibility can be shared between parties. You can also check your insurance policy for details on coverage in accidents involving public transportation vehicles.

Filing a Claim

Your first step after an accident is to file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. For example:

  • Contact your insurance provider to report the accident as soon as possible
  • Provide all necessary details about the incident, including date, time, location, and any photographic evidence you may have
  • Submit any required documents promptly to avoid delays

Dealing With Adjusters

Insurance adjusters play a vital role in the claims process. Their job is to assess the damage and determine the amount the insurance company will pay. Our best tips for dealing with adjusters include the following:

  • Maintain clear and honest communication with the adjuster
  • Know your rights concerning the assessment and negotiation of the settlement
  • Consider getting professional advice and legal representation if the settlement offered does not cover your losses

How an Attorney Can Help

  • Your attorney will assist you in understanding the full extent of your car's damages and any other losses you have experienced, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering
  • Attorneys are skilled in negotiating with insurance companies to ensure you receive a fair settlement that covers all your losses
  • Your attorney will handle all aspects of filing insurance claims, including submitting necessary paperwork within required timeframes and providing expert advice on the legality of any settlement offers
  • If your case goes to court, your attorney will represent your interests by preparing and presenting your case to secure the best possible outcome for you
  • Your attorney will gather evidence to support your claim, including accident reports, witness statements, and expert testimonies, and will use their knowledge of the law to navigate the legal system effectively
  • Throughout the process, attorneys are there to support you, helping to reduce stress and secure the compensation you deserve for the ordeal you’ve faced

Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers are Here for You

If a bus collides with your car, the aftermath can be overwhelming. At Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers, we understand such incidents' legal and emotional complexities. With our extensive experience in advocating for traffic accident victims, our legal team is ready to help you secure the compensation you deserve, allowing you to focus on healing and moving forward with your life.

For personalized support and strategic legal counsel, contact Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers today to learn more about your options after a bus hits your car. Your well-being is our priority, and we are here to help you through every step of this challenging time.

Trust that everything will be okay. Trust Guss.