Bus Accident Attorney in Tampa
As one of the most efficient and reliable forms of public transportation, no commuter or passenger boards a bus with the expectation of a crash. Unfortunately, however, bus accidents are all too common in cities and suburbs alike. In the case that you have been the victim of a bus accident, we are offering some answers to the essential questions you might be asking.
What is Legally Considered a Bus?
According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, any motor vehicle carrying ten or more passengers can be categorized as a bus; by this standard, school buses, shuttles, intercity, and interstate common carrier buses, and other such vehicles can be considered buses under the law. Applying this legal standard to the vehicle in which you suffered injuries as the result of an accident, you might be eligible for legal remedy and you should consult with an attorney to see if your case merits that restitution.
I was Injured in a Bus Accident. What Should I do?
Seek appropriate medical attention immediately. If you are unable to use your cell phone, look for passengers around you, or look to the bus driver for assistance. In almost all instances, bus accidents will be affecting passengers other than yourself as well, so first and foremost follow the directions being broadcast and remain calm.
Make sure to give the doctor accurate information about your injury and the events surrounding it; these documents will be useful should you choose to pursue options in court, as they can be used as proof of injury. If at all possible, you should attempt to capture photos or video of the time and location of your injury, and you should examine the area for witnesses and/or other victims and try to gauge their reactions as well.
This will be helpful for your attorney to argue that your settlement must match the gravity of your injuries suffered. The more tangible evidence of negligence or wrongdoing that you can produce, the better case an attorney can make for the worth of your legal claim.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Bus Accident?
Once your medical needs have been attended to by a qualified doctor or healthcare provider, you should consider your options for legal action, bearing in mind that the bus company that is responsible will be seeking its own legal protection. It is likely that the responsible bus company’s insurer and legal team will take advantage of the victims of the bus accident, hoping to minimize their financial damages and potential liabilities.
Settling on the terms of the bus company’s legal counsel might seem like the easiest option in a moment of incredible stress, grief, and loss, should your physical and/or emotional damages amount to that, but this is not the option that will keep your best interest in mind. Generally, you are entitled to more than the bus company representatives will suggest that you accept; this will come in the form of a settlement reached in mediation, with the intention of avoiding trial.
In the case of a bus accident, there are many third parties who may be deemed negligent, entitling you to legal remedy. These parties could include:
- Bus drivers — If the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving drowsy, or distracted while driving.
- Bus companies — If the bus company failed to properly train the driver, adequately maintain the bus, or encouraged the driver to work beyond the legal limit of road time.
- Bus distributors, manufacturers, and workers — If the bus had mechanical defects or design flaws.
- Transit authorities — If the accident was caused by road construction that did not have adequate warning signs or inadequate traffic signs and signals.
Bus accidents do not only affect passengers and commuters but also pedestrians and other motorists. If you were injured in a bus accident and your involvement was in one of those alternate capacities, you could be eligible for financial compensation as well, should you be able to establish that your injuries were directly related to negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the bus company involved.
There are time constraints on your ability to take legal action; these limits vary depending on the case, so you should reach out to an experienced bus accident attorney. Hiring an attorney will be your best path to legal recovery in holding any potential third parties responsible for their negligence and assuring that your settlement appropriately reflects the extent of that negligence.
Can I Sue for a Bus Stop Accident in Florida?
If you were injured in an accident while waiting at a bus stop, you may have legal remedies available to you. It depends on the circumstances of your case. Some of the most common causes of bus stop accidents include a bus or other vehicle jumping the curb, inadequately maintained bus stop facilities, and other personal injuries. You should reach out to an attorney who is experienced in bus stop accidents in Florida to discuss your case.
How Common are School Bus Accidents?
According to the organization School Transportation News, the 2018-2019 school year saw a total of 1,365 school bus crashes that resulted in 2,551 injuries. Of the reported injuries, however, only 1,726 school bus passengers sustained injuries. The rest were the occupants of other vehicles involved.
While relatively uncommon, school bus accidents in Florida do still happen with alarming frequency. The most common causes of school bus accidents include:
- School buses getting stuck on train tracks.
- School bus drivers misgauging turns and striking other vehicles or permanent structures like light or telephone poles.
- Losing control of the bus while on rural roads, resulting in the vehicle going off the road, and even rolling over.
- Children hurt or killed when other drivers do not yield to school bus alert signals.
- Other drivers striking the bus.
My Child was Struck by a Car Leaving the School Bus. What can I do?
Florida law requires that all traffic stop when the lights on a school bus are active. This is to prevent children who are exiting the bus from being put in danger by rapidly moving traffic. Unfortunately, though, some drivers either aren’t aware of the law or purposefully violate the law, putting children in terrible danger.
If your child was injured or killed by a negligent driver in a school bus stop accident, you should immediately reach out to an experienced school bus accident attorney in Florida. Suffering the loss of a child is devastating and we understand the excruciating pain you’re experiencing. We promise to treat you and your case with the highest respect while we bring the parties responsible to be held accountable.
My Child was Injured in a School Bus Accident. What do I do?
School bus drivers and companies can be held liable if children are injured in a school bus accident. The legal path you will be advised to take will depend on the circumstances of the case. If the bus driver or school bus company is determined to be liable for the school bus accident, you may be able to recover damages from them. However, if the school bus accident was caused by another driver, you could pursue legal remedy from them. You should immediately contact a school bus accident attorney in Florida to discuss your right to compensation from negligent school bus drivers and companies.
How Much is my Florida Bus Accident Case Worth?
The amount you may be entitled to will depend on many factors. In order to get an accurate sense of the worth of your case, you must also make a case for the damages personally suffered after your accident. These damages can include medical costs, time spent in the hospital, physical and emotional trauma, time off of work, and any other ongoing difficulties.
Once you have given as much clarifying detail as can be provided, your attorney can assess how much you may be entitled to in compensation. If you choose to pursue legal recovery, settlement out of court is the likeliest option; in the event that your case moves to trial, it is still likelier than not that the case will settle at some point in the process of trial.
Can I Sue for Wrongful Death After a Bus Accident?
In the case of wrongful death, the next of kin are entitled to legal action. In Florida, this will mean that the spouse of the deceased party can sue the negligent party. If there is no spouse, the next in line are children; if there are no children, the next in line are parents; if there are no parents, the next in line are siblings.
Do I Have to Pay For Legal Costs Upfront?
We offer free initial consultations; we also work on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not incur any legal fees unless and until we are able to secure a legal victory for your case. These terms will appear in writing in a contract signed by you and your attorney. In the event that a settlement is reached, your legal fees will be folded into your recovery.
How Do I Hire a Bus Accident Attorney in Florida?
A bus accident can be a traumatic experience, with the potential for far-reaching, life-altering damages. If you or a loved one was a victim of a bus accident, we hope that you consider and assess your available routes of legal remedy and hire an attorney with whom to consult your prospective case. We are available to you 24/7, so contact us at (813) 774-3341 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation right over the phone.