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Legal Representation For Bus Collision Victims

Millions of Americans ride buses every day to go to work or school or to run errands. Many of us also use buses to travel across the country or take organized tours. But, what if you are injured while riding on a bus? If you have been hurt or have lost a loved one in a bus crash, it’s vital that you take immediate legal action. The deadline for filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim in Washington state is generally only three years. However, a tort claim may be necessary if the lawsuit is against a city, state or other governmental entity. This could decrease the time for commencing a civil cause of action. Other factors could limit or expand the time to start a lawsuit. To file a successful claim, it is important to have a skilled attorney who has handled bus collisions before.

The Seattle auto accident lawyers at Pendergast Law, have been successfully representing Seattle-area injury victims and their families for over four decades. Our experience gives us an edge against powerful transit corporations and insurance companies. Bus accidents are complicated, but we can make your recovery simpler. Get help from one of our Seattle accident lawyers today.

To schedule a free one-on-one consultation, dial 888-539-9211.

Who Is Liable In A Washington Bus Accident?

Determining fault in a bus accident can be extremely complicated, and there may be multiple contributing parties. Our knowledgeable attorneys can investigate the accident and identify the liable party, which could be any of the following, among others:

  • The bus driver: It’s common to want to blame the driver – any driver – when an accident occurs. Bus drivers are not immune to errors while operating vehicles, and if the accident was caused by an unsafe lane change or because the bus was following another vehicle too closely and rear-ended it, the driver of the bus would be to blame. This might seem like a fairly straightforward case, but the bus driver is not operating his or her own vehicle and doesn’t have personal insurance for the bus. Instead, the public bus company will have its own insurance. In Washington, those companies are the Washington State Transit Association (WSTA) and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). This makes it more complicated to file a claim, as filing an accident claim against a government entity has tighter deadlines and more paperwork than filing a claim against a private individual’s insurance policy.
  • The bus company: WSTA and WSDOT are not the only companies that run buses. You may have been hurt by a school bus, a charter bus, or a tour bus, and, in all these cases, the bus company could be at fault. Bus companies have a duty of care to ensure that their buses are safe for all passengers. If the bus was overloaded with passengers and luggage, or if the vehicle was improperly maintained, these conditions could cause an accident while the bus is on the road, and the bus company is certainly responsible for them. If the bus company didn’t properly vet its drivers, or if it hired a driver with a history of drunk driving, the bus company can also be held responsible. Bus companies typically have insurance that covers all passengers on the bus. If the bus company is proven to be at fault, this insurance will give you the compensation you deserve with the help of a Seattle bus collision attorney.
  • A negligent driver: Sometimes, the bus was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and when it’s the fault of neither the bus driver nor the bus company, it could be the fault of another driver. In these cases, the bus might have partial insurance that will protect the passengers on board, but the at-fault driver of the other car may also be sued for the victims’ compensation.
  • The bus manufacturer: Maybe a tire rips and flies off the bus or perhaps the brakes weren’t properly maintained and they fail, causing a wreck. If something goes wrong with the bus, and it’s because the bus manufacturer did not properly install or manufacture the vehicle parts, the bus manufacturer is to blame. Bus manufacturers are typically large organizations with large teams of lawyers who know how to get out of paying money, so it can be very difficult for victims to get compensation without a legal team of their own to fight back.

What Bus Driver Actions May Lead To Passenger Injuries?

While there are many reasons behind bus accidents, often, human error is at the heart of the matter. Trained bus drivers have been known to make major mistakes on the road, leading to a serious crash. Because they are in charge of the safety of so many people, their errors are more likely to result in numerous injuries. Some common mistakes include:

  • Ignoring traffic signals
  • Driving at an unsafe speed
  • Not stopping at railroad crossings
  • Not checking mirrors before turning/changing lanes
  • Stopping or starting suddenly

Any of these actions may lead to a collision with another vehicle or might throw passengers from their seats, even if there is no collision. While some mistakes occur due to a lapse in focus or judgment, there may be other factors involved, such as:

  • Health issues, such as heart problems
  • Sleep apnea, which may lead to falling asleep at the wheel
  • The inability to cope with distractions from passengers or devices
  • Lack of training for operating the bus safely
  • Inexperience on the road or with a new route

The responsibility for these conditions is shared between the bus driver and the bus company. If the company hired someone who had a history of bad driving or bad health, the company might be liable if the bus driver ends up causing an accident.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accidents

The following frequently asked questions should be able to provide some answers for you.

Do bus passengers have any special protections?

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