Were You Injured in a Bus Accident?
Our attorneys have the resources to stand up for victims
Travel by bus is typically a safe and affordable way to get around, but when accidents do occur, they can cause serious harm. Because of the size of buses, they can do devastating damage to smaller vehicles, and because of the number of people on a bus, the total amount of injuries sustained can be massive. The insurance companies don’t help matters, as they are only focused on protecting their bottom line – at victims’ expense.
You don’t have to face the insurance companies alone. The Swanson Law Group has the experience and resources needed to handle high-stakes cases and get big results for bus accident victims. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced bus accident attorney today.
Bus drivers are held to higher legal standards
To drive a bus, operators are required to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a specialized license for drivers of vehicles that are above a certain weight rating or (in the case of buses) hold many passengers. CDL holders are required to pass knowledge and skills tests to confirm that they can safely operate a heavy vehicle. They are also held to certain higher legal standards than most other motorists; for instance, the maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for a CDL holder operating a commercial vehicle is 0.04, half the general legal limit of 0.08 for most motorists.
Companies and organizations that employ bus drivers are likewise held to higher standards. In addition to hiring drivers with CDLs in good standing, they are expected to conduct background checks and confirm that their operators are safe. They are also required to adequately train and supervise drivers to ensure they are following the law and operating their vehicles safely.
These higher standards exist for a reason: buses have the potential to be dangerous. A bus driver not only has the safety of potentially dozens of passengers in their hands, but also is operating a large, heavy vehicle with the potential to cause devastating damage to smaller vehicles. Buses take wide turns and have longer stopping and starting distances than other vehicles. They are full of unsecured objects – suitcases, backpacks, laptop computers, and so on – that can be thrown around the cabin if the bus comes to a sudden stop or collides with something. Bus stops, too, can be dangerous, as can the act of getting on and off a bus. That’s why the bus company must be proactive about safety, both for passengers and for others on the road in the vicinity of the bus.
When bus drivers and bus companies don’t put safety first, people can be seriously hurt – and face difficult and uncertain legal battles.
Legal issues in bus accident cases
When a fully loaded bus is involved in an accident, there may be numerous victims who all sustain some degree of injury. This is a problem because most car insurance policies include both a “per victim” and “per accident” policy limit. If the at-fault vehicle has, for instance, $100,000 in liability coverage per accident, and there are 10 people injured, that $100,000 must be divided 10 ways (though not necessarily evenly, depending on the extent of each person’s injury).
Generally, if the driver of the bus itself is at fault, there is more coverage available, as commercial policies usually have high limits. However, that also makes the claim a high-stakes situation for the insurance company. They’ll put their most experienced adjusters and attorneys on the case. No matter how kind they may seem on the surface, they have exactly one goal in mind: to protect the insurance company’s bottom line, at victims’ expense.
They may ask leading or loaded questions, insist that they just need one more document, or offer you a “lowball” settlement to get you to go away before the full extent of your injuries becomes known. If fault for the accident is disputed, multiple insurance companies may point the finger at each other, with injured people caught in the middle. That’s why you need a strong advocate on your side, protecting your interests.
We will stand up to the bus company on your behalf
As soon as you hire us to handle your bus accident case, we will reach out to the insurance company or companies involved and inform them that they can send all further communications to your lawyer. From that point forward, we will stand as a shield between you and the insurance company’s tactics, protecting your rights while you focus on getting better. Of course, we’ll keep you informed about the progress of your case and make sure you’re included in strategic decisions as the process moves forward.
Our first step is to launch a full, independent investigation regarding the causes of your accident. In addition to interviewing witnesses and poring over accident reports, we investigate the bus company and the bus driver. For instance, we’ll look at their hiring and supervision records: did the bus company conduct a background check on the driver? Was the driver’s CDL in good standing? Was there a history of unsafe driving, and if so, did the bus company take appropriate action? Our goal is to find the responsible party – whether that’s the bus company, bus driver, another motorist, even a manufacturer – and hold them accountable.
Just as importantly, we listen to your story to understand the full effect the bus accident has had on your life. As a result of your injuries, you may not be able to support your family for some time. It’s not just the financial losses – it’s the pain you’re experiencing, the effects on your family and your relationships, the fear for your future. Health is a precious thing, and when it’s lost, you deserve full compensation to help you rebuild.
We prepare every case we handle for trial, and that approach is particularly vital in high-stakes cases like bus accidents. Often, we’re able to settle out of court, because when the insurance company sees we’re ready to go before a judge and jury, they come to the table ready to pay up. They know our reputation and our track record of results. If they won’t pay fair value, though, we won’t hesitate to fight them in court.
You can afford an experienced bus accident attorney
We represent bus accident victims on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay us a penny out of pocket. We advance the costs of litigating your case, investing our time and resources to move you through the process. If we win, our fee is a percentage of the money we recover for you; if we don’t win, you don’t pay us at all. We work this way because we firmly believe that injured people should be able to access justice, regardless of whether you can afford to pay a lawyer.
After a bus accident, the most important thing you can do – besides getting medical attention – is to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear quickly, and there are important legal deadlines that need to be met, especially if your injury involved a government vehicle like a municipal bus or school bus. Don’t go into this fight alone; let us guide you toward a brighter future. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced bus accident attorney today.