[Infographic] 5 FAQs about Bus Accidents in Florida
Florida Bus Accident
Bus accident injuries are usually very severe in comparison to car accidents. While a vehicle is equipped with seat belts that are required by law to be worn by passengers and drivers, it is different in the case of a bus. Many buses don’t have seat belts, nor are they required. For this reason, passengers on a bus are put at risk for suffering serious injuries.
Even if you aren’t a passenger of the bus involved, the sheer size of the bus can inflict a great deal of damage to a standard-sized car or automobile that may hit or be hit by a bus.
There are some things you should know about personal injury litigation for bus accidents in Florida, in the unfortunate event that you find yourself involved in a bus accident—in any capacity.
What is the Process?
In many cases, the passengers injured on a bus may be eligible to receive monetary compensation for any resulting losses after the accident. Unfortunately, the financial recovery process can be arduous and difficult. Most buses are government owned and operated, and there are stricter guidelines for personal injury claims filed against Florida’s government municipalities.
Who is Liable?
The process to file a lawsuit after being in a bus accident can be quite complex because there could be several liable entities. If the bus was struck by a third party, a personal injury lawyer can help to determine negligence and file a lawsuit against the neglectful driver or the driver’s insurer. If the accident was as a result of the bus driver’s negligence, then the process can become more complex.
If the bus was government-owned and operated, then your bus accident lawyer may first try to go to the negotiation table with the insurance company in order to get a settlement.
With the help of a personal injury lawyer, filing a lawsuit against the insurance company and dealing with a third party or the government is easier. Your attorney will have access to medical experts, auto safety experts, and specialists who can help recreate the accident scene.
In the process of building your case, the attorney will likely:
- Evaluate the police report and the accident report
- Interview any possible witnesses or passengers
- Take a photograph of the accident scene
- Take a photograph of your injuries
- Assess any and all medical reports
- Handle all correspondence provided by the opposite party and their insurers
Who is Negligent?
The attorney has to prove negligence, or the party’s failure to take reasonable care, in operating the bus that caused the injury. Bus drivers have to adhere to a higher level of care than other drivers on the road, due to the number of passengers and the size of the vehicle they are operating.
Usually, by the end of the initial investigation, your attorney will be able to tell whether the bus driver or third party was negligent or just did not exercise the required standard of care.
What if the Bus Malfunctioned?
If there was a bus defect due to the manufacturer’s faulty tires, fuel systems, brakes, or accelerators, then this would be elevated to a product liability case. If your attorney can prove that the bus defect was what made the situation unreasonably risky and that the operators of the bus knew of the defect, your attorney will use this information to determine the solidity of the case.
There is a sovereign immunity section of the law that protects government from specific liability. Florida, for many bus accident victims, has waived their rights under the sovereign immunity law for claim amounts of up to $200,000.
However, if the claim amount is more than $200,000, the sovereign immunity no longer applies, which means that your claim might have to include several defendants.
What Can a Bus Accident Attorney Do?
It is important to solicit the legal counsel of a personal injury lawyer with experience and knowledge of the laws in the state of Florida on how to handle cases related to bus accidents, whether the bus is owned and operated by the government or private third party. The attorney must provide evidence of a successful track record in recovering full monetary compensation for other clients.
Speak With Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a bus accident, whether you were a passenger or third party, you should consult the services of a personal injury lawyer to see if you are eligible for compensatory damages.