If their negligence caused your accident, you can sue a bus driver for damages. However, if the bus driver caused an accident while they were working, then their employer may be liable for the driver’s negligent actions. In this case, your lawsuit may go against the bus or transportation company that employs them.
Depending on the cause of the accident, you might also have a claim against the company that built the bus or the company that manufactured its components. A bus accident lawyer from our firm can help you identify the responsible party in your accident.
Legal Options to Hold the Bus Driver Liable
The at-fault party in your case may be the bus driver, their employer, the bus manufacturer, the bus maintenance team, or a combination of the above. Our law firm can help you identify all liable parties and prove their involvement by collecting evidence from a variety of sources.
Examples of Liability
When should you sue a bus driver versus their employer or another party? Examples of cases where you may be able to sue the bus driver include:
- The driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The driver was going too fast, either by exceeding the speed limit or refusing to slow down for potential hazards, like construction or bad weather.
- The driver ignored a stop sign, a red light, or other traffic signal.
On the other hand, if the accident was due to a mechanical failure or a harmful company policy (e.g., the bus company does not give their drivers enough breaks), your lawsuit might be aimed at someone other than the driver.
Evidence in Bus Accident Cases
After a bus accident, you are required to file a crash report if you were injured, if there was a death, or if property damage exceeds $1,000, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A crash report may contain important information for your case, such as:
- Driver information
- Bus company information
- Accident details
- Accident scene diagrams
- Investigative notes
- Witness contact information
- Date, time, and location details
In addition to your crash report, it is a good idea to retain any accident-related medical records that you receive. If you have photos or videos from the accident scene or of your injuries or property damage, we may be able to use this documentation as evidence in your case.
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Working with a Bus Accident Attorney
When you work with a personal injury attorney from our law firm, we may be able to conduct a thorough investigation of your accident to identify the liable party. Then, we can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit against that negligent party.
In addition, our team can help you by:
- Assessing the legal validity of your case at no cost or obligation
- Communicating with all parties on your behalf – there does not have to be any direct contact between you and the liable party
- Managing all paperwork and deadlines in your case
- Help you make legal decisions by providing advice and information whenever you need it
- Calculate the value of your damages
- Negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company
- Bring your case to trial, if necessary
- Update you throughout the entire legal process
Typically, the bus driver has coverage through an insurance company or the charter that hired them. This may lead to a litigation battle against the carrier protecting the company or driver. Working with a lawyer from our office may give you time to focus on your recovery while we handle all of the legal aspects of your case.
Damages You Can Recover in a Bus Accident Case
If we successfully prove the liability of the responsible party, they may owe you compensation for your accident-related damages. In general, the recoverable damages in a personal injury case include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of employment opportunities
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical disfigurement
- Temporary or permanent disability
Proving the Accident Caused Your Injuries
Just like proving the liable party’s identity, you need to collect sufficient evidence showing that there is a connection between the accident and your injuries. The evidence we collect to prove causation may include:
- Your medical bills
- Employment records to show your lost wages
- Statements from medical experts on your estimated future costs of care
- Personal testimony and testimony from acquaintances pertaining to the change in your health
Deadlines to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York
While the law may entitle you to hold the at-fault party responsible for their negligence, it may also limit the time you have to do so.
The New York statute of limitations, CPLR § 214, generally gives victims three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Some circumstances could alter this deadline. For example, if the bus that caused your accident was operated by a municipality or a government agency, you may have only 90 days to file a notice of claim, per GMU § 50-E.
Failure to take legal action by such deadlines could result in your lawsuit being dismissed. A bus accident lawyer from Morelli Law Firm can explain what specific deadlines pertain to your case.
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Costs Associated with Suing a Bus Driver
For personal injury claims, you will need to pay both attorney’s fees and legal costs. Fees are the wages paid to an attorney for their work. Legal costs are the expenses incurred to move your case forward, such as court filing fees, hiring expert witnesses, and deposition expenses.
Our firm offers representation on a contingency-fee basis. This offers clients multiple benefits, including the following.
- You do not have to pay attorney’s fees unless and until you recover compensation via a settlement offer or court award.
- You do not have to pay us an hourly fee for our services. Instead, we take an agreed-upon percentage of your final settlement as our attorney’s fees.
- You do not have to pay us anything to get your case up and running.
Morelli Law Firm Wants to Help You
If you were hurt in a bus accident in New York, Morelli Law Firm may be able to help you. We fight for compensation on behalf of our clients in insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. Our service areas include New York City, Long Island, and New York State up to Albany.
For a free consultation on your case with a member of our team, call us today at (212) 751-9800. We can discuss your accident, your legal options, and if you can sue a bus driver or another liable party for your damages.