You may be able to sue a bus driver if their negligence caused your accident. 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 may be able to help you identify the responsible party in your accident.
Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer on Your Case
When you work with a personal injury attorney on your case, they may be able to conduct a thorough investigation of your accident to identify the liable party. Then, you are able to file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit against that negligent party on your behalf. Your lawyer may also be able to:
- Communicate with all parties on your behalf
- Manage all paperwork and deadlines in your case
- Collect evidence such as witness statements and testimony from accident reconstruction experts
- Calculate the value of your damages
- Negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company
- Bring your case to trial, if necessary
Working with a lawyer may give you time to focus on your recovery while they handle all of the legal aspects of your case.
Damages You Can Claim in a Bus Accident Case
If you or your lawyer are successfully able to 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 may include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical disfigurement
The evidence your lawyer collects of your damages may include your medical bills, employment records to show your lost wages, and statements from medical experts on your estimated future costs of care.
Evidence in a Bus Accident Case
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, 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, keep these as well. Your lawyer may be able to use this documentation as evidence in your case.
The 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.
New York statute of limitations, Civil Law (CVP) §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 New York General Municipal (GMU) §50-E.
A failure to take legal action by the deadlines that pertain to your case could result in your lawsuit being dismissed. A New York personal injury law firm can explain what specific deadlines pertain to your case.
Costs Associated With Suing a Bus Driver
For personal injury claims, you’re looking at both attorney fees and legal costs. Fees are the wages paid to an attorney for their work while legal costs are the expenses incurred to move your case forward, such as court filing fees, hiring expert witnesses, and deposition expenses.
Many personal injury law offices offer representation on a contingency-fee-basis with no up-front payments required to start. As a client, you would not have to pay attorney fees unless and until compensation via a settlement offer or court award is recovered.
Legal Options to Hold the Bus Driver Liable
If you (the plaintiff in the accident) have sufficient evidence for a personal injury claim against the bus company or driver and want to settle the matter outside of the courts, you may have legal recourse options.
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. If you do not want to fight against an insurance company, a personal injury lawyer can help you settle the matter through negotiations or mediation.
Morelli Law Firm May Be Able 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. We can discuss your accident, your legal options, and if you may be able to sue a bus driver or another liable party for your damages.