It can be difficult to predict what might happen if a bus hits your car. Your car might get totaled, but you and your passengers might also still be able to walk away without a scratch. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, accident victims are left with serious injuries, emotional scars, and mounting debts. This article will explain what you can do if you were in a bus accident.
Your Immediate Concern Might Be Coping with the Aftermath of a Bus Accident
Accidents involving buses and large trucks have increased in recent years. As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports, injury crashes increased 62 percent between 2009 and 2015, and fatal crashes increased 40 percent between 2009 and 2017.
Buses are larger than cars. If a bus and a car collide, the car and its occupants are more likely to suffer greater damage than the bus. For this reason, one of the first things you should do after a bus accident is to take stock of any injuries you have and, if necessary, get medical help.
Unless you are severely injured or incapacitated, you will want to make sure you exchange insurance and contact information with the bus driver before leaving the scene. Not only will this make it easier for you to recover compensation, but it is also the law. Per New York Vehicle & Traffic Law (VAT) §600, any driver who leaves the scene of an injury crash without providing their contact and insurance information may be fined or jailed.
You May Be Entitled to Seek Compensation for Multiple Damages
If you were injured in a bus crash, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you lost a loved one in the crash, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In both types of lawsuits, you can sue for economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include any and all monetary losses you suffered because of the crash. For example, you might qualify for economic damages if you had:
- Medical expenses: This includes going to the emergency room, having medical tests done, hiring a home nurse, and even paying for medical prescriptions.
- Repair expenses: This includes costs to fix your car or rent a car until yours gets repaired.
- Lost wages or benefits: This includes income you would have earned from your job had you not been injured.
Noneconomic damages include any and all physical and/or emotional injuries you suffered because of the crash. For example, you might qualify for noneconomic damages if you had:
- Pain and suffering: This includes both physical symptoms, emotional anguish, and psychological trauma.
- Reduced quality of life: This type of damage applies if you are unable to perform daily living tasks (e.g., dressing yourself or going to the store) like you used to before the accident.
- Loss of consortium: If your injuries make it difficult or impossible to continue having a positive marital or familial relationship with loved ones.
A Lawyer Can Manage Your Case for You
If you are considering a lawsuit, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Many law firms will evaluate your case at no charge, letting you know what your chances of being awarded compensation are. They may also work for a contingency fee, so you would not owe any attorney’s fees until (and unless) they are able to get money for you.
Here are some other things a lawyer may handle for you:
- Identifying all liable parties: Your lawyer may investigate and gather evidence about your crash to determine who might be liable for your accident. If there is more than one liable party—for example, if both the driver and the bus company share responsibility—you might be able to sue them both.
- Working out damages: Quantifying your damages, especially non-economic damages, can be tricky. A lawyer can help you sort out everything and ensure you ask for an appropriate, recoverable amount.
- Filing all paperwork: If you fill out a form incorrectly or submit it late, that could spell the end of your lawsuit. Let your lawyer handle the paperwork for you.
- Facing the insurance company: A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf for a pretrial settlement. Unfortunately, negotiation is not always successful. If the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly, your lawyer may represent you in court.
- Answering your questions: Your attorney may be familiar with personal injury law that applies to your situation and can explain how it might affect your case. They can also keep in touch with you about how your case is going and help you make important decisions.
If a bus hits your car, the consequences can be life-altering. You might still have the chance to sue for compensation after a bus accident, but only for a limited time. Act now, and contact Morelli Law Firm to learn more about your options. Our number is (212) 751-9800, and we can take your call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.