Pursue Justice with a Waldorf Bus Accident Lawyer
Buses provide vital transportation links for many people, including urban dwellers, the elderly and disabled, low-income individuals, and school children. Without them, a broad swath of the American population would find itself without efficient, reliable transportation. However, due to their large size, buses are particularly prone to devastating accidents, especially where children are involved. With so much at stake, accident victims have every right to pursue top damages with a Waldorf bus accident lawyer.
According to a study from the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan, bus accidents are quite common on American roadways. The Institute found that, between 1999 to 2005, an average of about 63,000 buses were involved in accidents each year. Of those accidents:
- 14,000 resulted in injuries (annually)
- 325 resulted in fatal injuries (annually)
- 50 passengers, including bus drivers, were killed (annually)
As the statistics show, you are more likely to be involved in a bus accident than you likely realize. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a bus accident, whether as a passenger of the bus or another vehicle struck by the bus, contact a Maryland bus accident lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles today. We have over 25 years of experience representing victims of bus accidents and a long track record of success in obtaining fair compensation for our clients.
Were You Injured on a Public Bus?
A knowledgeable Waldorf bus accident attorney should have experience in handling all types of bus accident cases:
- Private charter bus accidents
- School bus accidents
- Metro Bus accidents (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority)
- RTA Bus Transit (Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland)
The type of bus you were injured on will significantly impact how your case is handled. If you were a passenger on a public bus, then you should be aware that pursuing your claim may be more complex than if you were injured in an accident on a privately owned bus. This is because there are special rules and procedures for filing a suit against either the state or local government. If you fail to follow these rules, you could jeopardize your claim or even forfeit your rights to compensation altogether. A Waldorf bus accident attorney will know how to navigate the claim process so that you can get the compensation you need.
What is a Common Carrier?
A common carrier is an individual, company, or public agency that is in the regular business of transporting people or freight for hire. This includes buses, trains, taxicabs, cruise ships, and airplanes. Because common carriers often hold the lives of their passengers in their hands, they are subject to strict regulation by various governmental entities, and the law imposes upon them an extraordinary duty to keep their passengers safe. Common carriers (including bus operators) can be held liable for injuries to their passengers not only for failing to follow regulations, but also for failing to exercise diligence in protecting their passengers from injuries. In legal terms, this means that the designation of a defendant as a common carrier in a negligence action makes proving the defendant’s breach of duty slightly easier on the plaintiff.
Why Hire a Maryland Bus Accident Lawyer?
Legal liability for bus accidents often can be complex due to the number of parties involved. Typically, the defendants in a bus accident case will be some combination of the entity that owns the bus, the employee who was driving the bus, other motorists who may have contributed to the accident, and all of their insurance companies. If multiple passengers were injured in the same accident, there could also be several plaintiffs.
It is important for victims of bus accidents to know what they are up against. Transit agencies and private carriers have significant experience defending themselves against their victims’ lawsuits and are represented by insurance companies with scores of lawyers. In most cases, the agency’s insurance company will attempt to pay out as little as possible, potentially leaving victims with uncompensated injuries.
When you enlist the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, you can rest assured that you will not have to face these formidable foes alone. The bus accident attorneys at the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles have extensive experience representing bus accident victims by going head-to-head with transit companies and their insurers. Having that level of expertise on your side can significantly increase your chances of success in a bus accident case.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents are similar to truck accidents in that the large size of the vehicle creates unique dangers that are not present in accidents between passenger vehicles. While no two accidents are exactly the same, there are several common scenarios that can lead to bus accidents. These include:
- Turning errors: Buses are considerably longer than ordinary passenger vehicles, and thus require much more room to make turns. This is especially true for right turns. If a bus driver misjudges how much room he or she has to make a turn, the bus can easily strike other vehicles or pedestrians in its path.
- Sudden stops and starts: School buses and city buses make frequent stops, some of which can occur with little warning. If the driver applies the breaks too heavily or too suddenly, passengers can be thrown to the floor, into obstacles around them, or onto other passengers. These types of accidents can also occur if the bus driver starts too suddenly or lurches forward without warning.
- Distracted driving: Although bus drivers are professionals who must complete many hours of training before they are entrusted with the lives of their passengers, they are still prone to human error. Bus drivers face many kinds of distractions, such as school bus drivers who double as chaperones and city bus drivers who often operate in high-stress, congested traffic conditions.
- Blind spot errors: Like other large vehicles, buses have much larger blind spots than regular passenger vehicles, and it is very easy for smaller vehicles to disappear in them. If a bus driver fails to check his or her blind spot when pulling the bus back into traffic after making a stop, the bus can strike anything in its path, including motor vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians.
- Equipment failure or malfunction: Buses are much more complex machines than passenger vehicles and thus require diligent and systematic maintenance to operate safely. Failure to adequately maintain a bus can result in accidents such as fires, blown tires, and shattered windows.
Damages Available in Bus Accident Cases
The primary purpose of damages in personal injury cases is to compensate the victim for the losses he or she suffered as a result of an accident. This is often referred to as making the victim “whole” or putting the victim, to the greatest extent possible, in the same position he or she would have been in had the accident not occurred. To that end, courts award two types of compensatory damages to bus accident victims: special damages and general damages.
Special compensatory damages compensate bus accident victims for specific types of monetary losses they incurred due to the accident. These include:
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
In most cases, it is fairly simple to arrive at dollar amounts for these types of losses, as the plaintiff can usually produce evidence of exactly how much he or she lost. For example, if a plaintiff was out of work for three weeks after an accident and earned $1,500 a week, his or her loss of earnings damages would be $4,500.
General compensatory damages are intended to compensate bus accident victims for more abstract injuries. They often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Unlike special damages, determining an exact dollar amount for general damages is not an exact science and can vary significantly from victim to victim.
Contact a Waldorf Bus Accident Lawyer to Pursue Justice
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a bus accident due to negligence — whether it was as school bus accident, a city bus accident, or an inter-city bus accident — you deserve to be compensated to the greatest extent possible. For more information about your legal options after a bus accident, contact a Waldorf bus accident lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles by calling 301-705-5006. We also have offices in Laurel and Leonardtown.