As safe as most people think Buses can be, they are not immune to accidents. The Las Vegas Bus Accident Guide was created by Personal Injury Lawyer Craig Murphy to help those who have been seriously injured in a bus crash.
Buses can be the most convenient forms of transportation for so many people in Nevada. We rely on public transport to be a safe and reliable method, but when a bus crashes, it can be devastating. Whether you were a passenger on the bus, or sharing the road with one, these crashes can cause serious injuries to all involved. You may be left unable to return to work, provide for your family, or participate in normal daily activities. In these circumstances, you may be hoping for compensation for your injuries and damages. Speaking to a Las Vegas bus accident attorney who is familiar with these cases may be the best move you could make after a collision.
Bus Accidents in Nevada
News flash: more and more people in Las Vegas and Clark County are riding the CAT buses. Southern Nevada’s line of RTC buses (CAT buses) make up the majority of public transit in the Las Vegas area, and almost 180,000 commuters ride at least one RTC transit bus each day. School buses and tour buses are also everyday sites on the roads of Las Vegas, allowing students and vacationers alike to travel throughout the city.
Despite the fact that an increase in public transit use means fewer vehicles on the roads, buses can still be involved in accidents. In 2010, there were 435 accidents in Nevada that involved buses. There was one bus accident related fatality and over 100 of the accidents resulted in injuries to passengers, drivers, and/or pedestrians.
You should hire a bus accident attorney if you have been injured in a bus collision or accident. Whether you were a passenger on the bus involved in an accident or the driver of a private vehicle that collided with a bus, the experienced Las Vegas bus accident attorneys at Murphy & Murphy will provide you with the guidance and support that you need to investigate and pursue legal action.
What Are the Most Frequent Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents occur when a public transit bus, school bus, or similar commercial vehicle crashes into a pedestrian, animal, nonmoving object, or another motor vehicle. Because these accidents are diverse, any combination of factors can result in a bus accident. The most common basis is human error; bus drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or other nearby drivers may make unsafe choices that cause a collision. A pedestrian may suddenly walk into the road, leaving the bus driver either to strike the pedestrian or swerve out of the way and collide with a car or object. The bus driver or the driver of a car close by may drive recklessly triggering a crash when one of the vehicles stops short or abruptly changes lanes. Buses tend to make wide turns, and a car that fails to yield to a turning bus can easily cause a crash. Though a rare occurrence, a bus driver may be too tired to focus or too intoxicated to effectively operate the bus, and even a split second distraction may have major consequences.
Some bus accidents, however, have little to do with the actions of the bus driver or other parties. A bus may collide with another vehicle if it has been improperly maintained, breaks may fail, the driver could lose steering, or a tire may blow out, sending the bus careening into another vehicle.
Because “bus accident” is an umbrella term, it can refer to motor vehicle collisions as well as to injuries caused by faulty equipment inside a bus. A wheelchair lift can unexpectedly stall, stranding a passenger with a disability outside the bus in the hot Las Vegas sun. A bus seat can become dislodged, forcing a passenger to fly forward. A handle make break lose or break, instantly leaving the standing customers with nothing to hold onto as they stumble around the bus. These are but a few examples of the many potential problems that can lead to injuries while on the bus or in a bus accident.
Could I Potentially Be At-Fault in a Bus Accident?
It is rare for a pedestrian or passenger to be responsible for a bus accident. The fault instead is typically that of the bus driver, a third-party driver, the bus company, the bus manufacturer, the company that maintains and repairs the bus, and even the school district or city government. An unruly passenger or careless pedestrian may distract the bus driver long enough to cause an accident, but the majority of cases are based on the failure of bus operators or owners to follow safety precautions and rules.
Buses and bus companies are known as “common carriers” according to Nevada law. Common carriers owe the highest duty of care to protect their passengers. Bus companies must use the utmost care and diligence to protect their passengers. As a result, what the bus company or driver did or failed to do and caused an accident and injuries is very important. Insurance adjusters for bus companies often fail to recognize the bus company’s higher duty of care and improperly deny legitimate claims.
As in car accident cases, it is extremely important that you collect as much evidence as you can once the bus accident has occurred. Take photos, collect the contact information of witnesses, and record notes about the details of the accident. Unlike car accident cases, though, the company that manages the bus will soon step in, conduct an investigation of its own, and argue that it is a barely or not at all responsible for the bus accident. Though the statute of limitations to file personal injury cases in the Las Vegas area and Nevada is two years, the longer you wait to hire an attorney, the easier it will be for the bus company’s representative or insurance adjuster to selectively collect information that can eliminate or reduce their responsibility.
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metro area, or elsewhere in Nevada, time is of the essence to a hire an attorney. Bus companies have a duty to ensure safe passage for schoolchildren, commuters, and tourists that rely on buses for transportation. The companies that run these buses should take responsibility when they fail to take the utmost precautions to protect their passengers. Whether you are a Las Vegas resident or tourist, our office handles bus accident cases regularly. Craig Murphy of Murphy & Murphy Law Offices will gladly help you in your case if you were injured in Las Vegas or Nevada because of a bus accident.
Frequently Asked Questions | Las Vegas Bus Accident Guide
What Do I Do After a Bus Accident Injury?
When someone has been hit by a bus and severely injured, you may think, what should I do? People ask this question quite often, and this is my advice to everyone who has been hit by a bus. You need to hire an attorney to represent you. Not all claims where people have been hit need an attorney. However, when you’ve been hit by a bus, almost all of those claims are going to require an attorney. The reason is that the bus companies aggressively defend these cases. They will come in and have pictures of the front of the bus, which doesn’t look like it’s been damaged at all. It’s not damaged at all, but your car has been totaled and you’ve been severely injured.
The only way that you are going to get the full and fair value of your claim is to get an attorney who deals with these bus companies on a regular basis, an attorney who is board certified and who has trial experience. In most instances, a lawsuit is going to be required. You’re going to have to have somebody who knows how to prepare your case and get it ready for trial. Until the bus company and its insurance companies know that you are ready, willing, and able to go to trial, they won’t come to the table with the full and fair value of the compensation for all the damages that you’ve suffered.
What Should I Know About Bus Accident Injuries?
Obviously, if the bus driver does something wrong and causes a car crash and you’re thrown out of your seat and seriously injured, you’re entitled to compensation because that driver was negligent in the way they drove. Those are what we call easy decisions.
Another type of accident or collision that can be involved is where someone may come over and cut off the bus, and the bus driver must slam on the brakes. Who’s responsible? Is it the driver of the vehicle who cut off the bus, or is it the bus driver? The bus company will obviously argue that it was the other driver, and that the bus driver acted appropriately and was not negligent. What if the other guy just cut him off and drove away, you might not know who it is. Is the bus company going to be responsible for that? That’s going to take a lot of investigation. There are a lot of aspects that are going to be involved in that, and you need to have an attorney who has the skill and experience of dealing with this.
There are other types of claims that are common relating to bus accidents. For example, if you are disabled in any way and you have a wheelchair, or a scooter, or a motorized wheel chair and you come on and the bus driver does not make sure that you’re properly secured, and then they make an abrupt turn or slam on the brakes, and all of a sudden, you chair, or device flips over and lands on top of you and injures you, there may be a claim against the bus company. They may have violated their own policies and procedures in guarding your safety once you’re on that vehicle.
There are many types of liability. Each claim is individual and must be looked at under the facts and what has happened to you by an experienced attorney.
What Role Does a Bus Company Insurance Have?
If you’ve been hurt while being a passenger on a bus, or a bus has run into you and you’ve been injured, you might wonder, do these bus companies have special insurance? Here’s what you need to know: In Las Vegas, the bus companies are owned by private individual companies; they are not run by the city or the county. That’s to your benefit because they don’t have limited liability. They have specific insurance companies that give them various layers of insurance coverage. Depending on how badly you were hurt, and how bad your injuries and damages are, even out into the future, these factors may affect the various levels of insurance that are involved.
You need an attorney who knows how to properly evaluate your claim to make sure that the proper notifications are given to every layer and every level of insurance, to ensure that your compensation for your injuries and damages are adequate to protect you.
How are Bus Accident Claims Different from Car Accidents?
In Nevada, bus injury claims differ in many aspects from car crash claims or car accidents. The reason is that there can be numerous defenses that the bus company and their insurance company will come up with to claim that they are not responsible for your injuries. The question is, are those defenses correct? Are they proper in your case? If not, what do you need to do to be able to get compensation for your injuries? The only way that you can do that is to get an attorney who deals with bus accidents on a regular basis.
If you’ve been injured in any way in a bus accident, please feel free to call Murphy & Murphy Law Offices. We will do an evaluation and develop a plan specifically for you on how to go forward to get you compensation for your injuries and your damages.
Who Are the Liable Bus Accident Parties?
If it is an accident or crash that involves multiple vehicles and multiple parties, there could be various people that have various levels of responsibility. It’s not something that you can just say, “I was injured on the bus; the bus company is responsible for it.” That’s not how it works in Nevada. There is not strict liability. Strict liability is this: I was injured on a bus and because of that, the bus company and its insurance company have to pay. You only get compensation in Nevada if someone was negligent and their negligence is the cause of your injuries and your damages.
You need an attorney who can get involved from the beginning and determine who was negligent and who was responsible for your injuries and damages. Whether it’s multiple parties or whether it’s just the bus company, that determination needs to be made. If you don’t get involved and hire an attorney right from the beginning, a lot of the evidence could be lost.
What if I’m a Passenger Injured on a Bus?
If the bus driver very clearly has done something to cause your injuries, the bus company and the bus driver could be responsible for that. However, let’s take a different scenario: somebody in front of the bus or on the side of the bus decides to change lanes and cuts them off, and forces the bus driver to slam on his or her brakes. That might not be the bus company’s fault. That is the other driver, and if they drive off and go away, regardless of how badly you’ve been hurt, you may not get compensation from the bus company.
Just because you’re on the bus, doesn’t mean that the bus company is automatically responsible for your injuries. That is why you’re going to require an attorney who deals with bus collisions and bus accidents on a regular basis. They’re going to have the specialized knowledge of how to deal with the bus company and the bus company’s insurance company.
Do I Have a Claim in a School Bus Injury?
If your child has been injured while on a school bus, people will want to know, “Am I entitled to any type of compensation?” Yes, you are. It depends on the facts of the school bus accident and who is at fault, but there are a couple of aspects to this that require you to contact an attorney and get appropriate legal advice. Here’s why.
The school bus is owned and operated by the school district. They are given protections under the laws of the state of Nevada, and there are certain requirements that you have to comply with in order to make a claim against them. To make sure that you do not lose the opportunity to get compensation for your child who’s been injured, you need to talk to an attorney to make sure that the proper notifications are given. In addition, there could be other vehicles that are involved that are either fully or partially at fault in causing that bus crash and injuring your child while they are on the bus. Notifications and time frames also apply to them, so you need to have an attorney right away.
What if your child has been injured but it’s not a crash? Something unusual has happened on that bus; they’ve been attacked by a gang of other students, etc. Who’s responsible? You need to contact an attorney right away because there could be video on that bus that is very critical, and there could be situations where the bus driver and the school district knew of problems and they failed to act. You need somebody who has the ability to get that information and build your claim to protect the interest of your child.
How Do I Start a Bus Accident Claim?
First, you must make sure that you tell that bus driver that you have been injured. You need an incident report that has been made by the bus company.
The next thing that you want to do is get all the medical care and treatment needed to take care of your injuries, but you also want to make sure that you get a hold of an attorney very early on. Not all accidents require an attorney right away, but a bus accident will. You need someone to put the bus company and the insurance company on notice of your claim. You need to tell them to preserve all of the video that is available on that bus from the DriveCam. If you haven’t filled out an incident report, and you haven’t contacted them and made sure that they preserve that video, after a certain amount of time, that video will be erased and the critical evidence to prove your case may be lost.
What Damages Are Available After a Bus Accident?
There are various answers to that question, and it depends on what the facts of your case are. If you’ve been hit by a bus, they must repair or replace your vehicle. You’re entitled to get compensated for your personal injuries and damages. If you were a passenger, you’re entitled for compensation for your injuries. You’re going to be just like somebody who was in a car that was injured.
Here are the various areas of compensation that you’re entitled to receive for your injuries and damages. First, there are your personal injuries. Whether you have broken bones, needed surgery, etc., you’re entitled to get reimbursed for all your medical and out-of-pocket expenses. If you have been unable to work for any period, you’re entitled to get paid back for all of your lost wages. If you had to lose or use up your vacation time because you were in the hospital or you had surgery, you’re entitled to get that vacation time back.
If you have very serious injuries where you have future damages that are going out into the future, whether it’s personal injuries, pain and suffering, disability, scarring, loss of income, reduction in your ability to earn an income, all of those are various areas of damages that you are entitled to be compensated for because of the negligence of the bus company. The only way that you’re going to figure out what all of that adds up to, and how it has impacted your life, is by contacting an attorney who is skilled and experienced in dealing with the bus company.
What Are the Time Limits for Filing a Bus Accident Claim?
When you have an injury claim against the bus company, you will want to know how much time you have to make your claim or file a lawsuit. In Nevada, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years. You have two years in which to settle your claim or to file a lawsuit. If you haven’t filed your lawsuit or settled your claim before two years, on the two-year anniversary date of that collision, you will have lost all of your opportunity or chance to get compensated, unless you were under 18 at the time of the collision. That’s a different set of circumstances.
Just because you have two years, doesn’t mean you should wait till the end. In a bus accident or bus collision, investigation and preservation of evidence is absolutely critical. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident claim, you need to hire an attorney right away. They have to take immediate steps to conduct an investigation and place the bus company and its insurance carrier on notice. If you don’t do that early on, a lot of critical evidence has been lost or could be lost. Even though you have two years to file the lawsuit, do not think that you have two years to contact an attorney.
if you were involved in a crash with a bus and were injured, and it’s been more than a year, a year and a half, or even approaching two years, don’t think that your claim has been lost. Still contact Murphy & Murphy and we will go through the process. We will make sure that your rights are protected. If you have questions, feel free to give us a call.
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