Bus accidents can involve school buses, charter buses, or buses used in public transportation. Regardless of the type of bus, they have one element in common: they are considerably larger and heavier than most passenger cars, and they are certainly considerably bigger than vehicles such as motorcycles. Because of that, a collision with one can result in significant and even catastrophic injuries.
If you were injured or a loved one died in a bus accident, consult the experienced Nebraska personal injury accident lawyers at The Robert Pahlke Law Group. The first consultation to discuss your case is always free. We can help you fight for justice.
What Should I Do After a Bus Accident?
If you or a loved one were in a bus accident, seek medical treatment immediately for any injuries. If you are visibly injured or feel injured, call an ambulance. It will take you to an emergency room. They will diagnose your injuries and treat them to ensure your safety. If necessary, they will treat your most immediate injuries and may recommend that you follow up with other doctors, such as surgeons or specialists.
Even if you don’t feel injured, see a doctor as soon as possible. Several injuries can occur without people realizing it, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and internal bleeding. A doctor can diagnose your injuries and treat them so that you aren’t at risk of further injuries without realizing it.
Then, contact our experienced Nebraska bus accident lawyers.
Nebraska is a fault state for car accidents. If someone causes an accident, they are liable for injuries that result specifically from the accident.
Because the party responsible for the accident may be liable for injuries, you may be entitled to compensation or damages from them—money to pay for both economic and non-economic damages. In Nebraska, an injured party may receive damage compensation for:
- Medical bills, including emergency room visits, doctor’s visits, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medication, medical devices, rehabilitative therapy, retrofitting a home to accommodate an injury and more
- Expected future medical bills, if your healthcare professionals think it likely they will occur
- Income lost from work, if the injury has caused you to lose time from work
- Expected future income lost from work, if the injury may cause you to lose time in the future
- Lost earning capacity, if the injuries have made you unable to return to your former job
- Pain and suffering
Many people may not realize the multiple types of compensation they may be entitled to for full justice to be done. An attorney can explain the extent of damages you may be able to claim.
Third, there are two ways to receive damage compensation. The first is to approach the at-fault party’s insurance company. This is known as a third-party claim. Your lawyer can negotiate a third-party claim. It is often very difficult to deal with insurance companies in a bus accident claim, and it isn’t advisable to try to go it alone.
Why? Because frankly, insurance companies often want to try and minimize your claim, or even deny it completely. They have a sophisticated arsenal of strategies to use. Our Nebraska bus accident lawyers have dealt with those strategies before, and can combat them. In addition, because multiple parties are often involved, all with their own insurance and respective degrees of liability, the claims can grow complicated fast.
The next step is often to file a personal injury suit. These are filed in civil court. In a personal injury suit, a court decides who was at fault, and determines the amount of compensation awarded. At times, this can be more advantageous than relying on an insurance company’s “best” offer.
Who Can Bear Responsibility for a Bus Accident?
Determining responsibility for a bus accident can be much more complicated than determining responsibility for a car accident. Why? Because there are many more parties usually involved in operating and owning a bus than a car.
Parties responsible or partly responsible for causing the accident can include bus drivers, if driver error such as speeding caused the accident, or bus owners if inadequate inspection, maintenance, and repair caused the accident, or drivers were insufficiently vetted and trained. School bus drivers must undergo training and licensing depending on the size of the bus in Nebraska.
Driving a vehicle with more than 16 passengers requires a commercial driver’s license from the state, as does driving a vehicle of a certain weight. Bus owners can include cities and other municipalities, school districts, and private charter companies.
Many times, however, bus owners contract out maintenance, inspection, and repair to specialized companies. If that has occurred, and an issue with inspection, maintenance, or repair caused the accident, those companies could be responsible.
If a defect or other issue in a bus’s manufacture or component parts caused an accident, the manufacturer of the bus itself or of those components could be responsible.
Finally, some bus accidents could be caused by poor road maintenance. If this occurs, the government entity responsible for road maintenance can be responsible. The potential government bodies responsible may include the State of Nebraska, cities, and counties.
Often, a bus accident needs to be investigated to determine the fault. An accident that may appear to be the fault of a driver running a stop sign, for instance, could in fact be a case of poorly maintained brakes that made it impossible to stop. In addition, there may be shared responsibility among the parties above.
Oftentimes, these parties will have different insurance companies and different insurance policies. If an accident is determined to be the fault of a driver, a bus owner, and a maintenance company, for instance, they may all have separate insurance carriers and different policies. This can make pursuing justice for your injuries very complicated.
An experienced lawyer can help with this complexity. First, they often work with investigative teams to determine the true cause of bus accidents. Second, they have experience working both with complicated third-party insurance claims and personal injury claims in court.
Contact Our Experienced Nebraska Bus Accident Lawyers Today
In just one year, 210 bus accidents occurred on Nebraska roads, according to the state Department of Transportation. These collisions were responsible for 66 injuries and one death. That means that an average of more than five people per month are injured by buses in our state every year. While these statistics are a fraction of the total 66,324 total vehicle collisions in Nebraska, which caused a total of 362 deaths and 23,519 injuries, a bus accident is nonetheless a potential tragedy.
If you or a loved one number among them and suffered injuries in a bus accident, we can help. Contact the Robert Pahlke Law Group online or call at (308) 633-4444 for a free consultation. We can discuss your case and help advise you of the best path forward.
Pahlke Law Group
2425 Circle Drive #200
Scottsbluff, NE 69361