Bus Accident Lawyers in Springfield, IL
Were You Injured in a Bus Accident in Illinois? Call our Bus Accident Lawyer in Springfield for Help
Bus accidents can involve city buses, tour buses, charter buses, and school buses. According to research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), each year there are roughly 5,000 large trucks and buses that were involved in fatal crashes. Specifically relating to bus accidents, these statistics also reveal that 38% of crashes involved school buses, 35% involved transit buses, 11% involved intercity buses, and the remaining were different types of buses. Similarly in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports there are approximately 1,850 bus accidents each year in Illinois, with almost 380 crashes (20%) involving school buses. Although many of these accidents may result in no injuries or minor damage, our bus accident lawyer in Springfield knows that some will cause catastrophic, disabling, and fatal injuries to innocent people.
That’s why the Noll Law Office takes all bus accidents very seriously. Their experienced bus accident lawyers in Springfield, Illinois have helped victims and their families after a negligent bus driver, bus company, or another third party caused serious or life-threatening personal injuries in a crash. They offer FREE case evaluations and consultations with victims and their families too, with no obligation to sign up or sign any documents. Rather, their compassionate staff will listen to how your accident occurred, learn about your injuries, and explain what your rights may be under Illinois law. If you choose to hire their personal injury law firm, and if they accept your case, there is also no upfront cost or financial risk to begin working with them because they only get paid after you get paid.
To learn more about your rights after a bus accident in Illinois, call to schedule your FREE case evaluation with the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at the Noll Law Office today. They would be happy to discuss your case during an initial free consultation so you can make sure that they are the right lawyers for you. They can be reached at (217) 414-8889.
What Are the Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Illinois?
There are many common causes of a bus accidents in Illinois. These include causes that are also not as obvious, such as mechanical errors or roadway maintenance mistakes. However, it is most likely that the driver of the bus could be responsible for the accident due to driver distraction, impairment, inexperience, speed, carelessness, or recklessness.
Some of the most common causes of a bus accident in Springfield could also be caused by any of the following:
- The bus driver fell asleep at the wheel from driving too many hours without adequate rest (hours of service violation)
- The bus was in a heavily populated area and had little room to maneuver (poor route planning by the bus carrier)
- Inclement weather or dangerous or defective road conditions caused the accident (a truck driver failing to slow down or stop when weather conditions require him or her to do so)
- There was an incorrect weight distribution in the bus that affected its overall stability
- Poor bus maintenance or defective parts caused the accident
- The bus company hired an inexperienced driver or failed to perform a thorough background check
- Passenger protection was lacking on the bus
- The bus company failed to train a bus driver and keep up his or her skills with regular training, assessments, and continuing education
A bus accident may also be caused by another motorist, sometimes referred to as a “third party” in an accident. The claims can become complex very quickly with potentially dozens of claimants vying over insurance coverage for payment of the injured persons’ medical bills. When this occurs, insurance companies sometimes refuse to pay out benefits on the grounds that there are “too many” claimants, which is not typically legal without court intervention. An experienced bus accident lawyer in Springfield can help you file a “miscellaneous remedies” action to push the insurance companies into dealing with the numerous claimants.
Common Injuries After a Bus Accident in Illinois
The injuries sustained in a bus accident will depend on many different factors, particularly speed and where the bus was impacted in the collision. Generally speaking, orthopedic injuries are the primary injuries caused by bussing accidents. Persons often sustain muscular, ligamental, or osseous damage that requires orthopedic care following a bussing accident.
Brain injuries can rarely occur when a passenger’s head strikes a hard object inside the bus, or the whiplash effect is significant enough to crush the brain into one or more sides of the skull. This can lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI) which can cause lifelong medical issues. The remainder of the central nervous system, the spinal cord, can also be injured. At times, the peripheral nervous system can also be impacted when nerves are pinched or compressed through inflammation, slipped discs (herniations, annular tears.), and other processes.
Specifically, some of the most common types of personal injuries after a bus accident in Illinois include the following:
- Amputations or the loss of a limb, especially the lower leg (which often is caught or crushed in a bus accident)
- Traumatic brain injuries including concussions, diffuse axonal injuries, coup-contrecoup TBIs, penetrating brain injuries, brain bleeds, and other damage to the brain
- Spinal cord injuries including paraplegia, quadriplegia, hemiplegia, or monoplegia
- Neck injuries and back injuries, including slipped discs, annular tears, disc herniations, compression fractures, and the need for a spinal fusion
- Broken bones, particularly to the wrist or forearm bones, or to the lower leg and ankle (tib-fib fractures)
- Internal injuries, including heart contusions, lung damage, kidney bruising, ruptured spleen or liver, GI injuries, and other damage to internal organs
- Nerve injuries, especially cranial nerve injuries from lacerations or brachial plexus nerve injuries to the shoulder
- Knee injuries, including fractures of the patella, distal quadriceps tears, meniscus tears, or torn ligaments including the ACL, PCL, MCL, or LCL
- Shoulder injuries, including SLAP tears, impingement, brachial plexus injuries, torn rotator cuffs, torn biceps, shoulder separations, shoulder dislocations, A/C joint injuries, and injuries
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Burn injuries from a fire or explosion in a bus crash
- Crushing injuries in a rollover or flip-over accident, and
- Many other types of personal injuries due to a bus crash that the experienced bus accident lawyer in Springfield at the Noll Law Office could recover for you.
Injuries that are “Mild” or “Minor”
After a serious bus accident, some doctors may label an injury as “mild” or “minor.” This is a term used for medical diagnosis, and it is not in any way a gauge of whether you have a personal injury claim available to you. The truth is that any injury could allow you to recover compensation. However, many of these less severe injuries, such as soreness and whiplash, can often be remedied through physical therapy exercises to increase the range of motion, strength, and other functional losses caused by the bus accident.
As a result, an insurance adjuster or defense lawyer will often offer you much less compensation for these types of injuries. Sometimes a case may be able to settle quickly, sometimes it may not. Although it is always important to seek immediate medical attention following the collision. Only a doctor or similarly competent medical professional can determine what treatment is best for you and whether your injuries are actually “mild” or “minor.” Certain types of injuries might not be obvious immediately following the bus accident, but could result in catastrophic and permanent disability, including spinal fusions.
When in doubt, after any injury from a bus accident that has caused you unexpected medical bills, lost wages, and conscious pain and suffering that is more than minor or slight, call an experienced bus accident lawyer in Springfield like one of the personal injury lawyers at the Noll Law Office to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Should I Do Following a Bus Accident in Illinois?
The steps you take following your bus accident can impact your right to recovery and your health. To protect your rights and ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation that you may be entitled to under the law, take these steps following your bus accident:
- Call 911 after the collision to get an official report to document the accident
- Obtain immediate medical care at the nearest medical facility to protect your health and create a record of your injuries
- If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident and obtain witness contact information (videos also work well)
- Contact an experienced bus accident lawyer as soon as possible after you have received medical treatment to assess your rights.
- Always follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations to protect your health. If your doctor is not recommending further treatment but you are still in pain, it may be a good idea to seek a second opinion.
What is the Bus Accident Injury Claim Process in Illinois
Your bus accident lawyer will conduct an initial investigation into the collision. Oftentimes the police investigation reports, photographs, videos, and other information will be reviewed to make a determination of how the accident occurred. Once the initial investigation is complete, your attorney will file a claim for coverage with the insurance company covering the at-fault driver. In some circumstances, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim may be filed. These claims are based on UM/UIM extra policies that you can take out for yourself and your family that can cover you for injuries or damages that exceed the defendant’s insurance coverage.
Settlement negotiations take place, taking into account a person’s medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, scarring, and other damages. If an agreement is not reached, a suit or arbitration will commence. Evidence will be presented in the form of witness testimony, physician depositions, photographs, videos, and any other information that your attorney believes is probative and related to the claim of injury.
These facts are weighed by what is known as a “trier of fact,” which is a jury or a judge in a bench trial. The trier of fact will render what is known as a verdict, which sets forth whether the plaintiff has proved his or her case, assesses the damages, and in some instances will proportion liability amongst multiple defendants.
How is Fault Determined in a Bus Accident in Springfield, IL
Generally, an initial police report investigates the case and determines what traffic violations were violated immediately prior to the collision. In extreme cases, a “crash reconstruction” report will be created by specially trained investigators, typically Illinois State Police investigators. Even when it appears that the bus driver is partially responsible for the accident, the bus company has specific obligations, including:
- The bus company has a duty to ensure all buses are properly maintained and safe for passengers.
- The credentials of the driver are important, as is driver training. The bus company must verify these skill sets
- The bus company is responsible for ensuring the driver is well-rested, is not engaging in distracted driving behaviors, and is not impaired.
- In some cases, a bus accident could be caused by a dangerous road or defective bus part. This could trigger a claim against those who designed or maintained the road, or a product liability claim against a part manufacturer.
Your experienced bus accident lawyer in Springfield, Illinois from the Noll Law Office can help you obtain the necessary investigative documents to determine who is liable for your injuries, and assist you in filing claims to cover the often overwhelming medical debt, lost wages, and other damages.
How Do I Know If I Have a Bus Accident Claim?
Your bus accident lawyer can help you determine whether you have a claim – and if so, what that claim may be worth. The first step is to determine who is liable and determine their applicable insurance policy. After that, it is important to ascertain your present and future medical expenses and lost wages. If you are unsure about whether you have a claim, please contact the Noll Law Office and they can let you know during a free initial consultation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Bus Accident Claim in Illinois?
Victims of a bus accident do not have long to file a claim for compensation. The statute of limitations for filing a claim involving injuries sustained in a bus accident can be extremely confusing too. If the bus company was run by a governmental entity, there may only be a one-year statute of limitations. There may be more than one insurance policy covering the busses involved in a crash, and the government may be self-insured (lending complexity to any uninsured motorists’ claims).
The best solution is to always contact an experienced bus accident lawyer in Springfield as soon as you are medically able to after a motor vehicle crash involving a bus. The clock is ticking right from the day of the accident, and if you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations period your claim will likely be dismissed.
Were You Injured in a Bus Accident in Illinois? Here’s How Bus Accident Lawyers in Springfield at the Noll Law Office Will Help You
Bus accidents are traumatic. Injuries are common, particularly given the lack of safety devices for passengers. Buses are also complicated to operate and maintain and require drivers and bus companies to drive defensively and inspect their vehicles constantly. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. And when that happens, far too often are innocent people – sometimes children – injured in preventable bus accidents in Illinois.
When this happens, you need to hire an experienced bus accident lawyer in Springfield, Illinois to represent you and your family. That does not mean hiring one of the largest law firms in Illinois, but hiring a law firm that treats you and your family with the respect and dignity that you deserve.
The Noll Law Office attorneys are fifth-generation Springfield attorneys. As such, they have deep roots in the community. The Noll Law Office lawyers seek positive outcomes for community members and neighbors, taking pride in Springfield and central Illinois’ shared history together. The attorneys at the Noll Law Office believe strongly in open, honest communication and genuinely care about you and your family. Experience the local difference. Contact Noll Law Office today for a free, comprehensive evaluation of your claim.