Bus Accident Lawyer in Springfield, Il
Bus accidents can involve city buses, tour buses, charter buses, and school buses. According to a report that includes NSC statistics, your chances of dying in a bus accident in any given year are about one in 13,765,300. Compare this to your odds of dying in a regular auto accident—one in 18,575. The Illinois Department of Transportation recently reported that in the year 2020, only 375 collisions involving school buses occurred in Illinois which included only one fatality.
The statute of limitations for filing a claim involving injuries sustained in a bus accident can be extremely confusing. If the bussing 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, and the government may be self-insured (lending complexity to any uninsured motorists’ claims).
Bussing accidents, while somewhat rare in comparison with other traffic collisions, require skilled legal expertise. The Noll Law Office has knowledgeable lawyers to help if you’ve been injured in a bus accident. 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.
What Are the Common Causes of Bus Accidents?
The driver of the bus could be responsible for the accident due to driver distraction, impairment, inexperience, speed, carelessness, or recklessness.
A bus accident could also be caused by any of the following:
- The bus was in a heavily populated area and had little room to maneuver.
- Inclement weather or dangerous or defective road conditions caused the accident.
- 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.
Oftentimes, the bussing accident is caused by another motorist. 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. A competent lawyer can help you file a “miscellaneous remedies” action to push the insurance companies into dealing with the numerous claimants.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Following a Bus Accident?
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) that 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, etc.), and other processes.
Less severe injuries, such as soreness and whiplash can often be remedied through physical therapy exercises to increase range of motion, strength, and other functional losses caused by the bus accident. This is why it’s 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. Certain types of injuries might not be obvious immediately following the bus accident.
What Should I Do Following a Bus Accident?
The steps you take following your bus accident can impact your right to recovery. To protect your rights and ensure you receive full compensation, take these steps following your bus accident.
- Call 911 after the collision;
- Obtain immediate medical care at the nearest medical facility;
- If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident and obtain witness contact information; and,
- Contact a private bus accident lawyer as soon as possible after you have received medical treatment.
What is the Bus Accident Injury Claim Process?
Your attorney will conduct an initial investigation into the collision. Often, 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.
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, 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.
How is Fault Determined in Springfield, IL Bus Accidents?
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.
- Credentials of the driver are important, as is driver training. The bus company must verify these skillsets.
- 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 bus accident lawyer from 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.
Do 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 is 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 on whether you have a claim, please contact the Noll Law Office and they can let you know during a free initial consultation.
How the Noll Law Office Will Help
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.