Summer is officially ending in a few short weeks, but most schools are back in session, vacations are over, and more people are returning to the office as the world continues to reopen after extended COVID-19 shutdowns. This means increased traffic on city streets and highways across the country. It also means more accidents.
Bus accidents are one of the most dangerous types of traffic collisions, far worse than a typical fender bender between two cars. Since buses carry numerous passengers and are much larger than an average car or SUV, the likelihood of significant injuries is greatly increased. A school bus, for example, may weigh about 24,000 pounds. A Greyhound bus carrying passengers and luggage may weigh approximately 44,000 to 48,000 pounds! When a bus collides with another vehicle or with a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcyclist, the results can be catastrophic.
If you’ve been involved in a bus accident, whether as a passenger, another motorist, or a pedestrian or cyclist, this can be a very confusing time. You may be overwhelmed and frustrated, unsure of what you can do to protect your health and your interests. The following five steps can help you take charge of the situation and put yourself in a position where you have the best chance at healing and recovering compensation to put your life back on track.
1. Stay at the Scene & Render Aid
After a bus accident, safety should be your top priority. Call 911 to report the accident so emergency personnel can arrive as quickly as possible. This is particularly important if the crash is blocking traffic or if anyone has been seriously injured. When you don’t need emergency medical care, taking the time to report the accident to the police will help ensure that a report is filed. While the bus driver will likely be reporting the accident to authorities and their supervisors, don’t simply assume they will.
If you are well enough and it is reasonably safe to do so, remain at the scene and help others. You may need to exit the bus if you see smoke or flames, or if it is in a hazardous position. Try to remain calm and help anyone who needs assistance.
If you were driving and your vehicle was involved in an accident with a bus, stay at the scene to exchange information with the bus driver and any other involved parties. Each state has hit and run laws that prohibit people from leaving the scene of a traffic accident without exchanging information with the other party (or parties) and rendering aid, if possible. There are exceptions and instances where you may need to leave, however. This may apply if you were severely injured and were taken from the scene by emergency personnel.
In these situations, the best thing to do is to remain calm and think about your safety and the safety of others.
2. Gather Evidence
If you can, start gathering information and evidence. This is a step you can take while you’re still at the scene, and it may have a significant impact on your resulting case. Take photos of the scene, vehicles involved, and any visible injuries you have sustained. Get other passengers’ contact information and the information of the bus driver, emergency personnel, and others that arrive on the scene.
3. Seek Medical Attention
You should seek medical attention after any serious accident if you are injured. As a bus passenger or an occupant of another vehicle, you could have experienced whiplash or another soft tissue injury that is not immediately apparent, compared to an obvious injury such as a broken bone. It may take hours or days for symptoms to arise, and early medical intervention can help you avoid further injury. Once you’ve seen a doctor, be sure to follow their treatment plan.
4. Keep Detailed Records
Receipts, bills, notes, and other documents related to the bus accident should be kept organized and safe. Make sure you collect records that may help you and your attorney determine the financial damages you suffered because of the collision. This includes visits to your doctor, physical therapy sessions, repairs to your vehicle, and any other accident-related costs. If you’re concerned about losing paper copies of important documents, scan them into the computer or take pictures of them with your cell phone. Every detail counts!
5. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Very few bus accident claims are straightforward. None are simple. You will likely face opposition from the company responsible for operating the bus and the insurance company responsible for paying your claim. What’s more, you may miss out on compensation from liable parties that you didn’t identify, such as the bus manufacturer. An attorney is best qualified to protect your best interests so you can start to rebuild and move on.
With a proven trial lawyer in your corner, you’ll have an advocate who can:
- Handle all communication with the insurance company, the bus company, the police, and other parties.
- Conduct an investigation to determine what caused the accident and who should be held liable in court.
- Determine the full and fair value of your claim, based on current and future medical bills, lost earnings, emotional trauma, property damage, and more.
- Negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to civil court in order to recover the compensation you deserve.
While you focus on healing, your attorney can handle everything else.
Fighting for Bus Accident Survivors & Victims’ Families
According to the latest bus accident statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 10,100 buses were involved in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2020. This was a significant drop from 2019, where over 18,000 buses were involved in crashes. The drop can be attributed to pandemic-related restrictions and shutdowns, which started in March of 2020. In 2021, we can most likely expect to see bus accident statistics rise again with charter, school, and commuter buses back on the roads again.
At Arnold & Itkin, we are proud to represent bus accident survivors and families who have lost loved ones to carelessness, negligence, and wrongdoing. When bus collisions needlessly injure people and claim lives, our personal injury attorneys stand up and fight for what’s right. We face off against the largest corporations and their teams of attorneys to help our clients get answers and recover the type of compensation that changes their lives for the better.
To find out more about bus accidents and what you should do if you’ve been injured, call (888) 493-1629 or contact us online.