Bus accidents may result in some serious injuries that could even cause the death of the victims. Buses are common carriers and the drivers are expected by the law to exercise utmost caution and the highest degree of vigilance to avoid any accident that can put the lives of many people in danger.
In this article, we focus on the process of deciding the liability in bus accident cases.
How Is The Liability Of Bus Accidents Determined?
The following questions are relevant when it comes to determining the liability and responsibility of the damages to a bus accident victim.
- Was the bus owned by a public or private party?
- Was the plaintiff a passenger of the bus or was involved in the accident in some other way?
If the bus is owned by a government agency, the laws will not be the same as that in the case when the owner is a private party. If the accident was caused by the driver of a bus owed by a government agency, then the claim has to be brought against the government agency within six months from the accident date. If the settlement is over $50,000, then it can be paid in installments and the plaintiff cannot recover punitive damages. Although punitive damages can be awarded against the bus driver or some other public employee responsible for the accident, it cannot be awarded against the public entity itself. In some cases when the plaintiff is claiming that something other than the negligence in operation and maintenance of the bus caused the accident, a public agency may have some immunities that a private company wouldn’t have. For example, a government agency is immune from the liability for the negligence in the design of a bus route.
All of the aforementioned limitations do not apply when the bus is owned by a private entity.
Who Can A Bus Passenger Sue After An Accident?
There is no rule saying the bus passenger injured in an accident can only sue the bus driver or bus company for the accident simply because the bus driver may not always be at fault for the accident. The passenger injured in the accident can sue anyone responsible for their injuries including driver of the other vehicle if he/she caused the accident, a dangerous condition of a private or public property that led to the collision, or the manufacturer or supplier of the bus.
A bus accident lawyer can help you proceed with the bus accident lawsuit and get the compensation that covers all the damages.