The massive size and weight of the buses we share our roads with and that transport us increase the risk that bus accidents will be especially dangerous. The physical, financial, and emotional losses associated with bus accidents tend to be considerable, and seeking just compensation is critical to your health and well-being. At Menges Law Firm in Illinois, we have a proven track record of successfully advocating for optimal claim outcomes that support our clients’ fullest recoveries.
Causes of Bus Accidents in Illinois
Bus accidents are often the result of bus driver negligence. Bus drivers are professional drivers who are held to stricter safety standards and are responsible for transporting people safely while skillfully navigating the roads they travel. Negligence in any of the following common forms can prove deadly:
Negligence on the part of other drivers can also lead to dangerous bus accidents.
Bus accidents aren’t always caused by the drivers themselves. Sometimes, factors like the following are at the heart of these accidents – or contribute to them:
- Inadequate maintenance, which is the responsibility of the entity that operates the bus line
- Faulty equipment, which is a product liability concern
- Poorly maintained roads, which the State of Illinois or the city or locality is responsible for
If you’ve suffered an injury in a bus accident, liability may lie with more than one party. Proving negligence in bus accidents is accomplished with evidence. Further, even if you share responsibility – of less than 50 percent – you can seek compensation for the percentage of fault the other party bears in the State of Illinois.
Types of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents come in a range of varieties, and each type is uniquely dangerous.
Collisions with other vehicles are a very common type of bus accident, and they can be caused by negligence on the part of the bus driver or on the part of the other driver involved. Collisions are often precipitated by changing lanes, taking a turn, or entering an intersection, and they can take all the following dangerous forms:
- T-bone accidents are most common in intersections, and they involve one vehicle driving headlong into the side of another, forming a T in the process.
- Rear-end accidents are most common in braking situations, such as in traffic or at stop signs or stop lights, and they are as dangerous as they are common.
- Sideswipe accidents involve one vehicle swiping the side of another, and they can occur anywhere – whenever an offending driver fails to control their vehicle safely.
Pedestrian and Bike Accidents
When a bus strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist, the damage is likely to be immense. Neither victim has any form of protection from the immense impact of the crash, and serious losses are common.
Buses are tall and relatively narrow vehicles, which leaves them more vulnerable to rollover accidents. Bus drivers are responsible for engaging in safe driving practices that reduce the risk of rollovers, but negligent practices like the following are often responsible:
- Taking turns or curves at speeds that are too high
- Being tripped by unyielding impediments, such as curbs, uneven roads, or road construction
- Failing to safely account for the dangerous effects bad weather has on the road
- Overcorrecting driving errors
When a bus rolls, it puts everyone on the bus and in the vicinity of the accident at considerable risk.
Damages in Bus Accident Cases
The legal damages or losses experienced in a bus accident can be overwhelming, and the basic categories of loss include the following:
- Property damage, such as if your vehicle and its contents are damaged in the course of the bus accident
- Medical expenses, which can include ongoing healthcare needs
- Lost income, which can extend to losses related to earning potential
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering, which should not be overlooked or minimized
While the first three forms of loss are calculated in accordance with the prices attached and are called economic damages, assigning a value to your pain and suffering is more challenging. A common process employed is called the multiplier method, which – very generally – involves assigning a number of 2 to 5 that aligns with the severity of the accident. This number is multiplied by the economic damages to arrive at a value for pain and suffering.
The bottom line is that obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is key to your recovery, and toward this end, working closely with an Illinois bus accident attorney from the outset is paramount.
Bus Accident Lawsuits in Illinois
The good news is that most bus accident claims settle out of court, but if the insurance company handling your claim isn’t interested in fair negotiations, filing a lawsuit may be in order. It’s important to keep in mind that there is a two-year statute of limitations in Illinois for bus accidents involving private bus lines. If, however, the city or another government agency operates the bus service in question, the statute of limitations can shrink to just one year.
The discovery phase involves gathering all the available evidence in the creation of a strong case, including:
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Hiring expert witnesses
- Gathering all relevant photos, videos, and dashcam and security camera footage
- Having accident recreation models constructed
- Gathering physical evidence from the scene
- Compiling your relevant medical records and doctor’s report
- Proving the extent of your lost wages
A trial is an exacting legal process, but until the case is finalized, there is always the opportunity for a settlement to be reached. Public transportation companies and their insurance providers are often more motivated to negotiate when a trial is looming.
Having a seasoned Illinois bus accident attorney in your corner can be the deciding factor when it comes to your ability to recover the full and fair value of your claim.
Contact an Experienced Bus Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, the most important move you can make – after seeking the medical attention you need – is consulting with a seasoned Illinois bus accident attorney. At Menges Law Firm in Illinois, we will leave no stone unturned in our skilled pursuit of your case’s most advantageous resolution. To learn more about what we can do to help, don’t wait to contact or call us at 618-627-5724 today.