Despite their convenience, any type of bus poses a serious risk to both passengers and other motorists. Due to their size, a bus involved in a crash often results in devastating and even life-threatening injuries, while its lack of seatbelts often cause harm to its passengers.
When a reckless, malicious, or careless bus driver causes a crash, any victim may have a legal right to request compensation. However, there are numerous avenues available for seeking recovery, which might confuse a potential claimant.
If you or a loved one was injured in a bus crash, it may prove beneficial to speak with a compassionate Michigan bus accident lawyer about your options before proceeding. A knowledgeable and skilled attorney could help to assess your circumstances and guide you through each step of the legal process to pursue the appropriate claim.
The Reasons for Bus Crashes in Michigan
Like any other automobile crash, the reasons behind a bus accident are virtually endless. However, there are common conditions for collisions and wrecks in Michigan, most of which stem for the negligence of a bus driver or other motorist. These include, but are not limited to:
- An inebriated driver or a driver on drugs
- Driver fatigue
- A distracted driver—for example, someone speaking with passengers, eating, or using their phone behind the wheel
- Inexperience or improper training
- Blind spots on a bus
- A disregard for road signage—such as stop signs, yield signs, and red lights
These and other circumstances for bus drivers and buses—such as Greyhound, SEMTA, and SMART—could result in a small fender bender or serious crash. However, even minor collisions may lead to serious injuries for passengers and motorists, which is why many bus accident victims reach out to a Michigan lawyer to discuss seeking compensation for their damages.
What to do After a Bus Crash
After a bus wreck, the most important thing for an injured person to do is seek medical attention. However, there are other essential steps following a crash that might help a passenger or injured motorist during a subsequent injury claim. This includes getting the contact information of anyone involved, as well as getting a copy of a police report.
Furthermore, a bus company’s insurance adjuster may try to take a recorded statement from an injured passenger, motorist, or pedestrian. Often, it is advisable for a victim to avoid giving a statement to an insurance adjuster or other investigators until they have spoken with their own attorney in order to protect their legal rights for the future. Similarly, an injured person may benefit from not signing any waivers offered to them by an insurer, as this may destroy any chance they have to seek compensation.
It may also a bus crash victim to reach out to a seasoned Michigan lawyer before deciding what to do next. A legal professional could advise them of their legal standing, gather and review evidence, and help them to decide how to proceed with filing a claim.
The Rights of Injured Passengers
There are two primary ways for a person injured in a bus accident to pursue compensation for their losses. For example, any injured passenger may be entitled to benefits through a no-fault insurance plan in Michigan—essentially, this plan allows the victim of a wreck to receive benefits regardless of who was to blame for an accident. This coverage also extends to pedestrians who do not have any form of auto-insurance and may cover medical expenses, wage loss, and more.
Often, the benefits offered any no-fault insurance may not cover the scope of an injured passenger’s damages—this is because many crashes leave a person with substantial losses professionally, personally, and financially. As a result, many bus accident victims seek the services of a dedicated Michigan lawyer to discuss their options to seek a civil lawsuit against any at-fault parties, such as the bus driver or their company. No matter the direction an injured person chooses, however, there are important time limits to keep in mind when filing a claim.
Compensation for Injuries in a Bus Wreck
There are numerous injuries a person may sustain following a crash, from minor scrapes, bruises, and sprains, to broken and fractured bones, scarring and disfigurement, spinal cord damage, and trauma to the head and brain. The ensuing medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and related expenses—such as those from home modifications, physical therapy, and other care—are often extensive.
Therefore, an injured claimant may include any and all of these expenses, as well as additional financial and non-economic losses. Lost wages due to missed time at work and decreased earning capacity are common damages added to a claim, for instance. Beyond this, an injured plaintiff may include emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship in a claim, among others.
However, some plaintiff’s may be unaware that they can include these losses in a claim or, if they are aware, are simply unable to determine how to calculate them. A detail-oriented and caring attorney could help to assess the extent of an injured claimant’s physical, financial, and psychological losses in order to request appropriate compensation.
Deadlines to File a Bus Collision Injury Claim
The statute of limitations sets a deadline for when any person injured in a bus accident—and other motor vehicle wrecks—may take legal action. In Michigan, this timeframe is three years from the date of the incident that resulted in a person’s injuries.
A one-year deadline also exists for filing a claim against an insurance company that refuses to pay no-fault insurance benefits. Because of these deadlines for taking legal action, a claimant may benefit from working with a tenacious bus crash lawyer to try to file a claim that satisfies the statute of limitations in Michigan.
Call a Michigan Bus Accident Attorney For Help
If you were injured in a bus crash, you may face a prolonged recovery period, extensive medical bills, and a feeling of hopelessness. However, if a negligent bus driver or other motorist was responsible for an accident, you may be able to pursue compensation through a no-fault insurance claim or a civil lawsuit.
Before proceeding with a claim, it is important to understand your legal options and decide how to best proceed, as well as the deadlines for taking legal action. A Michigan bus accident lawyer could help. An experienced attorney could work tirelessly to investigate the reasons for a wreck, gather the necessary evidence, and pursue a claim that suits your needs. To discuss your situation and determine if you have a viable claim, call a legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.
Michigan Bus Accident References and Resources