A bus accident can be catastrophic and complex because of the number of people potentially injured in an accident. Passengers on the bus and in other vehicles, as well as pedestrians, can be seriously injured or killed. Those who seek justice for their injuries and losses can find themselves dealing with a corporation or local government bureaucracy intent on protecting itself above all else.
The negligence that often leads to a bus accident and injuries may be the fault of the bus driver, the bus company or another party. If you have been injured in a bus accident in Indiana, whether while riding a bus or in another vehicle, you may have a right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other losses. Contact a bus injury attorney to review your claim and discuss your legal options.
Experienced Indianapolis Bus Accident Lawyers
In Indiana, the bus accident attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC work to recover compensation for injured bus riders, pedestrians, drivers and others involved in bus crashes. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a child who was injured in a school bus accident, you can sue on your child’s behalf if your child is younger than 18 years old. We can assist you after a bus accident involving a municipal bus, such as an IndyGo rapid transit bus in Indianapolis, a school bus or a private motorcoach.
It is important to begin work on a bus accident claim as soon as possible to allow a proper investigation while evidence is available. In cases against local government bus operators, a notice of a claim is required within 180 days (six months) of the accident. Therefore, it is important to work with an experienced bus accident law firm that has the resources to investigate an accident and prepare a compelling case for compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bus accident in Indiana, you should speak to a bus accident lawyer at Craig, Kelley & Faultless as soon as you are able. Allowing us to review your case and set the legal process in motion within the first two weeks after your accident can lay the foundation for building a persuasive case for compensation.
Who Is at Fault in A Bus Accident?
It is helpful to work quickly after a bus accident to determine what happened and who is at fault. Our legal team moves promptly to:
- Photograph and measure the accident scene and secure any videotape evidence of the accident.
- Locate all witnesses and obtain their statements.
- Secure a court order to ensure that the bus is not touched until after our experts examine its tires, brakes and other mechanical components.
- Obtain access to the bus’s “black box” data recorder to gather information about the bus’s speed, steering and braking just before the crash.
- Obtain a court order for access to the bus driver’s log, driving record, employment record, communications with dispatch the day of the crash, and other key evidence.
Most bus accidents are caused by driver error. A driver may get into a collision or a single-vehicle accident. In addition, passengers can fall while boarding or getting off the bus due to a negligent driver allowing the bus to lurch, hitting a curb, or rounding a turn too fast.
The bus driver and the bus company or agency are likely to be defendants in a bus accident lawsuit. Employers of commercial bus drivers are responsible for their employees’ actions while on the job.
Others may have contributed to the bus accident, as well. Some bus accident investigations show that improper maintenance or a defective automotive system, part or component on a bus failed, and that contributed to the accident. The bus company or agency, as well as a manufacturer, may be held responsible for negligence in such a case.
Those at fault in a bus accident may include the:
- Bus driver. Bus accidents are often caused by distracted driving or fatigued/drowsy driving (particularly on interstate and tour buses). Sometimes a bus driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. In many cases, a bus accident is linked to speeding, following too closely, improper lane changes, driving too fast for traffic conditions, failing to slow down sufficiently for a turn or other driver errors.
- Another driver. If the driver of a car, truck, or motorcycle is responsible for the accident, his or her insurance provider may be legally compelled to compensate you through a bus injury claim.
- Bus operator. Many municipalities and other local governments operate public transit systems, and local school districts provide bus transportation to students. Interstate bus companies are known as motorcoach owners. Bus operators may be held liable for their employees’ negligence as well as for systemic negligence, such as hiring unqualified drivers, failing to drug test employees, neglecting vehicle maintenance or pushing a driver to violate hours-of-service rules that apply to drivers of passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles.
- Service vendor. Local governments, school districts and large corporations often outsource the work required to maintain their bus fleets. If contracted mechanics fail to meet maintenance schedules or perform inferior work and this is found to have contributed to the accident, the third-party vendor may be held liable.
- Manufacturers and retailers. If the failure of a defective product – brakes, tires, or steering systems – led to an accident, this would be cause for a product liability claim.
Lawsuits Against Governmental Agencies in Indiana
Personal injury and wrongful death claims against local governments – school bus and public transit bus operators – often have restrictions and tight notification deadlines that are unique to governmental agencies. They are based on the longstanding concept of “sovereign immunity,” which says state governments are entitled to legal protection from liability in many instances.
In Indiana, the state’s Tort Claims Against Governmental Entities and Public Employees Act exempts governmental entities and government employees who are acting within the scope of their duties from many types of injury claims. For example, they are exempt from liability for accidents due to highway or roadway design or maintenance, as long as the road is in a reasonably safe condition. Governmental agencies and employees are also exempted from claims based on the acts or failures of third parties that are not a government employee or agency.
While many types of claims are allowed, including bus accident lawsuits against government agencies, the Indiana law places restrictions on filing claims and what may be recovered. For unjust personal injuries or wrongful death, damages that may be recovered from a government agency are capped at $700,000. Punitive damages are not available.
Indiana law requires a claim against a county or municipal government to begin with an initial notice to the government body of a pending claim and to the Indiana Political Subdivision Risk Management Commission, which funds insurance for local governmental entities. The notice must be filed within 180 days of the injury for a claim to be considered.
What Damages Can I Recover from a Bus Accident Lawsuit?
Compensation recovered after a bus accident should ensure that you can pay bills and recoup expenses and losses caused by the accident and provide additional compensation for what you have gone through.
As your attorneys, we will calculate your losses and seek damages for:
- Medical expenses, from ambulance transport, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, medications, physical therapy and in-home care, if needed.
- Lost income, from missed work due to injury and future losses due to diminished earning capacity related to a disability.
- Property damage, such as vehicle repair or replacement if you were hit by a bus.
- Pain and suffering, including emotional pain.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Damages in a wrongful death claim are to compensate immediate family members for their loss of a loved one. This includes money for:
- Funeral costs.
- Burial expenses.
- Lost income and future earnings that would have supported the family.
- Loss of companionship, loss of support, or loss of affection.
Contact a Bus Accident Law Firm in Indianapolis Today
The experienced legal team at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC has the resources and skills to secure the evidence and identify all the potentially responsible parties after a tour bus accident, city bus accident or school bus accident in Indiana. We investigate accidents thoroughly and prepare each case thoroughly so that we pursue the full compensation available for bus accident victims.
Contact an Indianapolis bus injury lawyer as soon as you are able if you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident. Claims against a municipal bus operator or a county school district bus accident must be prepared under a strict statute of limitations, so don’t delay in reaching out to a qualified bus injury attorney.
Contact us today by telephone or online for a free consultation about your accident. If you are unable to come to us, we will come to you.