Every day, millions of commuters in the U.S. use public transportation, and school buses transport our children to and from class. These commuters include the tens of thousands of Illinois residents and visitors who use bus transportation operated by CTA, PACE, Greyhound, Megabus, and others. Every parent of the schoolchild and commuter expects that they will reach their destination safely on a well-maintained bus operated by a properly licensed and trained driver. Unfortunately, bus accidents still occur too often.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of bus accidents and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for our clients whose injuries are caused by the negligent actions of others. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions on how to receive the monetary compensation you deserve if another individual or entity caused your injuries. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
A Major Metropolitan Hub
Chicago is one of America's busiest metropolitan areas where commuters have access to major mass transit systems to get around. Many commuters use city buses to travel to and from work within the city limits and out into the Chicago suburb as far north as the Wisconsin State line and as far south as Joliet.
To ensure public safety, the Illinois legislature has enacted numerous laws on regulating the use of buses within the state that are owned, managed, and operated by government agencies and private companies.
A Specialized License
Bus drivers are required to have a specialized driver's license to operate the commercial vehicle after passing a knowledge test and a driving test through the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, bus drivers operating childcare vehicles must meet special requirements that include:
- All childcare bus driver applicants must be at least 21 years old
- Maintain a clean driving record
- Pass an FBI and Illinois specific criminal background check that involves a fingerprint check
- Complete a certification course and bus driver training
- Agree to undergo a comprehensive medical examination that might identify health problems that could affect the bus driver's capacity to drive safely
For further information on the laws that apply to operating a school bus, applicants can contact:
The Secretary of State
Driver Services Department
2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy.
Springville, IL 62723
The Kinds of Buses That are Involved in Crashes
The sheer weight and size of the bus and a lack of access to seatbelts often cause devastating injuries and death of victims involved in a crash. The most common types of buses involved in accidents due to driver negligence or other factors include:
- City buses including those in the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) and PACE Suburban Bus systems
- Shuttle buses
- School buses
- Regional transportation buses to the suburbs and rural areas
- Coach/touring buses
- Greyhound another large national bus companies
Determining who is at Fault
Typically, any accident involving a bus can be catastrophic, leaving victims suffering severe injuries or deaths at the scene. The bus accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC fight aggressively on behalf of our clients to ensure every party responsible for their injuries is held legally accountable. The common defendants in our lawsuits include:
- The bus driver,
- The private or public bus company,
- All entities with a contractual agreement to repair or maintain the bus,
- The government agency legally responsible for providing transportation to children and adults that might involve a town, city, county, or state agency,
- The bus manufacturer,
- Government Road maintenance agencies,
- Other motorists sharing the roadway,
- Any other party involved directly or indirectly with the accident.
Proving a Case for Compensation
By law, every injured victim filing a case for compensation must prove four elements to successfully resolve their claim. These elements include:
- The accident occurred because of involvement by one or more parties listed as defendants;
- The actions of the defendants were negligent;
- The negligent actions of the defendant because of the victim's injuries;
- The victim's injuries are real.
To successfully resolve your case, we will build a claim for compensation based on Illinois tort law including product liability, negligence, or breach of contract or warranty. We provide adequate evidence to the insurance company during a negotiation settlement or to the jury at trial that the bus accident occurred because:
- The bus operator did not comply with Illinois rules of the road;
- The bus was traveling too fast to handle the current road or weather conditions;
- The bus driver was impaired at the time of the accident due to the use of alcohol or drugs;
- The bus company failed to adequately train the bus operator to ensure they could drive the bus safely;
- The bus operator was distracted when the accident occurred because he or she was talking on the phone, eating food, speaking to passengers, texting, or reading email;
- The roadways were poorly maintained by the local government agency;
- Inclement weather caused the bus to swerve off the road unexpectedly;
- The accident occurred because of a defective design or malfunctioning piece of equipment under the control of the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or seller;
- The actions of another motorist in a car, truck, commercial vehicle, or semi-tractor-trailer because of the crash.
School Bus Crashes are a Serious Concern
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), more than 130 individuals die each year in school bus-related accidents. Approximately 8% of the fatal victims were riding in a school bus at the time the crash occurred. Another 21% were walking or riding a bicycle in proximity to the bus when the event happened. More than 70% of the remaining victims were traveling and other vehicles when the collision with the bus transpired.
According to statistics, merely 1700 accidents involving school buses occur every year in Illinois. Although there were more than 175 injuries, no school-age children or bus drivers were killed in a school bus accident in Illinois in 2015.
Illinois Statute of Limitations Involving Government Entities
Any victim or the family members of a deceased loved one who is injured or killed in a bus accident can file a case for compensation to ensure they receive monetary recovery for their damages. However, Illinois law restricts the amount of time you have to submit your case in a county courthouse. The state's statute of limitations mandates the filing of all lawsuits within two years from the date of the bus crash and only one year if the lawsuit involves a government or state entity.
This means that you must file your claim for compensation against a school district, state college, or public transportation system within one year of when the accident occurred. Not filing in time could forfeit your opportunity to ever seek compensation from any party in the future.
There are exceptions to the statute of limitations law. However, the civil tort law is complicated and usually requires the expertise of a personal injury attorney who specializes in bus accident injury cases to decipher.
How Much is my Case Worth?
Predicting how much you receive in a negotiated settlement or jury trial award can be complicated. The facts and evidence involved in every case, including yours, are unique. However, personal injury attorneys who specialize in commercial vehicle accidents have proven methods to calculate how much you should expect to receive when your claim is resolved. Your attorney will calculate certain factors to determine the worth of your case that includes:
- Your past hospitalization bills,
- Your ongoing medical expenses,
- Your need for future physical therapy, rehabilitation, and surgical procedures to improve your health,
- Your lost wages due to time away from work because of your temporary or permanent disabilities,
- The loss of your ability to earn a living in the future at your same pay level due to your permanent or temporary disabilities acquired during the accident,
- Funeral expenses and burial costs involved in wrongful death lawsuits,
- Non-economic damages including the pain, suffering, mental anguish, grief, anxiety, and emotional trauma you have experienced because of your injuries or the death of a loved one killed in the accident.
Previous Illinois Bus Accident Settlements and Jury Verdicts
Your lawyer may review the settlement and jury verdict amounts that other plaintiffs have received in cases that are similar to yours to determine what you should expect to for your damages. Some recent jury trial awards have included:
- $24 million – The Chicago area jury awarded and the eight-year-old plaintiff a substantial monetary verdict after he was struck by a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) bus leaving him with motor impairment and permanent brain damage. The boy was hit while crossing the road in a school zone crosswalk.
- $1.2 million – A Chicago area jury awarded a female plaintiff who suffered injuries after being struck by a private bus.
- $7 million – A Chicago area plaintiff received a sizable jury verdict award when the jurors agreed that a bus operator was at fault for causing the woman's permanent brain damage while she was walking inside a marked crosswalk.
- $6.5 million – An Illinois jury found for a 55-year-old plaintiff who alleged that a CTA a bus driver made a tight turn inside the crosswalk, hitting her, and crushing her legs.
- $2.77 million – A 24-year-old female plaintiff was awarded a sizable verdict after losing the skin (degloving) on her legs when pinned by a bus against a barrier while the driver was making a right-hand turn.
- $5 million – A Chicago area jury awarded a plaintiff a sizable verdict after the juror was struck by a bus and acquired permanent injuries.
How Our Legal Term can Help
The bus accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help you with your Illinois bus accident case by guaranteeing you receive:
- Ongoing open communication
- Access to all necessary resources including upfront funding, medical expert testimony, and experienced investigators.
The Experience to Succeed
If you choose to let us represent you in your bus accident case, then we will use our years of experience and history representing plaintiffs with similar legal issues. We use that knowledge to settle your case quickly or build a case to ensure a substantial jury award if your lawsuit goes to trial. From day one, we will develop an effective plan of attack to maximize your recovery to ensure your family receives the compensation they deserve.
Access When it Counts
We offer significant advantages to provide legal representation and guarantee constant access to our experienced group of attorneys. Communication is essential because knowledge about your case will empower you. At every stage of a lawsuit, you need to understand what is happening. Our law firm will make sure you are well informed throughout the entire process.
Also, as we do with every other client, we will invest all resources necessary to ensure you fully recover your damages. Finally, we do not charge any client for anything unless they receive a settlement or award.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC Makes the Difference
You already have been the victim of a traumatic bus accident and should not have to take on more debt to receive justice. Be assured that you will not have to pay any upfront fees to file, negotiate a settlement or resolve your case in court.
The bus accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand that the accident was not your fault but the responsibility of the other driver, company or entity. We have successfully obtained millions on behalf of the victims and their family members to ensure they were adequately compensated to cover their medical expenses, household bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, and emotional damage and we can help your family too.
Our legal team encourages you to contact our attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim. We accept all personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits, and bus crash injury claims through contingency fee arrangements. This legal contract postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully completed your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.
Our law firm gets results quickly because we understand you need money now. We proudly offer every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office will stay confidential.
For additional information see the following pages:
- How Does Illinois Law Govern Personal Injury Claims Related To Bus Accidents?
- How Long Do I Have To Bring My Bus Accident Lawsuit?
- Illinois Bus Accident Cases
- Is Suing A Public Bus Company Any Different Than Suing A Private Bus Company?
- What Are Some Facts About Bus Accidents In Illinois?
- What Are The Primary Causes Of Bus Accidents?
- What Should I Do If I Am Injured In An Illinois Bus Accident?
- What Type Of Financial Compensation Can I Recover For Injuries Sustained In An Illinois Bus Accident?