Seek immediate medical attention, collect as much information as you are able to from the scene, and contact an experienced bus accident attorney.
If you are involved in a traffic accident with a bus or on a bus and are still mentally oriented and physically well enough, there are several actions you should take immediately to protect your health and your rights in the aftermath of the crash.
- Call law enforcement and EMT (emergency medical technicians) by dialing 911, even if you don’t think you are seriously injured or need to go to the hospital. Not all injuries manifest symptoms right away, and the adrenaline rush you might experience in the first minutes and hours following a crash could give you a false sense that you were not badly hurt. A comprehensive diagnostic exam in an emergency room could reveal head injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones or other trauma, and time is of the essence so these injuries don’t escalate. You will also need written documentation of your injuries and medical care when pursuing compensation from at-fault parties.
- Stay calm and remain in the bus or in your vehicle unless it is too dangerous to do so. As long as you remain in a safe spot, never leave the scene of the accident until the police arrive or EMT transports you to a local hospital for treatment.
- Keep your vehicle in the same place in the roadway until the police arrive unless safety requires moving it to the side because it is a heavily trafficked area or on a dark road. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to be cautious while passing the scene.
- Either you or a companion should try to collect the names and contact information of every party involved in the accident, as well as those of eyewitnesses, before they leave the scene. Also try to get the name and personal contact information of the bus driver, regardless of what private or public employer they are working for.
- Get the name and badge number of any law enforcement officer you speak with.
- Try to have photographs taken of any damage to the bus and any other vehicles involved from different angles and of your injuries, as well as anything else at the scene you feel is important such as street signs, traffic signals or road conditions.
- If a bus hits you or your vehicle, never admit fault even if you think you might be partially or entirely responsible for the accident. You have just gone through a traumatic event and may not remember or understand everything that led to the crash. Accepting responsibility or speculating on who was at fault not only might undermine your chances for future financial recovery, it is not your job.
- Never provide an oral or written statement to any individual or agency other than police and your attorney. Your lawyer will assist you in communicating with insurance companies and other parties later.
If I did not Cause the Accident, can I Sue the Bus Driver?
More than likely you can sue both the driver and his employer. The legal doctrine of respondeat superior allows you to sue an at-fault driver’s employer if the driver was acting within the scope of his employment at the time he injured you, which will be the case in most bus accidents. This rule holds that an employer is liable for its employee’s negligent and tortious acts while acting at the employer’s behest.
An attorney working on your behalf will be able to identify every party legally responsible for your injuries. Defendants in your case could include the bus driver, the company that owns the bus, and even the manufacturer of the bus. Your lawyer might determine that the driver received insufficient training, the bus company is to blame for improperly maintaining the vehicle, or the manufacturer designed faulty components like defective tires that exploded and caused the accident.
Filing suit against multiple defendants could maximize the amount of compensation you receive and help you recover the monetary damages you deserve.
Unsure of What to do After a Bus Accident?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, we receive frantic calls from injured bus accident victims on a regular basis asking us what they should do. Our bus accident injury attorneys are skilled in the investigation and litigation of commercial vehicle accidents in the metropolitan Chicago area and beyond, and we can instruct you on what to do and take steps to protect your future recovery. Our law firm represents individuals exclusively—never companies. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 so we can schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Don’t delay—your compensation could be in jeopardy the longer you wait. We offer every client a “no win/no-fee” guarantee, which means that if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf, you owe us nothing.