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Who is Responsible for Compensating Me if I am Injured in a Bus Accident?
Depending on the circumstances, the insurers for the bus driver and the owner of the bus, the bus manufacturer, the company responsible for maintaining the bus, and in some cases a bus tour operator.
If you are injured in an accident involving a bus or any type of large commercial vehicle, trying to sort things out as far as liability can be a lot more complicated than in the case of a crash involving passenger vehicles. Among other things, it’s likely that several different parties could be responsible for paying you compensation for your damages. Your personal injury attorney can investigate the cause of the accident and identify the appropriate defendants in order to pursue a claim against every negligent individual, organization, business, or entity so you can receive the recovery you deserve.
Potential defendants that could be required to compensate you include:
- Bus driver—Your attorney will determine whether the bus driver’s negligence was a direct cause of the crash. This could involve driver fatigue, speeding or other traffic violations, distracted driving, intoxication or other chemically induced impairment.
- Bus company—If your attorney can prove the bus driver was at fault in your accident, the company that owns or operates the bus might also be legally liable under Illinois’s vicarious liability rules. The company could be negligent for its failure to hire a qualified, trained bus driver or for requiring the driver to work excessive hours outside the legal limits.
- Tour bus company—If the accident occurred while you were a passenger on a tour bus, you could likely file claims against the tour operator, the bus owner, and the negligent driver. The tour business could be found negligent if it failed to hire a bus company that employs competent drivers and maintains safe practices.
- Bus maintenance company—The company contracted to maintain the bus is required to keep the vehicle in good working order to ensure that the tires, brakes, engine, lights and other features are in a safe condition to transport passengers.
- Bus manufacturer—If the accident was caused by a defective part or component on the bus, your attorney can use Illinois product liability laws to hold the manufacturer of the bus, part, or component responsible for covering your damages.
- Other motorists—An investigation might find the accident was caused in whole or in part by the negligent actions of another motorist on the roadway. Illinois has adopted the doctrine of joint and several liability, which is separate from the employer/owner accountability that goes with vicarious liability. It means that if different parties are found to be at fault in an accident that injures you—for instance, if both the bus driver and another motorist acted negligently—then they are both responsible for paying for all of your damages regardless of how large or small a role each might have played in the accident.
Determining who might be at fault for causing a bus accident can be complicated. The experienced accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have successfully prosecuted complex bus accident cases and helped our clients secure the compensation they deserve through court awards and out-of-court settlements.
Can I Sue a Public Transit System if I was Injured on a City Bus?
Absolutely. You can pursue compensation from public transportation entities such as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) if your attorneys can prove the bus system is liable for your injuries. However, because CTA is a government-run agency, filing and resolving a lawsuit works differently than it does in suing a private individual or business. In such cases, filing a claim quickly is essential to ensure the statute of limitations does not expire, which could permanently forfeit your right to obtain compensation.
If my Child was Injured or Killed in a School Bus Accident, can I Sue for Damages?
Yes. Many children in the U.S. suffer serious injuries or die in school bus accidents every year. From 2007 to 2017, school buses accounted for 40 percent all buses involved in fatal crashes nationwide. In Illinois, school buses were involved in 1,500 crashes in 2017, injuring 269 adults and children. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most fatalities in school-related transportation accidents happen to children 5 to 7 years old who are killed in front-impact collisions. Bringing a school bus accident claim against a local government entity entails special procedures as described above. An attorney experienced in school bus litigation can explain the process involved.
Let an Experienced Bus Accident Law Firm Help You and Your Family
The bus accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are skilled in the investigation and litigation of bus and other commercial vehicle accidents in the metropolitan Chicago area and beyond. Our law firm represents individuals exclusively—never companies. We invite you to contact our office for a free review of your bus accident case without any cost or obligation. You only pay us a legal fee if we are successful on your behalf. Call us today.