Hundreds of Connecticut residents are injured in bus accidents each year, and many of them choose to take legal action against the bus company or one of the other drivers involved. Motor vehicle accident lawsuits are often complicated, and they can also be incredibly challenging when plaintiffs must contend with bus operators, regulatory agencies, local authorities and insurance companies. However, this should not put you off if you were hurt in a bus accident, as the circumstances could meet the four basic elements of a negligence claim.
- Duty of care: The bus operator was expected to provide roadworthy vehicles capable of transporting passengers safely to their destinations. Any other drivers involved also owed you a duty of care.
- Breach: Almost all motor vehicle accidents are caused by some type of human error, which means it is very likely that at least one of the drivers involved failed to meet their duty of care.
- Injury, loss or damage: If you suffered injuries or property damage in the accident, you may be able to seek compensation in the form of monetary damages.
- Proximate cause: This could be established by showing that your injuries were directly caused by the accident and not an underlying health issue.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
If a bus you are traveling in is involved in an accident, the actions you take in the minutes after the crash are critical. The correct actions not only put you in a strong position to pursue civil remedies, but they could also ensure that you receive medical treatment in a timely manner.
- Get medical help: Bus accident injuries are often more serious because the passengers who are hurt are rarely wearing seat belts or protected by airbags. The symptoms of motor vehicle accident injuries are not always immediately apparent, which is why you should seek medical treatment even if you seem to feel OK. In addition to head, neck, back and soft tissue injuries, debilitating psychological conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder are often overlooked at accident scenes. Failing to seek medical help could give the defendants you sue an opportunity to diminish your injuries. Also, conditions reported weeks or even months after the accident might be difficult to link to the events in question.
- Reporting the accident: The bus driver should call 911 to report the accident. Verify that they did, and then make the 911 call yourself if you have to.
- Think: Gather yourself for a moment and recall the events as they unfolded. Try to do this as quickly as possible as the brain soon forgets details it deems unimportant and saves only key moments.
- Photos: Take photographs of your immediate surroundings and the scene inside the bus. Additionally, take pictures of the accident scene if you can, but do not place yourself or others in danger or disobey police officers and emergency workers’ commands.
- Contact information: Gather contact details from other passengers and witnesses. Your fellow passengers may also be thinking about filing a lawsuit, and many of them will be happy to provide you with their names, telephone numbers and email addresses as long as you offer yours in return.
- Police credentials: Ask the police officers who respond for their business cards. If they do not have business cards, get their names and badge numbers. Remain polite and courteous at all times.
- Keep records: In the days, weeks and months following the accident, keep accurate records of your activities. Note any time you were unable to work or felt discomfort, and you should also record all of your accident-related expenses such as health care co-pays and over-the-counter medications. Be sure to make copies of any correspondence you receive that is connected in any way with the accident, and make sure that your records mention any times your injuries forced you to work fewer hours or accept lower-paying jobs.
Evidence in Bus Accident Lawsuits
Gathering the evidence needed to litigate a bus accident lawsuit is not always easy. This is why it may be wise to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Evidence that a bus accident victim could use to prove negligence and establish liability includes:
- The police report: Juries tend to find the conclusions of experienced accident investigators extremely compelling. Police reports could also include witness accounts, the results of vehicle inspections and the outcomes of toxicology tests.
- Weather report: Establishing what weather conditions were like at the scene could be important if the defendant tries to blame the crash on a slippery road surface or reduced visibility.
- The history of the accident scene: If you were injured in a known accident hotspot, the local authorities might have acted negligently by not addressing a clear road safety issue.
- Violations: A driver’s history of safety violations from state or federal agencies could be used in court to show a pattern of negligent behavior and a disregard for the public’s safety.
- Bus driver experience: You or your attorneys should seek to find out how much experience the bus driver had and how much training they received.
- DMV records: Official records could reveal if the bus driver or any of the other motorists involved had a suspended or revoked driver’s license or a history of motor vehicle infractions.
- Cell phone records: Cell phone records obtained by subpoena could show that a driver was likely distracted at the time of the accident.
- Health records: Subpoenas may also be used to obtain health records. These documents could reveal if one of the drivers involved was prescribed a narcotic medication or suffered from a medical condition that could impede their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Connecticut Bus Accident Attorneys
If you or somebody you care about is injured in a bus accident, you should contact Attorney Tim Moynahan at Moynahan Law to review the facts of your case and advise you about your legal options. We have represented Connecticut residents in hundreds of motor vehicle accident lawsuits, and we offer our clients a free consultation. Just use our online contact form or call us on (203) 597-6364.
Timothy C. Moynahan is the CEO and owner of Moynahan Partners, which offers business development consultancy, identifying strategic business partnerships and funding sources. He founded and heads the Moynahan Law Firm, Waterbury, Connecticut. He is a sought-after and successful trial lawyer, earning the Super Lawyer of New England and Connecticut awards from 2009 to 2012 and Best Criminal Defense Attorney accolade in 2013.