Bus drivers are required to complete extensive training and are highly experienced but accidents can still happen. If you or your loved one were a passenger on a bus and were involved in an accident, you may be eligible to claim for personal injury compensation. As with any other motor vehicle claim, after you have been involved in a bus accident you will need to provide very specific forms of evidence to fully support your incident claim. This will further ensure you receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve.
When can you make a claim?
You can allege negligence against the driver or the common carrier to make your claim. However, it may be impossible to claim compensation if the other affected party who sustained injury was responsible for their own injuries. Some of the common circumstances under which you can claim for compensation include:
- Collision with another vehicle
- Collision with any object – for example, road signs, curb, bus stops, etc.
- A driver losing control of the bus
- Driver not providing sufficient time to a vulnerable passenger such as the elderly, or disabled to take a seat before pulling away from a stop causing fall and injuries to the person due to the movement of the vehicle
What evidence do you need in your bus accident claim?
To make a successful claim, you will need concrete and valid evidence to present a compelling case. In most cases, a bus accident claim revolves around the identification of the at-fault party and documenting all your damages. It is vital to collect this evidence for a personal injury claim.
First and foremost, you will have to prove that the accident caused by the bus did indeed occur and that the resulting injuries were treated or are currently being treated professionally. Inability to prove that you suffered any damages during the accident can result in losing compensation.
In some cases, you may be required to provide the jury with evidence of your injuries by presenting radiographic evidence, MRI scans, CT scans, X-rays, or any medical procedures you underwent. Providing such proof helps determine the extent of your injuries and in some cases may result in a higher settlement depending on the jury’s acceptability of your case. Along with your medical records, you should provide the jury with information on the pain you experienced following the accident. This can be substantiated by your doctor’s statement as to the type and dosage of pain management medication prescribed to you. Your doctor can also testify the severity of your injuries and if necessary, offer details on the medical treatment you were provided following the accident.
Photographs and Videos
In any bus accident case, photographic evidence is vital for a significant impact on the jury. Examples of photographic evidence include images of your injury that can help provide a picture of the severity of the accident and demonstrate liability. Photographs of the collision, vehicle, property damage after the crash, skid marks, and so on can substantially support the severity of the impact and assist the jury in visualizing how the accident occurred.
Surveillance videos from a nearby business
Technological advancements in today’s world have enabled businesses to install security cameras both inside and outside their premises. It is common for most businesses now to install multiple cameras at the entrance of their premises, in the parking lot and at the main entrance to record everything that happens in the vicinity. If the bus accident has occurred near such premises you should note down the address of the business and take pictures of the surveillance cameras. Your lawyers can assist you in retrieving the recordings legally to use them as strong evidence supporting your claim against the bus driver.
Adding witness testimonies to your claim can boost your lawsuit’s success. Having an eye witness to testify against the bus driver can transform your weak case into a solid one. Some of the witnesses who can help you strengthen your case include bystanders who witnessed the accident, owner of the premises, or employees of businesses. Testimonies of independent third parties can be valuable for your claim as they could sway the jury.
Bus Maintenance Logs
Accidents can occur due to the poor maintenance of the vehicle. In an event that a bus accident case turns on whether the owner failed to maintain the vehicle, the vehicle maintenance logs can become strong persuasive evidence. These logs can substantiate claims on whether the bus company followed all the mandatory requirements of repairing and maintaining the vehicle.
Official Driver Information
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires bus companies and owners to maintain a file with the driver’s complete information such as qualifications, employment application, reviews of driving records for each year, certification of traffic violations, inquires made to the driver’s previous employers in the last three years, road test certifications, up-to-date medical records determining the driver’s current physical state. The owner of the bus service is required to produce this records file upon your lawyer’s or investigation officer’s request.
In some cases of a bus accident, strong evidence can be received from the data recorded by the bus black box or onboard recorder system. The data captured from this system can be beneficial to present a case since it records throttle position, speed, hard brakes, and so on. It must be noted that the data recorded can be erased when new data is recorded. You need an expert lawyer who can help you obtain this evidence by subpoenaing it before it is lost. Data recorded on the driver’s mobile device can also be useful to find out if they were using a mobile phone at the time of the crash.
Obtain Recordings of Calls made to 911
If the bus driver made a call to the police, you can request your attorney to retrieve the call information on your behalf. These 911 recordings can help determine if the driver was intoxicated while driving or if the driver admitted liability for the accident while making a frantic call to the police.
Accident reconstruction experts
In some cases, the witness testimony and photographic evidence may not be enough to support your case in complicated collisions. It is challenging to establish the exact details of how the accident occurred, and you can take the help of accident reconstruction experts to support your case for establishing liability.
Although you can make your bus accident injury claim by yourself without seeking any legal help, it can often prove to be an unwise decision. Bus accidents can be complicated and there could be several entities liable for the accident. In many cases, the insurance company may deny liability or offer a settlement, which will not cover your healthcare costs and any other damages occurred. Hence, it is important to hire an attorney who has in-depth knowledge of the law, its application, and the internal functions of the state, federal, and county laws that govern bus accidents.