Bus accidents are most often due to driver error, including distracted, drunk, or reckless behavior. Crashes that result from unsafe actions may subject a driver and a bus company to liability if the victim pursues a claim for damages. At Robinson Law, our dedicated Fairfax bus accident lawyers bring over 50 years of combined experience to representation of accident victims and families throughout the areas of Fairfax, Loudoun, Alexandria, Arlington, and Northern Virginia. We understand that each injury case is unique, and we are here to guide you through the process of securing the compensation to which you are entitled.Holding All At-Fault Parties Accountable for Causing a Bus Accident
The size and structure of a bus pose safety risks, such as the potential to roll over. Certain bus models may lack interior safety features, including seat belts and airbags. When accidents occur, victims are exposed to a high risk of injuries. Other motorists struck by the bus also often suffer catastrophic harm.
Following a bus accident, victims are entitled to bring a legal claim against an at-fault party for damages. Common causes of bus collisions include driver negligence, fatigue, and intoxication. Certain bus drivers may lack the training necessary to operate these massive vehicles. When a driver’s conduct fails to meet their duty of care, people injured by their actions have the right to file a claim based on negligence.
Negligence may arise from a variety of behaviors, most of which center on the failure of the driver to act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. When accident victims demonstrate that this breached duty of care directly led to their harm, they have a strong case for recovering damages.
It is important to note that public transit systems are held to a higher standard of care. Since they are “common carriers,” the law requires that they operate with the highest level of care. However, this rule applies only to bus passengers who suffer injuries, but not someone in another vehicle struck by the bus.
Other parties in addition to the bus driver may be responsible for harm caused in a crash. If an employer hired an unsafe or unqualified bus driver, they may be legally responsible. Additionally, the employer may be found at fault if they did not properly inspect the bus or maintain it according to safety standards. A defective bus component may support a product liability claim against a manufacturer.
After demonstrating fault, a bus accident attorney in Fairfax will set forth a calculation of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include quantifiable losses, often shown through receipts and documentation. For example, past and future medical bills, past lost wages due to injuries, and vocational rehabilitation are economic damages. Non-economic damages may include emotional suffering and a decreased quality of life that resulted from the victim’s injuries.
Since bus accident injuries can be severe, including brain damage, back and neck injuries, and lost limbs, victims are typically entitled to a large damages award. In certain cases, a medical professional can attest to the severity of the injuries and any need for future care.Sovereign Immunity and Notices of Claim
Sovereign immunity essentially holds government entities and public workers immune from liability. However, an exception allows victims to sue when they suffer injuries in a crash involving a Virginia Metrobus or certain other buses operated by the government. When pursuing a legal claim against the government, a plaintiff must file a notice of claim. This is an extra procedural requirement that is not required in most personal injury cases, and you should retain a Fairfax bus accident attorney who knows how to handle these formalities.
The purpose of a notice of claim is to provide notice to the government agency that they are being sued. Specific time limits apply, and if a deadline is missed, it may bar the claim from being heard, even if it is substantively strong. A notice of claim must be filed regardless of whether an individual traveled on the bus as a passenger or traveled in another vehicle that was struck by the bus. The government may accept or reject the claim. If it rejects the claim, the victim will have a right to pursue compensation in court.Get Assistance From Our Skilled Injury Lawyers
If you or someone close to you has been involved in a bus accident in Northern Virginia, the motor vehicle accident attorneys at Robinson Law can help. Seeking legal counsel in a timely manner can help you preserve evidence and assert your right to damages. Accidents involving buses often implicate complex legal issues, such as sovereign immunity, and the resourceful team at Robinson Law has the experience that you need to handle these issues. To discuss your case with a bus accident lawyer in the Fairfax area, call (703) 649-4500 or contact us online. We offer a free, confidential consultation.