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For some people, riding the bus provides a safe, cost-efficient way of getting around the city. Many Chicagoans rely on buses to get to and from work every day. Others rely on buses to get to school or take a quick trip out of the city. For most bus passengers, their ride will be uneventful, but sometimes, a simple bus ride can end in tragedy for bus passengers. The 2020 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics Report published by the Illinois Department of Transportation reveals that in 2020 there were 2,218 bus accidents in Illinois, 379 of which were school buses.
Accidents happen, and when they are the result of negligence or wrongdoing, injured victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. If you were injured in a bus accident and have questions about your right to compensation, the accident lawyers in Chicago at Smith LaCien LLP can help you get clarity.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bus accident, you may be facing a long road to recovery and financial pressure during that period. Let Smith LaCien LLP help relieve the financial burden by holding those responsible accountable for the damages they caused you.
Bus owners and operators have a duty of care to exercise reasonable care to protect the safety of all persons who would suffer the consequences if they fail to do so. These persons include bus riders, other vehicle owners, pedestrians, and bus drivers. Maintaining buses in their fleet and hiring and training qualified drivers is a must. If they fail to exercise the standard of care required to protect the safety of others, they may be found legally negligent and can be held financially liable for injuries caused as a result.
When a driver’s negligence results in an accident, they’re liable for damages under the fault-based insurance law in Illinois. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the liable party could be the bus driver, bus company, or another driver. In less common cases, liability lies with a negligent road maintenance agency. Proving liability in a bus accident requires demonstrating the following legal points through evidence:
Once a Chicago bus accident attorney investigates the claim to determine the liable party and proves their liability, they can make a compelling claim for damages.
It takes an experienced bus accident attorney to determine fault in bus accidents through careful investigation. Your bus accident attorney from Smith LaCien LLC will investigate all aspects of the accident to prove fault. The investigation could include:
A diligent attorney investigating and documenting evidence of fault puts a powerful voice behind a bus accident claim in Chicago. Your bus accident attorney will also examine your medical report and consult with medical experts to calculate your damages in a way that maximizes the amount you can recover before negotiating with the appropriate insurance company for an ample settlement.
Because bus accident scenes are confusing and chaotic during the aftermath, it often takes accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause and discover who was at fault for the accident. The most common causes of bus accidents in Chicago and other urban areas include the following:
Driver error or negligence is the most common cause of bus accidents. Long hours behind the wheel lead to common issues such as:
In some accidents, the bus company is the party at fault due to negligence. Examples of bus company negligence include:
Sometimes a defective part or equipment on the bus causes an accident. In this case, the manufacturer of the defective part is liable for damages.
Some bus accidents result from the negligence of another driver, such as a motorist who drives through an intersection and collides with the bus, or a driver who makes an unsafe lane change and causes the bus to swerve off the road.
In less common cases, a city or state road maintenance department may cause a bus accident due to failure to properly maintain a roadway.
Large buses aren’t equipped with seatbelts for a variety of reasons, including to allow for faster evacuation in a fire, and because the high seatbacks serve to “compartmentalize” the passengers to limit them from hurtling far forward or backward in an accident. However, when buses sustain significant damage in a crash or a bus flips or rolls, passengers suffer serious injuries including the following injuries cited in bus accident claims in Chicago:
Some bus accident victims suffer catastrophic injuries with life-altering results including disability; however, even relatively minor bus accident injuries can be painful and expensive to treat, sometimes causing days and weeks of missed work. The party at fault is responsible for damages. “Damages” in personal injury claims like a bus accident injury refer to the consequences an accident victim suffers due to the accident and their injuries. Damages typically include both economic damages like medical expenses, and non-economic damages like compensation for pain and suffering.
Serious injuries can have long-term implications, including financial hardship for a victim’s family. Medical bills may pile up at the same time it’s impossible to return to work due to painful injuries and long recovery times. In a bus accident, a passenger is never liable for damages. Liability lies with the bus company, the bus driver, or a negligent third party. A successful claim allows victims to recover compensation for damages such as the following:
While financial compensation can’t erase non-economic damages like pain and suffering, it helps victims achieve a sense of justice, relieves financial stressors, and opens the door to counseling and other beneficial tools for recovery.
Bus accidents aren’t limited to driver error. Side swipes, improper maneuvers or turns, contact with a stationary object, and mechanical failures can cause an accident. There can be multiple parties responsible, including another bus, a car or other vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicycle.
If you were a cyclist who was injured by a bus, please speak to a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer today.
Most bus accidents especially in urban areas result in minor injuries, but they can have catastrophic results. Passengers are not required to wear seatbelts so a minor crash can cause soft-tissue injuries like bruising and cuts or whiplash. Depending on the bus’s speed and force of impact, broken bones, concussions, spinal cord injuries, and even deaths can occur.
In the event of a death, our wrongful death lawyers in Chicago will be at your side to help you with your case.
No matter how you feel, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Call 911 to get the authorities involved. Bus accidents can hurt a lot of people, and the police can be extremely helpful in many ways.
Gather evidence at the crash site, and speak to others cautiously about what you believe may have caused the accident. Don’t hesitate to call a personal injury lawyer. This is how to get answers quickly about your rights and whether a lawsuit may help you recover restitution for your injuries.
Using your smartphone is an easy way to gather evidence bt doing the following:
After your complete medical evaluation, be sure to ask the doctor for a detailed medical report with your treatment recommendations and prognosis included.
Bus accident cases are often complex because there may be many parties involved.
An investigation must be conducted to establish who was at fault for the accident — everything from the operation of the bus at the time of the accident to the maintenance history of the bus, and the parts used in the operation of the bus must be investigated to determine the cause of the accident. Speak to a defective product lawyer in Chicago to learn more.
A bus accident case may also involve other vehicle operators on the road at the time of the accident, and the entity in charge of maintaining the roads. Financial compensation may be recoverable from any person or entity whose negligence contributed to the accident and your injuries.
The legal process involved in getting compensation for your bus accident injury can be complex much like the cases our Chicago truck accident lawyers face. Different rules apply depending on the party responsible for your injury. For example, if your injury was caused by a city-operated bus, the government could be a party in your claim. The requirements for making a claim against a government entity are very different from what is required for private parties. An experienced bus accident lawyer not only knows the law but understands that failure to follow the correct legal procedure can cost you your claim.
Your attorney will need to prove the cause of the accident. Once a duty of care and a breach of duty is established, it must be shown that there was a causal link between the breach of duty or negligence and the harm. In other words, you have to prove that the negligence caused the harm. This element of causation is often not so easy to prove.
You have the right to be compensated for the many ways that your life was affected by your injuries. These typically include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages have a fixed monetary value and can be easily documented with pay stubs, receipts, bank statements, and other forms of evidence. Non-economic damages refer to compensation for subjective, non-monetary losses such as pain, suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
If you have been injured in a bus accident, Smith LaCien can help you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at (312) 509-8900 or use our contact form to schedule a free review of your case.
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