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Chicago Bus Accident Attorney

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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.

Why Choose A Bus Accident Attorney From Smith LaCien

  • Smith LaCien LLP is a reputable personal injury law firm in Chicago, serving persons who have been injured by the negligence or wrongful conduct of others.
  • Our Chicago injury lawyers have a track record of success and have been recognized by major media for the impressive outcomes we have achieved in groundbreaking cases against major opponents.
  • Every single day, we go up against powerful opponents, including the city of Chicago, that have caused harm due to their careless actions.
  • Smith LaCien LLP has recovered over $2.5 billion in compensation for victims like you.

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 Operators’ Duty of Care

Chicago bus accident lawyer

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.

Liability in Chicago Bus Accidents

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:

  • The party at fault owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injury—like the bus driver’s duty to avoid distraction
  • They breached this duty through a negligent action
  • Their negligent breach directly caused injury
  • The injury victim suffered significant economic and non-economic damages from the injury

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.

Proving Fault in a Chicago Bus Accident Claim 

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:

  • Examining photo and video evidence
  • Visiting the location of the accident
  • Reviewing eyewitness testimony
  • Examing the police report
  • Consulting with bus maintenance experts
  • Consulting with accident reconstruction experts

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.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Chicago

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 Negligence

Driver error or negligence is the most common cause of bus accidents. Long hours behind the wheel lead to common issues such as:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Distraction from devices or passengers
  • Speeding, unsafe merging, running red lights or stop signs, and tailgating in order to remain on schedule
  • Intoxicated driving

A Negligent Bus Company

In some accidents, the bus company is the party at fault due to negligence. Examples of bus company negligence include:

  • Poor bus maintenance
  • Poor driver hiring practices
  • Poor driver training practices
  • Inadequate driver policies such as allowing the use of cell phones or failing to monitor for drug or alcohol use
  • Failure to limit a driver’s driving hours to avoid fatigued driving

Bus or Bus Part Defects

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.

A Negligent Driver in Another Vehicle

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.

A Negligent Road Maintenance Agency

In less common cases, a city or state road maintenance department may cause a bus accident due to failure to properly maintain a roadway.

Injuries Associated With Bus Accidents

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:

  • Fractures, including of the limbs, back, collarbone, hips, ribs and pelvis
  • Back and neck problems
  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Burns
  • Crush injuries
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Soft tissue injuries like sprains and torn ligaments
  • Cuts, bruises, and abrasions

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.

Damages Available in a Chicago Bus Accident Case

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:

  • Medical expenses
  • Any future medical expenses related to the injury
  • Diminished earning capacity due to accident-related disability
  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • In some cases, non-economic damages like loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (a full relationship with a loved one), emotional trauma, or disfigurement compensation.

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. 

Causes and Types of Injuries Caused by Bus Accidents In Chicago

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.

Steps to Take After a Chicago Bus Accident

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: 

  • Take photos of the damaged bus as well as any other involved vehicles or objects
  • Take photos of the entire accident scene, including anything relevant to the accident
  • Add the contact information of any eyewitnesses outside of the bus
  • Take photos of any visible injuries
  • Record a brief description of what you remember about the accident since trauma may fade the memories later.

After your complete medical evaluation, be sure to ask the doctor for a detailed medical report with your treatment recommendations and prognosis included.

How to Get Compensation for Your Bus Accident Injury

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.

Legal Process To Get Compensation for a Bus Accident Injury

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.

Contact the Experienced Chicago Bus Accident Lawyers at Smith LaCien

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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