Did you or a loved one get injured in a bus wreck? Check out these 4 bus accident tips for guidance, then give our Tampa lawyers a call today.
1. Child Was Injured On A School Bus
At Morgenstern & Herd, we’ve handled several cases involving child injuries on a school bus due to the actions of other students. When that happens, the only way to make a recovery for compensation for your injuries is if the school authority had notice that the child causing the injury was a problem. In that case, often, you can make the case that the child shouldn’t have been on the school bus where they could have taken action or bodily injury against your child. The first thing that you should do is make sure you seek care and treatment for your child in that situation so that you know what the injuries are. Then call a lawyer. It’s a complicated process to give the schoolboard appropriate notice if an injury occurs on the bus itself not due to a specific accident but due to the actions of another child.
If your child is injured on the bus because an accident occurs from a driver, another driver, drive of a truck, driver of a car, you still should have your child seek immediate treatment and then call an attorney. In the case where your child is injured on the school bus through the actions of another driver, we can check to see if there’s insurance coverage on the part of that driver for bodily injuries. Drivers are not required in the state of Florida to have bodily injury coverage. Many do. Many do not. We have to check that out and then also check out your insurance coverage to see if we can get your child compensation for injuries sustained on a school bus.
2. Car Hit By a Bus
We got an inquiry through our website yesterday. The writer wanted to know what she should do because her car was hit by a bus in the state of Florida. That bus was a school bus and these things happen. She had already left the scene but she had spoken with the police officer and he had given the ticket to the bus driver. There are certain nuances in the law because of school bus is operated by a transit authority in the county so that entity is an agency of Florida. You may have heard of the term sovereign immunity. It doesn’t mean that they’re immune from all liability. It does mean as it did in old English law that the King gets to say how much you can sue him for. Our law is fashioned after that. There are certain caps for recoverable damages that apply if you get hit by a school bus. If you get hit by a county bus, that’s also a governmental agency.
Generally, unless it’s some kind of private hire bus, it’s going to be some kind of governmental agency. Those claims involve certain kind of notices that you have to give to the governmental entities and six months has to pass before you can really get any traction on trying to get your claim solved. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to navigate a county bus, school bus, transit authority bus accident case without having a lawyer because if you don’t give the appropriate notices to the governmental entities, your claim is going to be barred in three years. You want to make sure that you give the appropriate information and a lawyer can help you do that.
3. Bus Accident Insurance Investigation
One of the most frequent questions we get asked by people involved in bus accident cases are whether the injured individual should speak to the insurance company or the lawyer for the insurance company of the bus. That is never a good idea, not without legal advice. If you think you want to negotiate your claim on your own, at some point, you’re going to have to speak to the insurance company for the bus who causes the accident or for the lawyer who represents the insurance company for the bus who caused the accident. It’s not advisable. In those cases, you won’t have access to information involving appropriate reporting if the bus is owned by a governmental entity. Even if it’s a private entity, the insurance companies don’t make money by paying out claims. Insurance companies make money by minimizing the recovery on claims, by minimizing your claim. If you don’t make the appropriate deadlines for reporting governmental agencies, your claim can be barred. You need to know what your rights are even if you think you might want to handle your claim on your own. It’s never a good idea to speak directly to the insurance company or the lawyer for the insurance company in a bus accident case.
4. Common Mistakes After a Bus Accident
Clients often ask us, “What are some of the things I should make sure I avoid if I’m injured in a bus accident in Florida?” As we told somebody who called me just a week ago, there are several things you should avoid right off the bat if you’re injured in a bus accident case. The first thing is you can’t wait to seek treatment. Sometimes you may not feel like you’re injured because you feel stunned and you go home and you don’t do much initially. If you’re involved in a bus accident case, you’re on that bus, you don’t have a seatbelt so there’s no way that you’re fixed in a stationary position. Your body is jostled by the forces that act on the bus itself. You have to seek treatment, either through your primary care physician, through an urgent care center, but to make sure that you know what all of your injuries are, because sure enough, if you don’t seek treatment right away, you want on that, the number one mistake, then you are going to be in a position where the at fault insurance company is going to take the position that you weren’t really injured because you didn’t seek treatment right away. The truth is that once you start moving around and you try to go back to your usual activities, that’s when you start to feel the pain. The first thing that we run into all the time is people don’t get evaluated for their injuries.
The second thing and the most important thing is to call an attorney. Let an attorney guide you through the process because navigating the personal injury issues and insurance coverage issues are very involved. Let an attorney guide you through that. The other issue that we find, the other mistake that people make, is talking to the at fault insurance company. Some insurance companies will get the names of the passengers on the bus, call them right away, and get mistakes made in statements that are recorded. Some people say they don’t feel injured right away because you can’t feel your injuries. That mistake will haunt you and may preclude you from getting compensation for your injuries. The other thing that we run into is that people talk to other witnesses and then those statements get repeated to the insurance company. When you’re talking about statements and talking to insurance company, that’s all evidence. That’s testimonies. Those are statements that can be used against you. You need to get legal advice before you do any of that.
Sometimes clients call and tell us they were injured in an accident due to somebody else’s fault; either they forgot, they were in a hurry, or some people are just opposed to it still. What I tell those clients is you are able to receive compensation for injuries sustained in that car accident as long as the seat belt would not have prevented them. For example, if you’re struck from the side and you break your arm against the door, you have a valid claim for that injury; however, if by wearing a seat belt you would not have struck your head on the steering wheel, for example, then you are not protected. It’s called the seat belt defense. What would happen is, although we would claim all of the injuries that were caused by the accident, the defendants are allowed to assert as a defense that because you weren’t wearing a seat belt those injuries should be either precluded or diminished because of your failure to wear that device.
Were you or a loved one badly injured in a crash with or on public transportation and have questions about these 4 bus accident tips? Contact experienced Tampa Bay Bus Accident Attorneys at Morgenstern & Herd today for a free legal consultation and case evaluation.
Like Us on Facebook