Did you get injured from a bus accident? Check out this article to learn what to expect after a bus accident, then call our Tampa attorneys.
Choosing the Right Attorney
We handle a number of different kinds of accident cases at Morgenstern & Herd. One that’s unique is a bus accident case. If you’re on a bus in the Tampa Bay area, for example, in Hillsborough County, they call it HART, and most of you are probably familiar with that, the Hillsborough Area Rapid Transport Company. That’s a governmental entity, so there are special nuances that apply to the law in that case. Your attorney’s fees are lower, but you also have a cap on your recoverable damages.
In order to select the best attorney to handle your bus accident case if you are riding on a bus and that bus is involved in an accident is to contact an attorney like our attorneys here at Morgenstern & Herd who have handled numerous bus accident cases. Do your research. Look online on the websites, but don’t just trust the lawyers’ websites. Look them up in the Florida Bar. Make sure they have good ratings and ask. You are permitted under the bar rules and when you get a client statement of rights, that statement of rights that the bar requires us to give you in personal injury and bus accident cases tells you that you have the right to ask whatever you want to know about the qualifications of the attorney you’re hiring. Do it, and if you’re not satisfied, seek an attorney who has the qualifications that you feel your case deserves.
The first thing that you need to do if you’re injured because you’re involved in a bus accident is to seek medical treatment. If you don’t have health insurance to be able to do that, you’re not able to afford it out of pocket, you need to call a lawyer so that that lawyer can help you line up the medical treatment that you need for evaluation of your injuries.
There are two components to evaluating what your case is worth. The first one is liability. In other words, are we sure we can prove that another party and not you is at fault for the collision. If liability is strong, then you have to seek medical treatment so we know what the value of your damages are. If you’ve had a prior injury and you exacerbate or make that injury worse, that’s a factor. All of those things are things that need to be told to your doctors and evaluated by your lawyer.
Once we know what all of your injuries are and you reach a point in your medical treatment of what we call maximum medical improvement, MMI, then we know that further medical treatment is not going to make you better. You may need future medical treatment. Your doctors work with us so that we know what those damages are. Then we put all of those things together, and based on our 26 years of experience and the information that’s available through the Florida bar and jury verdict reporters about what cases like yours have brought by way of jury verdicts, we’re able to determine a range of value for your case so that when the insurance company makes an offer to you because you decide whether you settle a case or not, you’re informed.
That is so variable, but we explain to you all along the way what is happening. Right now, we’re all under the umbrella of COVID. There haven’t been jury trials in our area in so long that it’s difficult to predict how long we’ll go. There are several stages before you get to filing a lawsuit, so often, if you contact us at Morgenstern & Herd and let us guide you through the treatment for your bus accident case, we can submit a demand. After you obtain your treatment, we gather all of the information including your prior healthcare treatment, if any, to show that these injuries are truly related to your bus accident claim.
We submit that to the insurance company who’s at fault for causing the bus accident, and we try to get you a resolution early rather than later because it costs less. There are less expenses, there’s no lawsuit filing fee, and the attorney’s fees are less than they would be if you file a lawsuit. The insurance company’s not fair with you, then we file a lawsuit. Then, the party causing the bus accident has the opportunity to admit responsibility and keep your fees and expenses lower, but rarely they do it. Once we file a lawsuit, then you have an opportunity to exchange paper discovery. They get to ask written questions. We ask written questions. The next stage is depositions. You have your deposition taken. We take the at-fault party’s deposition. We do those things by Zoom right now, which is very, very effective and almost flawless. Then you go to mediation.
If the insurance company who causes the bus accident still isn’t being fair with you, then we have to begin to move in the direction of trial. A new Supreme Court order came out today in Florida trying to streamline that process and get more cases to resolve. We, however, have a very high success rate of resolving cases without trying them here at Morgenstern & Herd, and that’s because we push the litigation forward, we stay on top, and we make the insurance company’s lawyers do work. That costs the insurance companies money. That causes them to put more money towards your claim because they know they’re going to have the pay the lawyers, and they know that we’ll file cases and try to put ourselves in a position where we can get our attorneys’ fees rather than from your recovery from the at-fault party.
Car Hit By a Bus
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.
Were you or a loved one badly injured in a crash with or on public transportation and have questions about what to expect after a bus accident? Contact experienced Tampa Bay Bus Accident Attorneys at Morgenstern & Herd today for a free legal consultation and case evaluation.
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