Your Virginia Bus Accident Attorney
Buses are large, heavy vehicles. In a collision, they tend to cause massive damage to smaller vehicles on the road and the occupants of those smaller vehicles often suffer catastrophic injuries and fatalities. In Virginia, in a recent year, 539 bus crashes injured 215 and killed two. Bus drivers who followed other vehicles too closely or who failed to yield were among the most prevalent causes.
Buses also have a high center of gravity, which gives them a propensity to tip over in any accident involving angular momentum. When buses fall over, bus passenger also frequently sustain devastating injuries (even if they are wearing safety belts, which is rarely the case). In short, a bus accident can prove very, very dangerous.
Chances are, you’ve relied heavily on the safety of buses in the past. Whether you sent your child off to school or took advantage of public transportation to get yourself to work or run your errands, you have relied on bus drivers to take proper care of their equipment, watch out for other drivers, and ensure your safety on the road.
But regulations concerning bus drivers aren’t as stringent as they should be. Only 21 states and the District of Columbia, for example, currently have laws that prohibit bus drivers from using their cell phones on the road. Many states have poor regulations for bus passenger safety, even for young children on school buses. All too often, these poor regulations result in accidents with significant injuries and fatalities.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or tragic loss of life in a bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Emroch & Kilduff today at (804) 358-1568 to learn how we might help.
Emroch & Kilduff’s Motor Vehicle Accident Experience
When you turn to Emroch & Kilduff for legal representation after a bus accident devastates your life, you get experienced, compassionate, aggressive attorneys who understand know how to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries from insurance companies and those who caused you harm. As a law firm, we focus exclusively on personal injury matters. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of injured Virginians and their families.
Motor vehicle accidents constitute a large part of our everyday practice, from drunk driving accidents to bus and tractor-trailer rollovers. Because of our longtime focus on this area of the law, we have the knowledge and resources to investigate and litigate bus accidents to the best possible outcome for our clients. Of course, we can never guarantee any particular client will receive damages. But, we can guarantee our team will bring all of our talent and experience to every fight on behalf of an injured client, in and out of the courtroom.
The Most Common Injuries in Bus Accident Cases
Bus accidents can cause a wide range of potential injuries, depending on the severity of the accident and which vehicle injured individual was riding in. There are, however, some injuries that are very common in bus accidents. For instance:
- Spinal cord injuries may occur for both bus passengers and those in other vehicles at the time of the accident. Spinal cord damage is also common in pedestrians injured in bus accidents.
- Broken bones, especially broken leg bones or arm bones, are fairly common in bus accidents. Injured individuals may also break hands, fingers, and feet.
- If the bus or another vehicle catches on fire as a result of the accident, burns are fairly common. Individuals may also suffer from smoke inhalation and the resulting effects.
- Some individuals injured in bus accidents may suffer from cuts and lacerations, both from flying objects in the accident or from their bodies striking the interior of the bus, the pavement, or another car.
- Traumatic head injury occurs when the head suffers a blow or jolt. This type of injury is common for anyone in a bus accident, including any bus passengers not wearing a restraint at the time of the impact.
- Sprains, strains, and soft tissue damage may occur either during the accident itself or as victims attempt to remove themselves from the accident scene.
- Whiplash can result from being thrown around rapidly at the time of the accident. Whiplash is common in both bus passengers and others involved in the accident.
Finding Fault in Bus Accident Matters
A bus accident can result from any number of road, driver, or vehicle conditions. In the aftermath of an accident, lawyers and insurance adjusters representing the parties involved in a bus accident must piece together how the accident happened and which persons or entities may bear the blame. Every bus accident case is different, of course, but some of the more common targets of an investigation into who bears fault for an accident include:
- Bus drivers. As the person behind the wheel of a massive vehicle, a bus driver must make good decisions to keep himself, his passengers, and others on the road safe. When a driver’s decisions instead result in tragedy, he may personally have legal liability for the damages his actions cause. For example, this may be the case when a driver attempts to take a turn that is too narrow for the bus, drives the bus at excessive speeds, or takes the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or gets distracted by looking at texts or a GPS.
- The bus company. Bus companies have a duty to passengers to put safe drivers and equipment on the road. They may breach that duty when they hire drivers with poor safety records or a history of reckless conduct, when they place unrealistic and dangerous demands on drivers to work long hours or in bad weather conditions, and when they fail to maintain buses in good working condition.
- Drivers of other vehicles. Sometimes a bus can’t avoid an accident because the actions of other drivers on the road cause it. Cutting a bus off or braking suddenly in front of a bus on the highway can lead to accidents. So can all manner of other unsafe driving behaviors that make the road dangerous for every vehicle, including buses.
- Bus manufacturers. If a bus has a defective design or has been assembled from defective parts, the manufacturer of those defective products may have legal responsibility for paying the damages a defect causes. Proving the existence of a defect and its role in an accident can be very complicated and labor-intensive, which is why having an experienced accident attorney on your side is so important in a bus accident matter.
Recovering Damages: What Can You Ask For?
After a bus accident, you may have the right to receive financial compensation from those whose actions caused the accident. Some of the categories of compensation you may recover include:
- Compensation for medical bills. Medical bills can mount fast after a serious injury, even if you have insurance that covers some of them. Compensation for medical expenses can include everything from your initial ER visit to the cost of ongoing care.
- Payment for pain and suffering. Payment may not decrease your suffering, but it can make it easier for you to move forward with your life.
- Compensation for missed time at work or lost income potential as a result of permanent injuries. You shouldn’t have to suffer financially because you were unable to work because of injuries sustained in a bus accident. Compensation for that missed time helps to offset that lost income.
- The cost of a funeral and burial. When a loved one dies as a result of injuries sustained in a bus accident, you may receive funds to cover those expenses.
- Funds to repair or replace damaged property. Were you carrying your cell phone or laptop during the accident? Did you have another expensive item that was damaged, like jewelry or expensive electronics in your shopping? Compensation may include repair or replacement for these items.
When Liable Parties Don’t Want to Pay
In an ideal world, the parties with legal liability for paying damages after a bus accident would open their checkbooks and do the right thing. Unfortunately, that is not how the world works. Oftentimes, those parties and their insurance companies will fight against making payments to victims. They may try to minimize their own liability by pointing the finger at other parties, or by blaming accident victims. This latter strategy can be particularly effective in Virginia, because of the Commonwealth’s “pure contributory negligence” rule that bars plaintiffs from recovering damages if their own negligent actions were a “proximate cause” of the injuries they sustained in an accident.
Hiring a Bus Accident Lawyer: The Cost
You know you need a lawyer, but you may worry about the associated cost. Just how expensive is it to hire a bus accident lawyer? At Emroch & Kilduff, we start with a free consultation. In many cases, we have agreed to represent clients on a contingent fee basis in which our fee is paid out of any settlement or judgment we are able to recover on the clients’ behalf.
Legal Help After Your Bus Accident
If a bus accident leaves you or a loved one injured or mourning a tragic loss, seek experienced legal representation to protect your rights. Contact Emroch & Kilduff today at (804) 358-1568 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our experienced motor vehicle accident team.