Many people rely on bus service to get us to work every day. For some people, a bus is a much more economical way to get around. Others appreciate not having to drive in traffic, while they can sit back and read the newspaper or watch movies on their phone. However, buses, just like any other vehicles, can be involved in an accident. When a bus is involved in an accident, many passengers can be injured. Injured bus passengers may be unsure what to do next, whether they should seek compensation for their injuries from the bus driver, the city, or the driver who caused the accident.
Causes of Bus Accidents
There are a number of causes for bus accidents. In most cases, a bus accident is caused by the bus driver's negligent driving, another vehicle's dangerous driving, or the unsafe condition of the bus itself.
Buses operate along the streets and highways, just like any other vehicle. In some cases, they have additional access to certain lanes or streets. Driving along the street, they are just as likely to be hit by a negligent driver as any other car. Driver error, including distracted driving, running a red light, speeding, drunk driving, or failing to follow traffic signs can result in a collision between a bus and a car, injuring the passengers inside.
Bus drivers can also be the cause of the accident. If a bus driver is in a hurry, they can take off before a passenger has gotten to a seat, causing them to fall. A bus driver can also be distracted by their phone, causing them to crash. In some cases, the bus company can cause the accident even if the driver does nothing wrong. Many transportation companies fail to properly keep their equipment up to safety standards. When an unsafe bus is on the road, brakes could fail, tires could fall off, or parts could break, causing the bus to crash.
Bus Accident Injury Lawsuits
Injuries in a bus accident may depend on the type of accident. Common injuries include slip and falls, neck and back injuries, head injuries, broken bones, and spinal injuries. Many passengers may not think the injury is very serious, but days or weeks later they discover the pain has become more severe, to the point they can't even get out of bed.
Passengers in a bus can hold the bus company liable for their injuries. A bus is considered a “common carrier,” which is licensed to provide transportation for people or goods. Common carriers owe their passengers the highest standard of care in operating their vehicles, maintaining equipment, and transporting passengers. If the bus company or employee operating the vehicle breaches the duty of care which causes injury to a passenger, the common carrier may be liable for the injuries.
When the bus driver makes a mistake that causes your injury, the company may be held liable for their employee's negligence. Under the theory of respondeat superior, an employer may be held liable for the negligent actions of their employees. For example, the MTA may be liable for the negligent actions of an MTA bus driver. In some cases, the company may also be held liable for negligently hiring or retaining a dangerous employee. This includes hiring a bus driver who has prior convictions or reckless driving or driving under the influence.
Bus Accident Injury Deadlines
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) runs dozens of bus lines throughout the Baltimore-D.C. Metro area. This includes local bus lines, express buses, and commuter bus routes. The MTA is a state-run agency, part of the Maryland Department of Transportation. Other parts of Maryland also use state-run buses. There are some privately operated bus and shuttle services, such as the Charm City Circulator. There are some important differences in filing a lawsuit with a public agency as compared to a private bus company.
When a bus is run by a government agency, including state and local government, there are certain notice requirements the injured individual has to follow. Lawsuits against private individuals or companies are generally limited by the statute of limitations. For most personal injury lawsuits in Maryland, the statute of limitations is three (3) years. If an individual is injured in an accident, they generally have 3 years to file the lawsuit. However, claims against the government may have a different deadline to seek compensation.
Claims against the State of Maryland must be filed within one year after the injury. Under the Local Government Tort Claims Act, claims against county, city or local government agencies must also be filed within one year after the injury. Failing to file your notice claim in time can result in the government denying your claim. It is important to talk to your attorney as soon as you can after an accident to make sure your claim is filed in time.
Bus Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a bus accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about getting compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.