The Pennsylvania Bus Accident Guide was created by our experienced attorneys to help injured residents obtain full compensation from the negligent party. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
Bus operators are responsible for transporting thousands of Pennsylvania residents every day. Unfortunately, all it takes is one act of careless or reckless driving to have life-altering consequences for passengers and other motorists on the road.
If you’ve been involved in a bus accident, you may be experiencing significant pain and injuries. Our Pennsylvania bus accident lawyers can help. Our legal team can help you manage the entire legal process, from filing claims with bus operators and insurance companies, to filing a personal injury lawsuit. We’re here to aggressively defend your rights and help you recover the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Call us now for a free case evaluation or for answers to any legal questions you have.
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Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents can have serious consequences for anyone involved, including passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists on the road. Typically, the majority of the cases involve:
- Bus Passengers – Bus companies have a responsibility to protect their passengers. They’re responsible for providing proper driver training and adhering to safety and maintenance regulations. When an accident is caused by the negligence of the bus operator, you may be entitled to compensation. Causes of bus accidents can include:
- Driver negligence
- Equipment malfunctions
- Improper maintenance
- Reckless or distracted driving
- Driver inexperience
- Driver of Vehicle – Bus accidents involving other motorists can result in serious injury for those involved. A 15-ton bus can do serious damage to small cars and trucks. If the accident was caused by the bus driver or company’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
- Pedestrians / Cyclists – Buses and other motor vehicles have a responsibility to share the road, including with pedestrians and cyclists. Being struck by a bus is one of scariest experiences for a pedestrian or cyclist. If you’ve been struck by a bus, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
How Pennsylvania Bus Accident Lawyers Can Help
After an accident, you may be unsure of your legal options or who you can trust. You might wonder if a lawyer is necessary. The truth is: In cases of serious accidents, a professional attorney is a powerful advocate for your rights and your case. Remember, most bus companies – whether charter, tour, or commuter bus operators – are often protected by aggressive lawyers and insurance companies. After an accident, their lawyers will fight and bully victims into accepting unfair compensation for their injuries.
A qualified lawyer acts as your first line of defense against this aggressive behavior. Your lawyer is responsible for defending your rights, pushing back against bullying behavior, and fighting for the compensation you deserve. When you’re going up against a powerful bus company, you need an aggressive and competent lawyer you can trust.
Even with your own insurance company does not have your best interests in mind. They’re mostly concerned with the bottom line.
Therefore, before you contact your insurance company, we suggest you seek qualified legal counsel. A lawyer will protect you from aggressive behavior and manage the entire process.
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Types of Compensation
After an accident, victims face many new and difficult challenges. Physically, you may be suffering from significant pain, and have many months of rehabilitation ahead of you before you can return to work. Financially, you may be dealing with lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and the lost of future income.
Compensation is available to cover any costs associated with your accident. You can file claims for:
- Medical bills, medical equipment costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages, loss of future earnings
- Loss of normal life
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
The best bus accident lawyers help you fight and file claims for any and all compensation you are entitled to. Your lawyer works aggressively to secure the maximum compensation, helping you recover physically, emotionally and financially from your accident.
What Should I Do After A Bus Accident?
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you may be in shock, in immense physical pain, or severely rattled. Chances are, you don’t know what to do. There are some simple steps you can take to protect your case and your safety. After an accident, we recommend that you:
- Call 911 – If you’ve been injured, call 911 and seek medical attention. If you’re in harm’s way, move to a safe location near the accident. Once police arrive, offer any details about what led up to the accident, but if you were driving a vehicle that collided with a bus, do not admit fault.
- Collect Evidence – If you were operating another vehicle, collect evidence from the scene if you’re able to. Take photos and videos of the accident, collect witness names and contact information, and take the bus operator’s name and insurance information.
- Document Injuries – If you’re able to, document any injuries or pain that you’re feeling. Note areas that hurt, any visible injuries, bumps, bruises and any bleeding. If you can, take photos of your injuries as well.
- DO NOT Admit Fault – If you were driving a vehicle that collided with a bus, you’ll likely be questioned by investigators. Provide details regarding the steps that led up to the accident, but do not admit fault. You may not fully understand the laws, e.g. who had the right of way, etc. Admitting fault – even inaccurately – can damage your case.
- Seek Legal Counsel – Pennsylvania bus accident lawyers help investigate your case, collect evidence, and protect your rights after an accident. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the stronger the case you can build. With bus accidents, you may have a very limited timeframe to file a claim. That’s another reason it’s important to seek legal counsel immediately.
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Frequently Asked Bus Accident Questions
What Should I Do After a Bus Accident?
In order to go forward with a bus injury claim, the first thing that you need to do is report the claim to the bus company. I would report it to the bus driver while you’re still on the bus. They should provide you with either a form, a claim number to call, or the exact process that you need to follow. Once you have done that and given the most basic information including your name, the date, time and place of the incident, the next step should be to contact an attorney who has handled bus cases before. That attorney will then be able to guide you, and help you process the claim. If you’re unable to resolve the claim with the bus company, that lawyer will know how to investigate the claim, prove your case, and prove your injuries and damages at trial.
What If I’m Hurt in a Bus Accident?
If you’re injured as a passenger in a bus accident or in any incident involving a bus, the first thing that you should do is make your injuries known to the bus driver. The bus company should have some process where you report your claim, and that may include filling out paperwork or just calling in and reporting the incident. You want to make sure you follow whatever process or procedure you’re told. Also, while you’re doing that, you want to record as much information as you can, including the bus driver’s name and the date, time and location of the incident.
Obviously, if you’re injured, your health is the most important consideration and you want to seek medical treatment. You also want to continue to follow up with your medical practitioners. Finally, it’s important for you to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney early on; someone who has tried personal injury cases involving bus accidents. A lawyer like that will be able to guide you through the process, will be able to negotiate your claim and if need be and try your case.
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How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
When considering different lawyers to represent you in a bus accident claim, I think it’s important for you to discuss with the attorney whether they have experience, not just in personal injury cases, not just in car accidents, but in cases involving a bus. There are different issues that a lawyer needs to know about in relation to bus accidents. Because there’s a probability or a chance that that case goes to trial, there are different things that an experienced lawyer will know to do in investigating that case. The bus companies know this, and they know which lawyers have the experience, and which lawyers are willing to take a case to trial. Just knowing that there’s someone in your corner with that type of experience should bring you a better result if you are forced by the bus company to prove your case and try it in court.
Should I Speak with the Other Insurance Company?
If you’re ever injured in an accident, particularly an accident with a bus company, as soon as you’re identified as one of the potential claimants, you’ll likely be contacted either by an insurance adjuster for the bus company or a representative of the bus company. Although it’s important that you confirm that you were, in fact, injured in this bus accident, I have to caution you to be careful in what you tell the person. What this often turns into is sort of a cross-examination, where they’re not trying to help you but are trying to build a case to minimize your claim. The best thing that you can do is confirm that you were one of the injured people, and then refer any further questions or calls for additional information to an experienced lawyer.
What Mistakes Can I Avoid Making?
When people have been injured in a bus-related accident, one of the more common mistakes that I see they make is that they didn’t do anything to verify that they were one of the passengers injured in the accident. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure you in some way document that you, in fact, were one of the people involved in the accident.
Another mistake that people unfortunately make is they try to go it alone. They think that they can handle it themselves. Although this may work out well for some people sometimes, all too often what happens is your claim is not taken as seriously and the recovery that’s made just isn’t as good because the bus company knows that they have the upper hand if you’re not represented. Finally, I see some people who hire just any lawyer and don’t really vet out the lawyer. They don’t make sure that the lawyer that’s handling the case has experience in dealing with bus companies in these types of accidents.
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Should I Take a Settlement Offer?
Many times, when a person’s injured in a car or bus accident, the insurance company will reach out and try to settle that claim. I always caution people about entering a quick settlement for a number of reasons. First, you have to remember that no matter how friendly that adjuster is, they are working for the other side. Their job is to deny claims where they can and to minimize those claims that they can’t outright deny. You always need to keep that in mind when you’re dealing with the adjuster for the insurance company or the bus company.
What If My Kid is Hurt on the School Bus?
If a child is injured in a school bus accident, people often want to know whether they can hold the child’s school responsible. While there’s a possibility that that school may have certain responsibility, it’s more likely that the bus company does. Bus companies that transport children must have insurance, they must do background checks of their drivers, and their driver’s must follow very specific protocols and procedures. Often what we find is when these incidents occur, the bus company or the driver failed in some way to keep your child safe. It’s important to contact a lawyer who knows what questions to ask and how to investigate a school bus incident.
How Long Will This Case Take to Resolve?
Many of our clients are concerned with how fast their case can be resolved. While I understand that, we try our best to resolve the case as quickly as possible. There are factors that we have to take into consideration, one being whether the bus company is being fair in evaluating your claim. The other is your injuries, how you’re responding to the treatment and if you’ve recovered. One of the things that we have to be careful not to do is settle your case before we understand your injuries, or until we know whether you’re on the road to recovery. You get one chance to settle a case, and if we settle it too soon, you’re likely going to settle it for pennies on the dollar. Again, while we try our best to move your case along as quickly as possible, we also move it at a speed so that we’re being careful and making sure that you get full value for your case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Like with many personal injury lawsuits, if you’re injured in a bus accident, there’s a two-year statute of limitations. A statute of limitations can be thought of as a deadline for filing a suit. If you don’t file within that deadline, you’ll be barred any recovery. You don’t want to wait to talk to a lawyer. You want to begin filing the claim and begin the process as soon as possible. There are other deadlines, particularly when you may have to sue a governmental entity, that you’ll need to meet. Also, you want to begin the investigation and gathering the evidence that you’ll need to prove your claim. Again, although there’s a two-year statute of limitations, it’s in your best interest to immediately reach out to an experienced lawyer to get the process started right away.
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How Much is My Case Worth?
I’m often asked by perspective clients in bus injury cases, “What’s my case worth? How much can this settle for?” I can’t answer these questions until I’m more involved in your case. I need to be able to evaluate your injuries, you need to have gone through the process of being treated, and I need to know whether you’ve healed or whether you’ll have ongoing problems throughout your life. Until we have all of that, it’s impossible to put a dollar value on your case. That’s why it’s very important that you contact an attorney and begin working with an attorney early on to document those injuries and damages and to begin to evaluate your case. It’s also important that that attorney has some experience in similar cases so that they can compare your case to other cases and give you an idea of a range of settlement.
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If you’ve been in a bus accident in Pittsburgh or anywhere Pennsylvania, we want to help. Our Pennsylvania bus accident lawyers are here to help provide legal advice and start the legal process. We offer 100% free, no-obligation case evaluations. Call now to learn more about your rights.
About the Author
Paul is a life-long resident of the Pittsburgh area. Giuffre attended Duquesne University on an academic scholarship and earned his law degree from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1991.
He began his career as a prosecutor with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office. Using the trial and courtroom experiences he gained there, Giuffre moved on to private practice and began representing clients in a wide variety of criminal and civil litigation matters. As a partner in a Downtown Pittsburgh firm that focused on medical malpractice and personal injury cases, Paul both settled and tried to verdict six and seven figure case.
Through his affiliation with the Accident & Injury Law Group, Paul continues to provide representation to victims of medical negligence and those who suffer serious, permanent or chronic injuries as a result of car accidents, construction site incidents, and premise liability matters.
Giuffre has been recognized as a Super Lawyer, a Top Attorney in Pittsburgh, and a Best Attorney in Pennsylvania. Paul is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates and is an invited member of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County – an invitation based on an assessment of his skill, professional standards, and ethics.
Giuffre is also a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny County Bar Association, Pennsylvania Association for Justice, Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and Duquesne University Law Alumni.