Florida Bus Accident Lawyer

For the most part, both commercial and municipal buses provide safe and dependable service to every passenger they transport in Florida. Unfortunately, buses are just as susceptible to collisions as any other car on the road—and between their size, weight, and passenger loads, these vehicles often cause serious property damage and physical injuries when they are involved in accidents.

If you were hurt in a bus crash recently, the Florida bus accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo could help you file suit against the party or parties responsible and recover compensation for any injuries and losses you sustained as a result. Our seasoned personal injury attorneys are familiar with how these kinds of claims function and could work tirelessly on your behalf to pursue a beneficial resolution to yours.

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The Basics of Legal Negligence

When someone files suit over the injuries they sustained in a bus accident, they typically do so under the theory of legal negligence. Negligence forms the backbone of most personal injury case, including those in which corporate or government entities are to blame rather than an individual person.

Simply put, someone may be legally negligent when they do something irresponsible that causes someone else to suffer an injury. To prove that the defendant in a civil lawsuit was negligent, the filing plaintiff must demonstrate that all elements of legal negligence apply to their case. These elements are as follows:

The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff

Through a reckless, careless, or intentional act, the defendant violated their duty of care

As a proximate or direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty, an accident occurred resulting in at least one physical injury

The accident proximately caused all the compensable damages over which the plaintiff is filing suit

Some of these elements can be difficult to prove. For instance, it is assumed that all licensed drivers have a duty to drive responsibly and safely around other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians with whom they share public roads. Conversely, there may be numerous questions about which specific party or parties are to blame for an accident, whether their actions directly caused that incident, and whether a collision is the primary source of a plaintiff’s injuries and losses. Fortunately, our skilled attorneys in Florida could help someone establish negligence in their bus accident claim.

What Does Comparative Fault Have to Do with Bus Crash Cases?

red bus

Even if a plaintiff can prove that all four elements of legal negligence apply to the defendant in their case, that is not necessarily the final word when it comes to assigning liability. One of the most common defense strategies that civil defendants may use is alleging that an injured party is at least partially responsible for causing their own damages.

This counterargument to civil liability is based on a legal concept known as comparative negligence, and it is often used to reduce the amount of compensation a plaintiff is eligible to receive. According to Florida Statutes §768.81, a civil court has the authority to assign a percentage of fault for an accident to multiple parties, including the injured plaintiff. This law also allows a court to subtract whatever percentage of fault a plaintiff bears from their final damage award.

 

For example, if a bus driver runs a red light and gets into an accident that injures several passengers on that bus, any passenger who was standing up inappropriately, not wearing a seatbelt if one was available, or was otherwise acting negligently themselves may be deemed partially liable for any injuries they sustained in the wreck. If a court decided that plaintiff was 20 percent at fault, the maximum amount they could recover through civil litigation would be 80 percent of the total value of their damages.

Fortunately, Florida follows a system where there is no amount of negligence a plaintiff can bear that would completely restrict them from recovery altogether. Working with the local bus accident attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo could be critical to maximizing recoverable compensation when facing allegations of comparative fault.

What to Do After a Bus Wreck

It can be hard to know what to do in the immediate aftermath of any kind of auto accident, especially if you were just a passenger instead of a driver actively involved in the wreck. However, there are several key steps that a injured parties should take to strengthen any personal injury case they choose to pursue later.

First and foremost, if a bus passenger suffers any kind of injury in an accident, it is extremely important that they document their injuries and any subsequent conditions as much as possible. If possible, injured claimants should take photographs or video footage of the accident scene, and they should inform eyewitnesses of their injury so its relationship to the crash can be corroborated in court.

Those involved in a wreck should also seek professional medical attention as soon as possible, even if they do not think they are severely injured. Beyond the fact that some auto accident injuries take a few hours or days to result in any noticeable symptoms, medical documentation also is crucial to proving that an injury exists and that it stemmed directly from a particular accident during civil litigation.

One of the most important things that someone involved in a bus accidents should know is that the should avoid talking to insurance adjusters or lawyers representing potentially negligent parties without securing legal counsel of their own first. Insurance companies and experienced defense attorneys are well-practiced at taking statements out of context and avoiding liability on behalf of their employers. Our lawyers in the area could help a potential claimant avoid saying or doing anything that could harm their chances of recovery in their bus wreck case.

Filing Suit Against a Private Bus Company

Pursuing civil compensation from a privately employed bus driver or company can be a lot more complicated than filing suit against an individual negligent driver. These companies may spend significant amounts of money on legal departments dedicated to absolving them of liability for accidents, and without retaining skilled attorneys of their own to help even the odds, injured plaintiffs in Florida may have a hard time achieving successful case outcomes after their bus accident.

Depending on the circumstances, liability for a bus crash involving a privately owned or operated bus may lie with one or more different parties. In the most straightforward cases, a bus driver may be held liable for negligent behavior like speeding, drunk driving, driving while distracted, or driving while fatigued.

However, an individual driver is not always the best party for a plaintiff to file suit against, especially if they require a great deal of compensation for serious injuries or are one of several plaintiffs filing suit for the same accident. Fortunately, the legal doctrine of respondeat superior allows an employer to be held liable for the job-related negligence of their employer. Therefore, it may be possible for attorneys from our firm to file a bus accident lawsuit directly against a private company for damages stemming from a crash.

If appropriate, seasoned legal counsel could also help file suit against a third party whose negligence partially or primarily caused the wreck. In many cases, for example, the fault for a bus accident lies not with the bus driver or their employer, but with another driver on the road who operated their own vehicle in a reckless or careless manner. Likewise, a mechanic or manufacturer could bear liability if a bus wreck stems from a faulty mechanical part on the bus or another vehicle involved.

Can Someone File a Lawsuit Against a Municipal Entity?

While government and municipal authorities enjoy immunity from many forms of civil liability, FL Stat. §768.28 specifically allow “agencies and subdivisions” of the state to be liable for damages stemming from negligence and wrongful acts. In other words, it is possible to hold a government entity liable for injuries sustained in a municipal bus crash with some caveats and additional filing requirements.

First, while a Florida government agency or entity can bear civil liability for a bus accident, individual employees of such entities cannot, unless they did something to cause harm knowingly and intentionally. Second, the maximum amount of compensation a civil plaintiff can recover in such a case is $200,000.

Finally, anyone who intends to file suit against any agency of the state government generally must notify that agency of that intention within three years of the accident in question. Additionally, a minimum of 180 days must be allowed for an internal investigation of the incident before a civil lawsuit can proceed.

Recoverable Damages in Florida Bus Crash Cases

As long as a person suffers at least one physical injury that requires them to seek professional medical care, they could have grounds to file suit and recover compensation. However, the specific types of damages our lawyers in Florida could seek restitution for on a plaintiff’s behalf can vary a lot depending on the circumstances of the bus accident.

Like most personal injury claims, the majority of bus crash cases revolve around economic damages, which are losses that can be given an objective financial value. For example, a claimant could evalute how much money they spent on medical bills and vehicle repairs, as well as how much money they lost by missing shifts at work while recovering from an injury. All these economic damages could be factored into an ensuing lawsuit, since they would not have occurred if the accident in question had never happened.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, can be more complicated, as they do not have a specific price tag and instead must be subjectively valuated based on an individual plaintiff’s experiences. Emotional damages may include loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, emotional anguish and/or psychological conditions stemming from a crash, and various long-term losses caused by a permanent disability or disfigurement.

In some cases, punitive damages may be available as a means of punishing a defendant for intentional or particularly egregious conduct. However, as per FL Stat. §768.72, the court only award these damages under extreme circumstances at their discretion.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Bus Crash Claims?

Under FL. Stat. §95.11(3)(a), a claimant filing a lawsuit based on legal negligence generally must submit their claim within four years of the incident in question. If someone fails to meet this deadline the court may time-bar their case, and they lose the opportunity to recover compensation.

However, there are exceptions to this rule in certain situations. For instance, a plaintiff who in good faith does not discover their injury for some time after an accident may have a longer period of time in which to start a civil case, while individuals filing suit against government authorities have even less time to file. In addition to various other services, a lawyer nearby could help someone file their bus accident case within the applicable deadline.

Talk to a Florida Bus Accident Attorney

After suffering serious injuries and losses in a bus accident, getting embroiled in a civil court dispute may understandably be low on your list of priorities. However, while monetary compensation cannot erase the harm you experienced, it could be crucial to your financial stability and restore your life to what it was before your accident.

A conversation with our Florida bus accident lawyers could clarify your legal options and highlight the best course of action to take in your unique circumstances. To schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your potential claim with our legal team at Kogan & DiSalvo, call today.

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Injury Lawyers Serving Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Stuart, & nearby FL Locations

Offering Free Initial Consultations

Our highly-skilled accident lawyers are standing by to help you. We serve all of South Florida for all types of injury and death cases. We invite you to call us with your questions, and we will be happy to help you understand your rights and your options. Our goal is to help you get justice and to maximize your financial recovery.