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Lakeland Bus Accident Attorney

Bus accidents pose heightened risks due to the significant size of these vehicles and the presence of numerous passengers. In the aftermath of a bus crash, victims are typically left to grapple with serious injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. Negotiating with an insurance company or filing personal injury litigation is the last thing you want to pay attention to at this time – and yet taking legal action may be your only recourse to getting the full amount of compensation you deserve.

The Lakeland bus accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo can handle these matters on your behalf, representing your best interests at every stage of the process and never settling for anything less than a fair resolution. Schedule a free consultation to speak with a member of our legal team.

Bus Accidents Overview

A blue bus driving down a city street in the early morning

While buses are generally considered safe, there are, on average, nearly 60,000 bus accidents each year in the United States, leaving thousands of passengers with severe or even life-threatening injuries.

The term “bus” encompasses a range of passenger-carrying vehicles, including school buses, charter buses, public transport buses, airport buses, coach buses, minibuses, and double-decker buses.

The substantial size of buses compared to other vehicles, such as bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians, makes these crashes particularly destructive.

As per the latest data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 46 school buses, 86 transit buses, and nine intercity buses involved in fatal accidents in the United States in 2020. In that year, approximately 160,000 people sustained injuries in accidents involving both large trucks and buses. Although these figures represent an improvement from the previous year, bus accidents remain relatively common and can lead to tragic consequences.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

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When operating a bus, drivers have a fundamental obligation to ensure the safety of every individual they encounter on the road. Bus drivers, given the size of the vehicle they operate and the large number of people they are transporting, are held to higher standards of conduct compared to drivers of regular passenger vehicles.

Whether a bus is owned by a government entity or a private company, individuals injured due to a bus driver’s negligent decisions have the right to seek compensation.

Bus accidents in Florida predominantly stem from the negligence of either the bus driver or the bus company. Common causes include:

  • Inadequate bus maintenance and mechanical failure
  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Inexperienced bus drivers
  • Negligence on the part of the bus driver
  • Poor road conditions
  • Driver fatigue

The injuries suffered in a bus accident can be far more severe than accidents involving passenger vehicles. In buses, passengers often stand, a common occurrence on crowded public transportation. Additionally, many buses, including school buses, are not equipped with seat belts. This lack of restraint poses a unique risk for passengers, as during a bus accident, individuals can be easily tossed around, leading to injuries that differ from those typically experienced by passengers in private vehicles.

The lack of control over the vehicle also means passengers cannot anticipate collisions and brace for impact. Moreover, buses, with their higher center of gravity, are more prone to tipping over, further increasing the risk and severity of injuries in the event of an accident.

Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?

The front of a wrecked bus with a broken windshield

Determining liability in a bus crash in Florida can be challenging, as multiple parties may be at fault.

If a third party is responsible (such as another motorist on the road), you can file a personal injury claim against them to seek damages. However, if the bus driver caused the crash, the process becomes more complex. Your bus accident lawyer will assist in identifying the appropriate entity to file your claim against, particularly if the bus is owned and operated by a private firm or government entity.

Potential entities that may be held liable include:

  • The Bus Driver: If the bus driver’s negligence caused the accident, they can be held liable.
  • Bus Company: The employer of the bus driver may be responsible, especially if the driver was improperly trained or if safety checks and requirements were lacking.
  • The Bus Manufacturer: If a bus accident is caused or contributed to by a defective part, the manufacturer of that part could be held liable.
  • City or State Entities: In cases of accidents involving public transit buses, the responsibility for the incident may fall on the city or state entity that operates the bus.
  • A Third-Party Driver: Other drivers on the road who fail to exercise reasonable care, engage in distracted driving, drive under the influence, or behave recklessly on the road may be considered at fault for the injuries and damages resulting from a bus accident.

Your Lakeland Bus Accident Compensation

A printed medical billing statement with a stethoscope on top of it

In every bus accident case, a comprehensive assessment must be conducted to understand the full impact of the collision on the victim’s life. This involves evaluating physical injuries, emotional trauma, and lost income to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Your settlement may include compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses linked to your injuries, covering both past and anticipated future costs.
  • Compensation for the pain and suffering resulting from the traumatic experience of being involved in a bus accident.
  • Reimbursement for lost wages during the recovery period and reduced future earning capacity if you have a permanent disability.
  • Addressing wrongful death expenses, including funeral costs, in unfortunate cases.

Given that Florida operates as a no-fault state, injured bus passengers are initially required to file a claim with their own insurance company. However, if the incurred damages surpass the coverage provided by their insurance, there may be grounds to pursue legal action against the bus driver, the bus company, or the government municipality (in instances involving public transportation accidents) to seek additional compensation for their injuries and related expenses.

How Can Our Lawyers Help You

A blue and white city bus driving down a city street

Buses are commercial vehicles and the companies that own them are often well-prepared for litigation. Victims should seek the advice of a skilled attorney who can advocate effectively for their best interests.

The complexity of identifying liable parties and understanding the appropriate course of action can be confusing for an injured victim. For this reason, we highly advise you to secure the services of an experienced bus accident attorney to represent you as soon as possible.

In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which includes bus accidents, is typically two years from the date of the accident. Failing to initiate a lawsuit within this timeframe may result in the forfeiture of the right to pursue compensation for your injuries.

Our team of experienced Lakeland bus accident lawyers can assist you by assessing the extent of your injuries, gathering compelling evidence, negotiating with the insurance companies, and if necessary, advocating for the victim’s rights in court.

Speak With an Experienced Florida Bus Accident Lawyer

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Have you suffered severe injuries in a bus accident, or have you experienced the tragic loss of a loved one due to wrongful death caused by someone else’s negligence? You do not have to navigate the legal complexities alone.

From compassionate guidance to expert legal representation, we are here to help you navigate the claims process and pursue justice. For more information or a free consultation, contact a Lakeland personal injury lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo by calling or contacting us through our website. If you’ve suffered due to a bus accident in Lakeland or Polk County, Florida, let us fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve.

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