Many students, commuters, senior citizens, and people with disabilities use buses to help them get around Springfield, Illinois. According to Sangamon Mass Transit District, which provides public transportation in Springfield, Illinois, city bus ridership increased by 12.2% in 2020.
As bus ridership and demand increase, there is a greater likelihood of bus accidents occurring on Springfield’s streets with other motor vehicles. If you suffer injuries in a bus accident, the bus accident attorneys in Springfield can help you file an injury claim.
We collect evidence to determine who is responsible for your injuries and help you claim compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
How is Fault Determined in Springfield, IL Bus Accidents?
Bus drivers are usually employees of school districts, public transportation authorities, and private bus companies. Illinois follows the legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior,” allowing vicarious liability. This doctrine means an employer is liable if the bus driver’s negligence occurred within the scope of their employment during the crash.
Public transportation, such as buses, trolleys, and other forms of public transport, may be subject to common carrier laws in Illinois. The laws hold drivers to a higher standard of care when they know of an existing danger and take steps to keep passengers safe.
Your bus accident attorney can use these pieces of evidence to identify the liable parties in your accident:
- Police report detailing the bus accident crash
- Name, license number, and employee number of the bus driver
- Plate number of the bus and the name of the bus company
- Witnesses’ contact information
- Video and photographs of the scene, damage caused, and possible causes
Your attorney can obtain the evidence on your behalf if you suffered severe injuries and were transported after the accident. For instance, your attorney can pick up the accident report from the police station to learn more about the accident.
The attorney can also collect additional evidence that can support your claim. For example, they can search for surveillance cameras from commercial buildings and stores around the accident site and request footage from the owners.
Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists, can help the attorney analyze the evidence and identify factors contributing to the bus accident.
What Are Common Causes of Bus Accidents?
An investigation by your bus accident lawyer could reveal drivers’ distracted, impaired, inexperienced, speeding, careless, or reckless behavior as possible factors. There are also the following factors that can cause a bus crash:
A bus manufacturer’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of their vehicles, including their components. Improper manufacturing of a bus component can increase the risk of a multiple-vehicle collision. If a bus company doesn’t inspect their vehicles regularly for any defective bus parts, they can share responsibility for the accident.
The bus company has to schedule their drivers for regular breaks following federal regulations so that they can remain alert during their shifts. However, the company may not allow drivers to rest to keep up with increased ridership demand and pressure to meet departure and arrival times. As a result, the driver’s fatigue can lead to severe bus accidents for them and their passengers.
What is the Bus Accident Injury Claim Process?
When your personal injury lawyer identifies the parties at fault for the bus accident, you can file a claim with their insurance companies.
Gather Medical Records
Police reports, photos, and videos can demonstrate the severity of the bus accident. You will need to collect the following critical pieces of medical documentation with your attorney for the maximum compensation for your damages and injuries:
- Billing information
- Ambulance call sheets
- Diagnostic test results
- Physical therapy notes
- Office visits
Other evidence for your claim can include:
- Paystubs, W-2s, and income tax returns
- Repair records to show property damage to your vehicle
- Witness statements detailing the bus accident
These documents will show how much money you spent on treatment after the bus accident and how much time you lost recovering. Your lawyer will use them during negotiations with the other party’s insurance company.
The insurance company and your attorney will likely negotiate for compensation and will consider your medical bills and your wage loss and pain and suffering. However, settlement negotiations may take a long time and go back and forth a lot.
As part of the legal strategy to help you gain compensation, the attorney will focus on the severity of the incident and the extent of your injuries. They will also discuss the current and future implications of these injuries on your mental and physical health. Your attorney can use medical records and photographs of your injuries to support your claim.
Take Your Case to Court
You may need to file a personal injury lawsuit if your attorney cannot settle with the insurance company and bus company. The attorney can guide you through the legal process of the case and argue for a settlement in your favor. They can use your evidence to emphasize fair compensation for your injuries and help the jury understand how much this accident has affected your life.
Lawsuits Against Municipal Public Transportation Authorities
The city government operates public transportation services, like the Sangamon Mass Transit District. Sovereign immunity prohibits lawsuits against the government without its consent. Local governments in charge of school bus transportation may also benefit from this sovereign immunity.
If you wish to sue the government, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit with the Court of Claims within one year of the accident. Illinois’s Tort Immunity Act allows public employees to be liable for their willful and wanton conduct. Your attorney can prepare a legal strategy to demonstrate a bus driver’s deliberate negligence in the accident that endangered other drivers on the road.
Contact a Springfield Car Accident Lawyer
At Nessler & Associates, our personal injury attorneys can guide you through making important decisions for your legal options and calculating damages after a bus accident. Throughout our attorney-client relationship, we use our extensive trial experience and legal representation strategies to obtain the maximum compensation for you.
Our law firm is passionate about upholding accident victims’ rights and legal interests in all personal injury cases. We are committed to holding the negligent or reckless bus driver and their employer liable for their actions.
Call our office at (800) 727-8010 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless we recover compensation in a verdict or judgment for you.