School buses and buses in general are statistically, one of the safest modes of transportation. However, when a collision involving a bus does happen, the damages are often significant.
Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak discuss who may be liable in this type of accident and other information you need to know when attempting to recover compensation to pay for the losses and injuries you suffered.
If your vehicle was struck by a school bus and you suffered personal injuries and other losses, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation. There is no obligation to hire our services after this meeting, but it can help you to understand your legal options and whether you may have grounds to pursue a claim.
Establishing Negligence After a School Bus Crash
Recovering damages after suffering injuries in a school bus crash can be daunting. Often you will have to pursue a claim against the school district or other local government.
To get started, your attorney will need to investigate the cause of the crash. However, just understanding how the accident happened is not enough. He or she will also need to prove that the driver owed you a duty of care, that he or she (or another party) breached that duty, that you were injured because of that violation and that you suffered damages – such as medical bills, loss of income or property damages.
While these steps may sound simple, school bus cases often involve a government entity, so they can quickly become challenging. You may benefit from having a knowledgeable South Bend car accident lawyer on your side.
Who May Be Liable for a School Bus Crash?
Liability for an accident involving a school bus may include one or more parties, such as:
- The School Bus Driver: As with most car accidents, the operator of a bus could be distracted, driving impaired – due to alcohol, drugs or fatigue – suffer a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, operating on a new, unfamiliar route, be driving without proper training or certification, or many other reasons.
- Maintenance/Service Provider: Sometimes faulty maintenance may contribute to a crash, such as if the brakes were not properly maintained.
- Bus Owner: This is likely to be the school district or local government, which involves exceptions that can make a potential claim complicated from the beginning.
- The Driver’s Employer: Regardless of whether the employer is the local school district or a private company, there are various standards, including proper hiring procedures, that must be followed.
Limitations That May Impact Your Claim
There are various deadlines and limitations that impact a claim when it is against a government agency. These limitations include:
Indiana’s statute of limitations is typically two years from the date of an accident for personal injury claims. However, if your lawsuit is against a government entity, the deadline is much shorter. You may have only 270 days or less to file your claim. If you miss that cutoff, the courts will likely bar your attempt to make a claim and you will not be able to recover any damages. Our firm can help you to determine what deadline may apply to your potential claim.
If the school bus that caused your accident is owned by town, city or state government, Indiana’s damage caps law applies. These caps dictate the maximum amount of compensation, currently $700,000, one person injured can recover in a single incident.
Modified Comparative Negligence:
In Indiana, a modified comparative fault law also applies, so if you are found to be more than 51 percent at-fault for the accident, you will not be permitted to recover any damages. If liable for less than 51 percent, you can still file a claim, but your degree of fault will be deducted from your total awarded compensation.
Contact Our Firm Today. We Are Ready to Provide Legal Help
When you are in an accident and suffer injuries, thinking about how to recover damages – even when you need the financial help – is overwhelming.
Our attorneys have extensive knowledge about Indiana state laws, and we handle personal injury claims, such as car crashes and bus accidents, every day.
We offer completely free initial consultations to answer your legal questions and determine if you may have a valid case. If we take your case, there is nothing for you to pay up front. In short, there is no risk to you, because we do not get paid unless you do.
Call Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak to learn more. (844) 678-1800