A bus accident can alter your life completely. The sheer size of a bus can lead to severe injuries such as head trauma or even amputation. Buses also have fewer safety features than a typical motor vehicle. Even a minor accident can cause passengers to be thrown around the bus resulting in further injuries.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a bus accident, it’s imperative you gain legal representation. Bus accidents tend to result in serious injuries which can manifest days or even weeks following an accident. Don’t settle with your insurance company just yet. You could be eligible for compensation by filing a claim in civil court. If you’re successful, you’ll receive a settlement to pay for all your medical costs.
Attorney for Bus Accidents in West Des Moines, Iowa
Injuries from a bus accident can lead to mounting medical bills and rehabilitative costs. There’s no reason you should have to suffer because of another person’s negligent actions. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bus accident, it’s vital you contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..
We understand how frightening and overwhelming the aftermath of a serious bus accident can be. With our knowledge and resources, we can help you recover from this experience. Contact us now at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation. Our attorneys practice law in areas throughout Polk County and Dallas County such as Polk City, Ankeny, and West Des Moines.
Overview of Bus Accidents in Iowa
- Who’s Liable in a Bus Accident?
- Possible Damages from a Bus Accident
- Liability for Slip and Fall While Entering a Bus
- Additional Resources
Who’s Liable in a Bus Accident in Iowa?
Finding fault in a bus accident can be complicated. The majority of bus accidents involve other cars since buses crashes tend to stem from chain-reaction accidents. This makes determining fault to be a rather difficult process.
The fault could be on the driver for not following traffic rules. It could also be placed on the private company that owns the bus if they didn’t properly train their employees or hire an adequate driver. The blame can even be moved to the bus manufacturer if a defect led to the accident.
To find out who was at fault, you must determine whose negligence caused the bus accident. The majority of personal injury law is on the grounds of negligence, which is area of tort that focuses on failing to act or acting recklessly in a situation where there is substantial risk. The actions of a negligent person would be considered unreasonable by a rational person. Breaking traffic rules because you’re careless or weren’t paying attention would be an example of negligence.
Iowa is also a comparative fault state. This means you could share some of the fault if you’re partially responsible for the accident. For example, if you were distracted while driving and a bus cut you off suddenly and it resulted in an accident, then you would be partly responsible. The court will state you have proportionate responsibility, so you will not receive the full settlement.
If the court declares you have proportionate responsibility, it means you were partially at fault for the accident. Your settlement will then reflect the percentage of fault you contributed to the event. However if you’re over 50 percent at fault then you’ll be prohibiting from collecting a monetary settlement.
When you share fault in an accident, the reduced settlement amount will be calculated by deducing your percentage of fault from the original amount. For instance, if the court decides you share 15 percent of the fault, then the defendant will be ordered to pay 85 percent of the entire settlement. The 15 percent will be retracted because the court determined you also had some fault in the accident.
As you can tell, determining fault isn’t always an easy process. That is why it’s advised you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can assess the situation to discover who is at fault. They can also litigate for you in court if necessary.
Possible Damages from a Bus Accident
In personal injury law your settlement will be calculated by your damages incurred from the accident. Damages are any losses you may have experienced from your bus accident. These losses can be monetary such as medical bills or therapy costs. They can also be nonmonetary such as loss of enjoyment for life.
The purpose of the personal injury court is to make the plaintiff “whole” again. The court attempts to do this by compensating the plaintiff with a monetary settlement to covers all their damages. This means if you win your case you’ll have a settlement which should cover your medical bills and any other cost associated with the accident.
Listed below are some examples of damages you may recover.
- Medical bills for the present and future;
- Rehabilitative expenses;
- Therapy costs;
- Handicap house installments;
- Emotional pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment for life; and
- Loss of consortium
Provide Liability for Slip and Falls While Exiting a Bus
Another common issue with buses is slip and falls. A bus ramp is designed to help you safely cross the threshold from the pavement to the bus. However, if the ramp has a defect you could be injured by a slip and fall. This can also happen if the driver jerks too quickly or stops in a hazardous zone.
Bus drivers are also required to wait for all passengers to be seated before operating the vehicle. Suddenly, starting the bus suddenly could lead to injuries if someone falls because of the force. Accidents like this may sound silly, but they have led to severe injuries in the past.
Slip and falls can cause you to fall on your head, which could lead to traumatic brain injuries or neck strain. Some people slip and fall backwards, causing herniated or slipped discs in the spine. The worst part about a slip and fall is the injuries may not develop until days or weeks after an accident.
All of these facts suggest you shouldn’t settle with your insurance company since you might not not understand the full scope of your injuries. Instead, it’s recommended you contact a skilled personal injury attorney. They can set up a case consultation to see if you’re entitled to a settlement for your fall.
Intercity Bus Companies – Visit the official website of Iowa’s Department of Transportation to learn more about their intercity bus services. Access the site to learn more about their bus routes, the program guidelines, and which companies offer bus services.
Bus Crash Statistics – Visit the official website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) to gain access to their large truck and bus accident data spanning from 2010 to 2016. Enter the site to learn more about injury-related accidents, and fatal accidents involving buses.
Lawyer for Bus Accidents in Polk County, Iowa
If you or someone you know has been involved in a bus accident, it’s important you gain legal representation. You will need an attorney with the experience and resources necessary to help you recover. Call the personal injury attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. to find quality legal counsel today.
The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. are committed to helping people who have been victims of negligence. We want to help you recover by getting the settlement you’re entitled to. Don’t wait another moment agonizing over what to do next. Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to schedule a case consultation.
McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout the Polk County and Dallas County area including Ankeny, Adel, Polk City, De Soto, West Des Moines, and Bouton.
This article was last updated on May 31, 2019.