A careless or reckless bus driver can cause harm to others in several ways. No matter if you suffered injuries as a passenger on the bus, a fellow motorist on the road with the bus driver, or a pedestrian, you may be able to hold the negligent bus driver and his employer liable for your accident injuries. The compensation you recover could pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs, and other losses.
If you suffered damages in a bus accident, a bus accident lawyer in Hilliard at Bressman Law can help you recover the compensation you deserve. We understand how the laws apply to both private and public buses and the agencies that run them. Call our office today at 877-538-1116 to schedule a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.
Who Is Financially Liable for My Hilliard Bus Accident Injuries?
In a typical car accident case, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for your injuries and property damage. The situation is different, however, when the at-fault driver works for another company or agency. In the case of a bus driver who causes a traffic accident, the theory of respondeat superior applies. Sometimes known as vicarious liability, this legal theory holds the employer responsible for anything an employee does while on the clock.
This means the bus driver’s employer is likely liable for your accident injuries. Because the corporation who owns the bus or the public agency that operates it typically have much larger insurance policies than the individual driver, we usually file a claim based on its liability insurance.
How Do Bus Accident Claims Work in Central Ohio?
In general, buses in Ohio belong to either a private company, a public transportation agency, or a local school district. The way our claim proceeds varies based on the type of bus involved:
Tour companies, regional transportation providers, and tour bus operators all run buses in Hilliard and throughout Central Ohio. If your accident involved a privately-owned bus, we can usually file an auto insurance claim based on the operator’s liability insurance policy. This leads to settlement negotiations, during which we can usually reach a fair settlement based on your damages without having to resort to filing a civil suit.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) runs bus routes throughout Central Ohio, including in Hilliard. Government agencies typically have immunity from liability claims, but Ohio’s Political Subdivision Tort Liability Act limits this immunity in some cases. One of those exceptions occurs when a government employee causes an accident while driving a government vehicle, as is the case in an accident with a COTA bus.
This means we can approach the agency with a request for compensation, and follow the process it lays out for recovering your damages. If we cannot negotiate a payout that offers a full range of damages in your case, we can file a civil suit against the agency.
Local School Systems
The exception to the sovereign immunity law also applies when a local school system owns the bus.
David Bressman can help you determine and navigate the route you must take to recover compensation.
What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Hilliard Bus Accident Claim?
Because of federal, state, and local regulations, bus drivers must abide by a higher standard than most drivers. They need to log the hours they work, and do regular checks to ensure their bus is working properly. In addition, bus operators often have onboard computers and even cameras to record what is happening on and around their bus. All this data and documentation means there is a lot more evidence in a bus accident than in most auto accident cases.
However, apart from the police report, eyewitness statements, any pictures you took at the scene, the bus company holds all this evidence. This is why it is paramount we send a spoliation letter to the bus company as quickly as possible after an accident. This letter requests the company preserve any evidence related to your case.
We never know which piece of this evidence could prove your case to the insurance company, judge, or jury. It is important we have access to it, and the only way to do that is to act quickly before the bus operator records over it or tosses it in the trash.
Why Do I Need a Hilliard Bus Accident Attorney on My Side?
Because there are several legal theories in play in some bus accidents, these are often complex cases. Understanding how to apply these doctrines and knowing how they affect your claim plays a large role in recovering compensation after a Hilliard bus crash caused by a negligent bus driver.
Depending on who operated the bus, we may need to take on corporate attorneys or a government legal team to get the payout you deserve. In addition, short deadlines in many cases mean we must act quickly to protect your right to compensation. This process is often complicated, and almost always stressful. Having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side is the best way to ensure you recover the maximum value possible based on the details of your claim.
How Can a Bus Accident Attorney Help Me?
At Bressman Law, we understand how to file a claim after a bus accident. We are not scared to go toe-to-toe with COTA, the local school district, or a private company to hold it liable for the damages its driver caused. Call us today to get started: 877-538-1116.