If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you’re entitled to collect compensation from the parties that caused your injuries due to their negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts. Bus accident victims can quickly run up large amounts of debt due to out-of-pocket expenses for medical care, especially if they’re disabled and unable to work.
That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced St. Petersburg bus accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to help you get these bills paid and begin building your case to collect the largest amount of money possible for your out of pocket medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering.
Your doctors can treat your physical injuries while your attorney helps you collect the compensation you deserve.
Call Denmon Pearlman to schedule an appointment for a free consultation. No fee unless you win!
How Common Are Bus Accidents?
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PTSA) has been operating in Pinellas County since 1984. Today it operates over forty routes and carries over fourteen million passengers a year. Other types of buses also operate in the St. Petersburg area including:
- Greyhound Buses
- Sightseeing Buses
- School Buses and
- Party Buses
Buses are one of the safest ways to travel, but there are many serious accidents involving buses that cause injuries and fatalities. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) thousands of people suffer from severe and catastrophic injuries caused by bus accidents each year and hundreds lose their lives. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports close to 30,000 bus accidents each year in Florida, and over a thousand with serious injuries.
The prevalence of serious injuries from bus accidents has a great deal to do with the lack of safety devices on buses and the lax attitude passengers have about following safety rules on buses. For example, a shortstop is unlikely to cause injuries to seated and belted occupants in a passenger vehicle, but unbelted or standing passengers on a bus can be thrown to the ground and seriously hurt. Injuries to unbelted standing passengers on buses are even more severe when a bus is involved in an intersection accident or head-on collision.
Despite these facts, insurance companies tell claimants that they don’t believe they could be injured as badly as they claim from a “low speed” bus accident, offering them pennies to the dollar for their claims.
It’s also important to remember that bus accidents don’t just cause injuries to passengers on buses, but to pedestrians, cyclists, and passenger car occupants, often causing severe and catastrophic injuries. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced St. Petersburg bus accident attorney that knows how to collect top dollar compensation for bus accident cases.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
All bus drivers must have a Florida Commercial Driver’s License to operate a bus in the state. The type of license and requirements vary for the type of bus and the responsibilities of the driver. For example, a Pinellas County school bus driver must have a safe driving record of at least five years, checkable references, and undergo a training program before they begin transporting children.
There are also laws and regulations that limit the number of hours that bus drivers may work and mandate reporting of unsafe driving incidents. Despite these precautions, many bus accidents are caused by the negligence and recklessness of bus drivers including:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Distracted driving including texting, eat, drinking, grooming, and turning around to talk to passengers;
- Failure to yield;
- Operating a bus before passengers are secured and
- Stopping short.
In addition to driver errors, negligence on the part of the bus company is often a factor, such as:
- Negligent hiring;
- Insufficient or improper training and
- Poor maintenance or vehicles.
In some cases bus companies knowingly allow inexperienced, fatigued, or alcohol-impaired drivers to work or allow buses with faulty brakes to run, making them responsible for the injuries or deaths that result from these heinous actions.
Bus companies are under pressure to keep buses moving and drivers are required to keep up the pace of their scheduled routes, leading to cutting corners on safety. Bus companies fight hard against claims made by passengers injured on buses, so it’s important to hire an experienced St. Petersburg bus accident attorney to fight back on your behalf.
What Types of Compensation Are Available To People Injured In Bus Accidents?
The purpose of compensatory damages in personal injury cases is to “make the victim whole” by awarding money that will help to repair the damage that has been done to them. Of course, money can’t ever truly compensate for the loss of the ability to walk or having to go through the rest of your life with a disfiguring scar, but it can help alleviate the financial pressure caused by medical bills and disability and provide access to high-quality treatment and accommodations.
There are two basic types of compensatory damages: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are the quantifiable sums that reimburse an injured person for the actual money lost due to the accident. It’s important to remember that you’re entitled to both the money you’ve spent and the money you’ll need for the rest of your life.
For example, if you suffer a catastrophic injury such as a spinal cord injury with paralysis from the neck down, you’re likely to require medical care for the rest of your life, so you’re entitled to receive the amount that’s already been spent on care, plus an estimate of all future costs.
The same theory would apply to a lost earnings claim, where you’re entitled to the money you’ve already lost, plus what you’re likely to lose for the rest of your life. If the insurance company won’t make a reasonable offer of compensation for economic damages, experts are hired to prepare reports and testify about the anticipated future costs.
Noneconomic damages are compensation for your subjective feelings of pain, suffering and mental anguish based on your medical reports and your testimony about how the accident has impacted your ability to perform activities of daily living and your ability to enjoy life.
For example, somebody that went dancing or played tennis every weekend with a passion would suffer a diminishment of enjoyment of life if they suffered a severe foot injury that prevented them from engaging in these activities for a long period of time or permanently.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a bus accident, it’s important to hire an experienced St. Petersburg bus accident attorney that knows how to collect the largest amount of compensation possible to compensate you.
Common Injuries From Bus Accidents
Passengers on buses can sustain serious injuries, especially if they’re standing or unbelted, but the most severe bus accident injuries occur when busses collide with pedestrians and cyclists whose bodies are unprotected. These are some of the most common types of severe and catastrophic injuries from bus accidents:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TMIs) are acquired brain injuries caused by sudden trauma such as when the head hits an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters the tissue of the brain. Symptoms can be mild at first and include confusion, headache, dizziness, blurred vision and lightheadedness. The level of disability suffered by a victim will depend on the severity of the injury and include problems with cognition, sensory processing, communication and mental health.
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs) can be “complete” or “incomplete.” A complete SCI causes the total loss of motor function below the level of injury. About half of all SCIs are complete. The American Spinal Association (ASIA) grades SCI’s from A-E. E is normal, B-D are levels of incomplete injury and A is a complete injury. Complete SCIs can rarely be repaired, but surgical and non-surgical treatments can improve functioning for some types of incomplete injuries.
- Broken Bones can be as mild as a hairline fracture that heals on its own or as severe as a compound or complex fracture that requires multiple surgeries to repair. All broken bones are considered permanent injuries even if there is no apparent disability as even less serious fractures increase the likelihood of early-onset arthritis and other debilitating conditions.
- Burns range in severity from first-degree burns that heal within minutes, to life-threatening third and fourth-degree burns that can cause internal injuries and massive infections. Severe burns often require skin grafts to repair and can result in permanent substantial disfigurement.
- Lacerations are caused by broken windows in a bus accident or by contact with the road or metal objects when buses collide with passenger vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. Deep lacerations can be life-threatening due to substantial blood loss, damage to tissue and infections. Some lacerations can cause severe cosmetic disfigurement which is especially traumatic when it occurs on the face.
- Internal Injuries are usually caused by a bus hitting a pedestrian or cyclist with enough force to cause injuries such as the laceration of an internal organ and hemorrhaging. Immediate treatment is needed to avoid a fatality.
Bus accident injuries can be severe and cause long-term disability which can lead to financial havoc for the entire family. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced St. Petersburg bus accident attorney that helps you collect the largest amount of compensation possible.
What To Do After A Bus Accident
If you’re involved in a bus accident, it’s important to take the following steps to preserve your claim:
- Call 911: Make sure that the bus stays until the police arrive. Bus drivers are on tight schedules and may try to convince you to let continue their route, but allowing this will minimize and complicate your claim.
- Document The Scene: If you’re able, take the following steps to document the scene of the accident:
- Take pictures of all involved vehicles and victims;
- Take videos statements of all involved parties and witnesses;
- Get names, phone numbers and email addresses of witnesses and
- Safeguard any paperwork you receive.
- Get Medical Attention: Some serious injuries have subtle symptoms right after an accident, especially when masked by shock, so it’s important to seek medical attention immediately by taking an ambulance to the nearest emergency room (because urgent care centers and private doctors don’t have the testing equipment needed to properly diagnosis traumatic injuries.) It’s also important for your injury to claim to get treatment right away.
- Get Legal Advice: After you’ve spoken to the police, documented the scene, and gotten medical attention, it’s important to find out your legal rights under the circumstances. Each case is different, so only an attorney can advise you about your legal rights based on the particular facts of your accident.
St. Petersburg Bus Accident Attorney
Bus accidents can be complicated due to the involvement of municipalities, multiple defendants, and the wide variety of causes.
That’s why it’s important to hire a St. Petersburg bus accident attorney that specializes in handling this type of case. Collecting the largest amount of compensation possible can give you a head start with getting your life back on track, by putting your mind at ease and helping you get access to state-of-the-art treatment and accommodations.
Call Denmon Pearlman to schedule an appointment for a free consultation. No fee unless you win!