Vacation: A time to do whatever you want. For some, this might mean relaxing on a beach, doing as little as possible. For others, sightseeing is an absolute must.
For those who want to explore their destination, bus tours provide a quick way to visit multiple locations, a place to rest in between stops, and a cool place to get out of the hot sun. Double decker buses even give riders a way to enough being outside while touring.
While this might all seem innocent enough, thousands of vacationers have learned that bus tours are not as safe as they should be and after an accident, victims sustain much more than physical damage. As if dealing with a physical injury isn’t enough, the cost of medical treatments can wreak financial havoc on any family and although bus companies are required to carry insurance, this coverage simply may not be enough.
Bus accident victims do typically have another legal option: filing a lawsuit.
The Benefits Of Filing
Many of our former clients would tell recent bus accident victims that they too were hesitant to contact an attorney because they believed filing a lawsuit would be overwhelming and not worth the stress or too expensive. But in most cases, a plaintiff is unable to get full coverage of their losses without pursuing legal action.
Through either a settlement agreement with the defendant or damages awarded by a court, the plaintiff may recover compensation for:
- medical expenses
- emotional trauma
- physical pain and suffering
- lost earnings
The amount awarded in each case is different and is based on their actual losses.
Lawsuits Are Based On Negligence
When a plaintiff has a legitimate case, this means that another party was negligent in some way, meaning that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, or that it was their responsibility to act in such a way that would keep the plaintiff from being harmed. Since buses are considered “common carriers” under the law, this means that the company, managers, drivers, and even the mechanics servicing the bus need to do everything in their power to keep passengers safe.
For example, it is reasonable for a passenger to assume that the bus driver will follow the rules of the road by driving the posted speed limit, stopping at stop signs and red lights, and keeping their eyes on the road. If the driver doesn’t follow the rules of the road and an accident occurs, they have been negligent.
It’s not just those who are involved in the creation of tours, the upkeep of the vehicle, and the everyday operation of the vehicle that can be held responsible. The manufacturer of a defective part on the vehicle, another driver on the road, and even a county or city could be held liable for any losses a plaintiff has sustained. In many cases, there is more than one party responsible. The best way to determine who exactly was at fault is to allow an experienced attorney to review the case.
What Is Needed To File?
Any records of the accident will be helpful. This may include:
- The plaintiff’s medical records.
- The official police report.
- Witness statements.
- Photographs of the scene.
- Photographs of the damage done to the bus.
- Insurance paperwork.
Our firm can help obtain any records that are needed to build the case.
How Long Does It Take?
The amount of time it takes for a lawsuit to come to a close is dependent on several factors but generally, the process will take months and possibly more than a year.
If a settlement agreement between the parties can be reached, the case will close quickly and the plaintiff will receive their payment quickly as well – typically within 30 days. If an agreement can’t be reached despite efforts to negotiate, the case will go to trial.
Is It Better To Settle Or Go To Trial?
There really is no right answer to this question. If an offer to settle is made, our New York tour bus accident attorneys will discuss the offer with our client and give them all of their options. It’s up to the client to decide what is best.
That being said, we want our clients to know that they shouldn’t fear the trial experience. We prepare every case from the very beginning with the knowledge that it may end up in the courtroom. We also prepare our clients fully for the trial experience.
What Can I Do If My Loved One Died?
In the tragic event that the accident resulted in the death of the passenger on board, it may be possible for their surviving loved ones to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically this includes the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased.
It’s Important To Act Quickly
In every civil lawsuit, there is a statute of limitations. This means that the victims only have a specific period of time to pursue legal action and once that time has passed, they may no longer be able to obtain compensation.
The amount of time varies depending on the type of accident and also who the defendant is. If the defendant it a county, city, or state, the statute of limitations is typically very short.
Can I Really Sue A State?
Absolutely. Government entities are just as responsible for keeping people safe as any other party. So, for example, if the state knew of an infrastructure issue on a bridge and failed to fix it and the bridge collapsed while the bus was on it, the state would be considered negligent because they failed to fix a known issue in a timely manner and also failed to warn drivers about the potential danger.