With an increase in the number of buses on the road comes an increase in vehicle accidents involving buses. Because of the large size of these vehicles, they can do a lot of damage in a collision. Pedestrians are often seriously injured or killed if struck by a bus, and bus passengers also may suffer injuries.

Anyone who suffers physical injury because a bus did not adhere to proper safety standards is entitled to compensation for their losses. If you believe you may have a claim for damages you suffered because of a bus accident, you need a Staunton bus accident lawyer to stand up for your rights.

Failure to Operate Safely Might Trigger Obligation to Pay Money Damages

Bus passengers put their faith in the driver to make prudent decisions and obey traffic laws, in the bus company to properly maintain their fleet and train their drivers, and in the manufacturer to build a safe vehicle. The driver, bus company, and manufacturer all have duties to the passengers and other drivers who rely on them to operate the vehicle safely and not endanger others.

If there is a failure of duty, a person injured as a result can seek money damages. Virginia law allows a claimant to seek damages for economic and non-economic harm. A defendant may have to pay for:

  • Medical expenses, including expenses that may arise in the future
  • All wages lost because of time off work, and any reduction in future earnings that result from the accident
  • Funeral and burial expenses if the accident led to death
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Inconvenience

Many states cap the amount of damages that a claimant may receive in an injury lawsuit, but the Commonwealth does not cap economic or non-economic damages. If a defendant’s conduct is especially egregious, a claimant may seek punitive damages. Virginia Code §8.01-38.1 caps punitive damages at $350,000. An injury attorney in Staunton could provide insight into what kinds of damages may be available in a particular bus accident case.

Recovery is Complicated if the Defendant is a Governmental Entity

Some buses are owned or operated by the Commonwealth or a local government. Special rules apply to claims against these defendants, and failure to abide by these rules can defeat a claim, regardless of the facts of the case. Consulting a legal professional with expertise in accident claims against government defendants can avoid this harsh result.

The Virginia Code says that anyone who has a claim against the Commonwealth or a transportation district must file a Notice of Claim within one year of the incident that led to the injury (§8.01-195.6). The notice must include a description of the claim, a statement of the time and place that the injury occurred, and it must identify the allegedly liable party. If the defendant is a local government, the rule is more stringent—an injured party must file a Notice of Claim within six months of the incident that led to the claim.

These governmental entities can be held liable for the negligence of employees while acting within the scope of their employment. However, Virginia caps the damages a claimant may receive at $100,000 or the limit of any insurance policy in effect, whichever is larger.

Act Quickly to Get a Staunton Bus Accident Lawyer On Your Side

It is natural to be overwhelmed in the aftermath of a serious accident and unsure how to proceed. However, it is essential to begin collecting evidence about the accident right away. It is critical, also, to start documenting every expense and change in your life that arises because of the accident.

You cannot go wrong if you contact a Staunton bus accident lawyer immediately after an accident. They could start the process of building your case as you recover. Contact The Warren Firm for a consultation today.