What to Expect When Starting a Bus Accident Lawsuit in Minnesota
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, 358 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Minnesota during 2017 and nearly 30,000 sustained serious injuries. A small percentage of those injured or killed were passengers on a school bus or a city bus. Due to the large size of these vehicle and the fact that passengers typically don’t wear seatbelts, injuries sustained in a bus accident are often more severe than other types of motor vehicle accidents. Some common injuries in bus crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Limb amputation
- Fractured bones
- First-degree to third-degree burns
- Cuts and bruises
- Damage to internal organs
A passenger on a bus can sustain an injury while riding, upon entry or exit, or within moments of getting off the bus.
Inter-City and Transit Bus Accidents
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Duluth, and some of Minnesota’s other large metropolitan areas depend on commercial buses to get people in and out of the city while easing congestion at the same time. Many people also prefer to leave the driving to someone else when they go on casino trips or to other popular tourist destinations.
These large vehicles can cause accidents or passengers can be the victim of another driver’s negligence. Regardless of the type of bus you or a close family member were riding on, you have the right to seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit for serious injuries or the death of a loved one.
School Bus Accidents
Fatal accidents are more common on rural roads in Minnesota than in cities or suburbs. Sadly, this is also true of school bus crash fatalities. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Association, the most common cause of school bus injuries and fatalities is when the driver strikes a student who has entered a crosswalk.
The driver may be unaware of the number of children who exited at a stop or he or she may not have seen the child in the crosswalk. Severe weather, challenging road conditions, lack of bus maintenance, and deliberately neglectful behavior of the bus driver can also cause crosswalk crashes. Approximately 50 percent of school bus accidents are front-end collisions. Rollover accidents are common as well.
The Challenge of Proving Fault in a Bus Accident
While a bus driver’s actions cause a fair amount of crashes, this is far from the only reason for an accident to occur. The driver may have operated the bus with extreme caution and still crashed or experienced a rollover due to another driver’s actions. Responsibility could also lie with the company that maintains the bus or even the original manufacturer. It is also possible that more than one party could share blame. We encourage you to contact our law firm to request representation as soon as possible since it would be nearly impossible for you to determine liability on your own.
With so many possibilities to assign blame, don’t feel surprised when the parties involved argue that someone else is to blame instead of them. They could even suggest that you’re exaggerating your injuries or that your own actions caused them. It can feel intimidating to face a large insurance company with considerable resources who is actively working to avoid paying a claim. However, the attorneys at Tentinger Law Firm have done it many times and will aggressively represent your interests.
We advise you to never accept an insurance settlement without speaking to an attorney first. That is because insurance agents often count on injured people to settle quickly because they need the money, or they don’t understand what they are signing. It’s a common tactic for insurance agents to start with a lowball offer. We will negotiate with the insurance company of the responsible parties to ensure a fair settlement. If they are unwilling to cooperate, we will present your case to a jury.
Potential Areas of Compensation with a Successful Personal Injury Lawsuit
As an injured bus passenger, you have the option to file an individual lawsuit or to join your action with other people injured in the same accident. We will discuss the pros and cons of each during your initial consultation. Some areas of compensation that you could recover include:
- Payment for medical expenses such as your hospital bill, emergency transportation charges, doctor appointments, and medication. The responsible party would also need to pay any future expenses you incur due to injuries from the bus accident.
- Payment for lost wages if you were unable to work for a time because of the accident. This includes reimbursement for any vacation, sick, or short-term disability that you used to cover your time away. The lawsuit should also include the difference in wages if you had to reduce your responsibilities or accept a part-time job or change careers due to injury.
- Payment for property damage, including any personal items you lost or that sustained damage when the bus crashed.
- Financial compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other types of subjective damages.
- Punitive damages in the case of deliberately reckless behavior that showed disregard for your life and safety. Although these payments are uncommon, some situations where you might receive punitive damages include when the driver was drunk or the manufacturing company sold a bus knowing that it had a potentially serious defect.
The above represents only a few examples of the types of compensation you could receive in a bus accident lawsuit. Your lawyer from Tentinger Law Firm will provide greater detail about the different types of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit during your consultation.
Know Your Rights as a Bus Accident Victim
When another person’s negligence causes emotional, financial, and physical suffering that lasts for months or years, it only seems fair they should compensate you for it. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about your rights and the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.