If you suffered injuries in a bus accident, you can rely on the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC to help you pursue compensation during this difficult time. We understand the frustration over filing a claim only to have an insurance company potentially minimize the seriousness of your injuries by offering a low settlement or no settlement at all.
Passengers on buses without safety restraints can get thrown out of their seats and onto the floor or through a window. If you or your loved one had this traumatic experience, we can help you hold the responsible parties liable for your permanent disability, serious injury, or loved one’s death. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free consultation with a bus accident lawyer in Hamilton County.
We Start by Investigating Your Bus Accident
We investigate accidents caused by privately and publicly owned buses, including school buses, commercial buses, and buses operated by local government agencies.
Our investigation determines which parties may be held accountable for the accident that caused your injuries. We may first focus on the bus driver’s actions prior to the accident. Some common causes of bus accidents from unsafe behaviors of bus drivers may include:
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Driving too fast in bad weather
- Failing to obey traffic signals and road signs
We Examine Other Factors That Can Contribute to a Bus Accident
A bus accident is not always the bus driver’s fault. Faulty brakes, steering problems, and other mechanical failures can lead to bus accidents. Mechanical problems generally occur when a bus company does not perform routine inspection, maintenance, or repair on a bus. In these instances, a bus company can be held liable for a bus crash.
On the other hand, a bus company may conduct routine inspections, but accidents can still happen because of a manufacturing defect or design of the bus. Bus manufacturers may be held responsible for accidents when companies fail to correct bus defects or ensure that their vehicles comply with federal and state safety standards.
Through our investigation, we will identify all parties that contributed to your accident and may hold them accountable for your damages.
Holding Local Government Agencies Responsible for a Bus Accident
In Tennessee, local governments and school districts are immune from injury claims and lawsuits. But the exception to this law is the Governmental Tort Liability Act, which removes immunity from governmental agencies in certain instances.
Bus accident investigations become complex when more than one government is involved in operating a public transit system. For instance, the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) operates a fixed-route bus system funded, in part, by the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Both governments may be liable in accidents involving CARTA buses. If you were injured on a CARTA bus, we know the process for filing a claim against governmental entities.
Proving Negligence is Essential To Recovering Compensation for Your Damages
It is not enough for us to identify the parties at fault for your bus accident. We must also prove how the at-fault parties’ negligence caused your injuries and other damages. We may do this by securing evidence that includes the following:
- Your medical records that show the injuries you sustained from the bus accident
- Reports from police agencies that investigated the bus accident
- Reports from state and federal agencies that investigated the bus accident
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Photographs of your injuries
- Eyewitness statements
- Video footage of the accident from traffic or surveillance cameras
- Documents from the bus company relating to the accident
Bus Companies Are Held to a Higher Duty of Care
Drivers of passenger cars have a duty to exercise care to avoid harming other motorists. Bus companies are held to a higher standard of care than drivers of passenger vehicles. This is because bus companies, like airlines and train operators, are considered common carriers that transport passengers on regular routes for a fee.
To have a successful personal injury claim against a bus company or a bus driver requires us to prove how the defendants violated four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: A bus driver must follow the laws of the road, including obeying the speed limit.
- Breach of duty: If a bus driver broke a law, they have breached their duty of care. If a bus driver was speeding, they have breached their duty of care.
- Causation: If an accident occurred because the driver broke the law this is causation. If a bus driver caused an accident due to speeding, this is causation.
- Damages: We must prove the accident caused you actual damages. For example, you had to pay medical bills.
Calculating the Value of Your Claim
We can estimate the value of your insurance claim by calculating the economic and non-economic damages you suffered from the bus accident. Generally, serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, increase the value of a claim.
You can pursue compensation for your medical bills and also for the following types of damages:
- Wages you lost because you were not able to work
- In-home health care
- Assistive mobility devices
- Funeral expenses, if your loved one died because of the bus accident
- Pain and suffering
After estimating your losses, we can file a claim with the bus company’s insurance company and negotiate a settlement for compensation that you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today with A Bus Accident Lawyer in Hamilton County
Speak with a bus accident lawyer in Hamilton County. If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a bus accident, the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Bari, PLLC can help you recover compensation for your damages.
Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule an appointment.