If significantly impacted by a bus accident in Oak Ridge or your loved one died because of a crash involving a public or private bus, you may be eligible for compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses.

At OEB Law, PLLC, our lawyers can help you hold bus companies responsible for your injuries and pursue compensation that would help you and your family can move forward from this traumatic event. To determine whether you have a viable claim, call us today at 865-546-1111 for a free legal consultation with a bus accident lawyer in Oak Ridge.

A Common Carrier’s Responsibility

Common carriers, such as bus companies, train operators, and commercial airlines, transport goods or passengers for a fee. Because of the responsibilities common carriers have to keep their passengers or goods safe, the law holds common carriers to a higher standard of care rather than a reasonable standard of care required by private motorists.

In other words, if you have passengers in your personal vehicle, you have a duty to do everything a reasonable person would do to make sure you safely arrive to your destination. Bus companies—and other common carriers—must go above and beyond what a private individual would do to protect their passengers from a motor vehicle accident.

Proving Negligence in Bus Accidents

Whether your accident occurred on the Oak Ridge Transit System, or a private charter or tour bus, our case must prove that the bus driver’s—or the bus company’s—negligence  caused your injury.

To win your case and recover compensation, we must prove four elements of negligence:

  • Duty of care:The defendant had a duty to ensure the safety of its passengers.
  • Breach of duty:The defendant breached this duty.
  • Causation:The defendant’s negligence caused an accident and you were injured.
  • Damages: You suffered damages because of the accident.

By proving negligence, we can hold the bus company or bus driver liable for your damages.

Collecting Evidence to Support Your Claim

To have a successful case means collecting evidence to support your negligence claim. We may do this by gathering such information as:

  • Reports from police agencies that investigated the accident
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Your medical records that detail the nature and extent of your injuries
  • Eyewitness testimony about the driver’s actions prior to the accident
  • Video footage from traffic or surveillance cameras
  • Road and weather conditions at the time of the crash

We may send a letter to the bus company requesting the preservation of all information related to your accident. We would examine whether:

  • The company routinely inspected and performed maintenance of the bus.
  • The bus had defective equipment that the company did not repair.
  • The bus driver had past traffic convictions.
  • The bus driver suffered from a medical condition.
  • The bus driver had proper training to drive a bus.
  • The bus driver or the bus company violated state and federal regulations.

Filing a Bus Accident Claim Against A Government Agency

Our investigation may determine that poor road conditions or poor lane markings in a construction zone led to the crash. If this is the case, a governmental entity could be held responsible for the crash.

Bus accident cases become even more complicated when local governments or school districts are involved because these entities are immune from lawsuits, unless they consent to be sued. However, this does not mean that you cannot file a lawsuit against the city of Oak Ridge or if your child received injuries in an Oak Ridge Schools bus accident.

OEB Law, PLLC, can help you file a claim because we are familiar with Tennessee’s Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA). The GTLA removes immunity for claims against governments and holds them responsible for damages.

Recovering Damages Under the GTLA

The GTLA caps the amount of compensation you can receive from a government entity at:

  • $300,000 for bodily injury or death for each person per accident
  • $700,000 for bodily injury or death everyone involved in the accident  
  • $100,000 for property damage per accident

Recovering Compensation From Commercial Bus Companies

Privately owned bus companies do not have the same restrictions as a government-run bus system. So, to recover compensation, we can help you file a claim against the bus carrier’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit.  We will also negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

Your injuries or the death of a loved one will increase the value of your claim. Because of this, you may recoup expenses for such damages as:

  • Hospitalizations
  • Ambulance transport
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Home health care
  • Funeral expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Seeking Punitive Damages

Depending on the circumstances of your accident and how negligence contributed to your injuries, you may be eligible to seek punitive damages against the bus company under TN Code § 29-39-104 (2016). 

Punitive damages arise to punish an at-fault party for malicious and heinous behavior that caused an injury or death. Punitive damages deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

Tennessee caps punitive damages at two times the total amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000, whichever amount is greatest.

Tennessee Statute of Limitations

Tennessee’s Statute of Limitations gives you one year from the date of your bus accident to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit. To win your case requires substantial research and obtaining various types of documents. The sooner you decide to pursue compensation, the sooner we can begin building your bus accident case.

We Offer Free Case Evaluations

Call OEB Law, PLLC now at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation with a bus accident lawyer in Oak Ridge. We work on contingency which means you do not pay for our services unless we win compensation in your case.

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