4 Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accidents
Thousands of Washington residents ride buses every day. From long-haul trips across the state to everyday errands or even a ride to school in the morning, busses are supposed to be efficient and safe.
However, due to their size and high center of balance, it’s not unusual for buses to become unstable and crash. When a bus wreck happens and you or someone you love gets hurt, it’s understandable to feel confused and have lots of questions.
In this blog, we’ll try to help by answering four common questions about bus crashes.
Who Pays for My Injuries When I’m Hurt Riding a Bus?
If you’ve been hurt in a crash while riding a bus, you should never have to worry about paying for your medical bills by yourself, especially if you had to miss work or had to pay for damaged property out of pocket.
Who pays for the costs of bus crash injuries depends on the type of bus you were on:
- If you were riding a government-funded bus (like public transportation or school bus), you must file a claim with the government.
- If you were on a private bus, like a tour bus or shuttle, you’ll file a claim with the bus company’s insurance carrier.
Either way, filing a claim is a complicated process. Different rules apply to each situation, and knowing how to submit the correct information with the right parties at the right time usually requires help from an experienced attorney.
Who Pays if a Bus Hit Me?
Often, the cause of a bus crash isn’t easy to uncover, and the truth only comes to light after an experienced attorney investigates the case. Many bus crashes involve multiple causes and negligent behavior from more than one party.
If you’ve been injured, it’s important to find out all the causes of the crash so you can identify all the relevant insurance coverage and file the right claims. However, revealing all the causes of a bus crash requires painstaking investigative work. It’s unlikely you can perform this type of investigation on your own, so make sure to get in touch with an experienced bus crash lawyer who can help.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Washington?
In Washington, victims and their loved ones who have suffered personal injuries, damage to their property, or wrongful death have three years after the date of the accident to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. This three-year time period is known as the statute of limitations.
However, there are a few exceptions you should know about:
- Government vehicles: There are special rules for filing claims when you were hurt on a government bus or vehicle, including public transportation. In some cases, you may need to file a claim within just a few months. If a city bus or city employee is responsible for your injuries, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney immediately.
- Discovery rule: Sometimes, injuries don’t create pain or other symptoms right away. It can take days or weeks for certain injuries, like internal bleeding or a traumatic brain injury, to cause symptoms that send victims to the doctor. That’s why victims with late-showing injuries have three years from the date they discovered they were hurt to file a claim or a suit, rather than three years starting on the day they became injured (but didn’t know it yet).
- Underage victims: Minors who suffer injuries in a crash can’t file claims on their own, so the three-year statute of limitations doesn’t begin to run until a victim turns 18. Minors can recover compensation while they are still under 18, but a parent or guardian needs to be involved in the claim.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
Whether you need to hire a lawyer after a bus crash depends on whether the insurance company is willing to compensate you fairly for your injuries.
Unfortunately, it’s rare for insurance companies to step up and pay victims fair compensation without pressure. A good lawyer can apply this pressure. Your attorney should be able to help you build a strong claim that lets the insurance company know you’re serious about getting justice.
Even if the insurance company offers you some compensation, don’t take any offer before you get advice from a lawyer. The insurance company’s offer might sound good at first, but over time, your medical bills may keep coming, and you might realize the offer was too low. Unfortunately, if you already accepted a lowball settlement from the insurance company, it’s too late, and you can never go back and get more compensation later.
Your lawyer can also help keep your case on track and organized, which is no easy task during a complex bus crash case. An attorney can gather your medical bills, make sure the correct paperwork and other details get filed on time, and help you understand your options. And a great lawyer will help you feel cared for and not alone. If you’re struggling with anything from filing a claim to organizing your bills after a bus crash, you could benefit from the help of an experienced bus crash attorney.
Seattle Truck Law: Fighting for Bus Crash Victims in Washington
If you’ve been injured in a bus crash in Washington, you need to understand your options and get answers to your pressing questions. At Seattle Truck Law, we focus exclusively on crashes involving large trucks and buses, so we know exactly how to handle these complex claims. We’ll meet with you during a free, no-risk consultation to help you understand your legal rights and give you practical advice on what to do next.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.