As one of the most populated US states, Ohio has a large network of public transportation. It helps people commute at an affordable cost and without having to worry about driving during rush hour. However, as an Ohio bus accident lawyer knows, these means of public transportation can cause severe accidents. They usually lead to several injured persons. And each of them has the same question: who will pay damages in my bus accident claim?
This is a complex case because the procedure and the potential damages available depend on who owns the bus. Is it a bus operated by the public authorities or by a privately owned company? In both cases, however, you will need an experienced lawyer to file a bus accident claim successfully.
In this article, we will discuss the most important aspects of bus crashes and how an experienced Ohio bus accident lawyer can help you win your claim. It is important to remember that, irrespective of the type of bus, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is the same – 2 years after the date of the accident.
A Few Statistical Data on Bus Accidents in Ohio
Our state has one of the most complex and widespread public transportation networks in the US. Ohio residents are served by 61 transit systems, located both in urban and rural areas. On the average, 117 million bus rides take place across the state. Unfortunately, some of them come to a stop before the destination because the bus is involved in a traffic accident.
National statistics for 2020 collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicate that many such bus accidents result in fatalities:
- 85 fatalities in transit bus crashes
- 46 deaths in school bus crashes
- And 9 fatalities in motor-coach crashes.
Ohio authorities also compiled accident statistics with regard to school buses. Published in 2021, the Ohio School Boards report shows that since 2016, in Ohio were:
- 6,524 traffic accidents involving a school bus
- 2,097 people injured in a school bus accident
- 8 fatalities.
Thus, no matter how careful you are, you may be involved in a traffic accident with a bus. In this case, one of our experienced lawyers will assist you with filing and negotiating your bus accident claim.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bus Accidents?
In most of the cases examined by an Ohio bus accident lawyer at our law firm, driver error was the primary cause of crashes. Specifically, bus accidents happen due to:
- Distracted driving
- Improper training
- Lack of driving experience
- Bus driver fatigue.
Other causes of bus accidents are:
- Inadequate bus maintenance
- A defective part in the bus
- Poorly maintained roads.
For a lawyer, it is critical to know the cause of the accident, because it will determine the party against which you will file your bus accident claim.
Who Is at Fault in a Bus Accident?
While the bus driver is the primary at-fault party in a traffic accident, there are other liable parties involved. The driver is not an individual driving their vehicle, but an employee doing their job duty.
Thus, according to the respondeat superior principle, the driver’s employer is also liable in most cases. Thus, the parties in a bus accident claim
1. The Bus Driver
The bus driver is liable up to the available coverage of their insurance policy and – if you wish to do so – with their assets if you file a personal injury lawsuit. However, given the number of victims and the total value of their damages, it is highly unlikely to cover your damages by pursuing only this legal option.
This is why it is important to hire an experienced Ohio bus accident lawyer, who will identify all the other liable parties.
2. The Bus Company
The procedure for filing a bus accident claim against a privately owned company is basically the same as for any other traffic accident claim. Of course, the company representatives will fight the claim and will try to place the blame on you or another driver.
In some cases, they can claim that the bus driver is an independent contractor, not an employee. An experienced lawyer can help establish the true employment status of the driver and show that the bus company is also liable to pay for your damages.
3. A Government Authority
If the accident was caused by a school bus or a line operated by Ohio authorities, the process of filing a bus accident claim is more complex. However, it is possible to hold the government liable for their employees’ negligence when it comes to operating a motor vehicle.
Ohio Revised Code 2774.02(B)(1) makes this specific exception to the sovereign immunity rule. However, you need to follow special steps and there is also a cap on the non-economic damages you can seek. Your Ohio bus accident lawyer will explain all these issues in detail during your free case review.
4. The Company that Maintains the Fleet of Buses
In some cases, a bus can malfunction because it was not properly maintained. A maintenance shop should notice signs of wear and tear and repair or replace the affected systems.
The fact that they failed to notice the impending defect makes them negligent and, thus, liable to pay damages to all bus accident victims.
5. Bus Manufacturer
In some cases, a bus driver loses control over the vehicle. It can be a new bus, recently bought by the company. And the technical expertise will prove that it had a defective part. The defect can be in the design of the part itself – making all the parts manufactured using that design faulty.
In some cases, there is an error during the manufacturing process of a specific batch of parts. In both cases, the manufacturer is liable under the product liability tort.
Bring Your Bus Accident Claim to an Experienced Law Firm in Ohio!
No matter who is at fault, a bus accident claim is extremely complex. There are several injured persons and different insurance companies involved. You don’t want to be left out and end up collecting only a part of your damages from the bus driver.
Thus, you must be aware of who exactly is at fault for your accident and file a bus accident claim against all the liable parties. An experienced Ohio bus accident lawyer can help you secure a fair settlement amount.
However, you must make sure that you act quickly and schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible after your accident: 844-853-7373!