Buses offer West Virginians an affordable and environmentally friendly means of commuting, getting to school, or traveling to visit family or friends. However, both school buses and city buses can sometimes be involved in accidents that cause severe injuries to both occupants and other road users. These injuries can cause excruciating pain, emotional trauma, and financial turmoil.
If you have suffered injuries in a bus accident, you may be eligible to recover significant compensation for your losses. Yet many people feel confused about what steps to take after an injury. Working with Jeff Robinette, an experienced West Virginia bus accident lawyer, can give you the support and advocacy you need at this challenging time.
The experienced team at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, has decades of experience successfully helping injured clients recover the compensation they deserve. Contact Jeff today for a free initial consultation.
Bus Accident Statistics
Bus accidents are far more common than many people realize. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 183 bus accidents occur daily nationwide. This amounts to 67,000 crashes annually. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that about 27,000 of these collisions led to injuries in a recent year. Bus accidents in West Virginia have led to an average of eight deaths each year. These statistics underscore the seriousness of bus accidents and their consequences in West Virginia and beyond.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Some common causes of bus accidents in West Virginia include:
- Driver Fatigue – Bus drivers often work long shifts and may get inadequate rest between routes. Drowsy driving impairs reaction time and judgment, which can contribute to bus accidents.
- Driver Inexperience – New bus drivers may lack the skills required to operate a large vehicle safely. Improper training is a significant factor in many bus crashes.
- Speeding – Operating a bus above the speed limit reduces a driver’s ability to stop safely and increases the force of impact in a collision.
- Poor Maintenance – Lack of routine inspections can lead to brake failure, bald tires, and other mechanical defects.
- Impaired Driving – Use of alcohol or drugs slows reaction time and impairs motor skills.
- Distracted Driving – Events inside the bus can distract the driver and take their eyes off the road.
- Slippery Roads – Rain, snow, and ice increase braking distances and make handling the bus more difficult.
- Vehicle Defects – Manufacturer defects like faulty brake lines can lead to catastrophic crashes.
What To Do After a Bus Accident
Knowing what to do if you are in a bus accident can help strengthen your claim and protect you from an insurance adjuster’s attempts to reduce or reject your compensation. Be sure to take the following steps after suffering injuries in a bus accident in West Virginia:
- Maintain all medical records for treatments you receive for your accident-related injuries.
- Collect information about the bus driver and the company that employs them.
- Keep track of the amount of time you take off work due to your injuries and medical appointments.
- Avoid making public statements to news journalists or on social media, as insurance companies can hold what you say against you.
- Contact a West Virginia personal injury attorney with experience handling bus accident claims. They will investigate the crash, calculate the value of your losses, and fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Who’s Liable After a West Virginia Bus Accident?
After a West Virginia bus accident, determining liability is key to obtaining fair compensation. Possible at-fault parties include:
- The Bus Driver – Drivers are responsible for operating vehicles safely. Negligent driving, such as speeding or succumbing to distractions, can make them liable.
- The Bus Company – Bus companies must ensure drivers are appropriately trained, licensed, and following regulations. Negligent hiring or poor maintenance practices may implicate the company.
- Vehicle Manufacturers – The manufacturer may share liability if a mechanical defect like faulty brakes causes an accident.
- Government Agencies – Poorly designed roads could potentially lead to public liability.
- Other Drivers – Collisions often involve multiple vehicles. All negligent drivers who contributed to the crash share fault.
An experienced attorney can thoroughly investigate your bus crash to identify all responsible parties. This process helps ensure that you are able to pursue compensation from all available avenues.
Compensation Available in West Virginia Bus Accident Lawsuits
If you have suffered injuries in a bus accident in West Virginia, you may be eligible for compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance rides, hospital visits, specialist appointments, surgical procedures, and medications
- Lost income due to missed time at work
- Reduced earning capacity if injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Each accident has unique factors that will influence the amount of money you are eligible to receive. An experienced attorney can give you an informed estimate of the amount of bus accident compensation available in your case.
Statute of Limitations on Bus Accident Claims in WV
The statute of limitations in West Virginia personal injury cases provides a two-year window for injured individuals to file a lawsuit after the bus accident date. Failure to take legal action within the limitations period may result in the forfeiture of your right to claim compensation for your losses. Working with a seasoned West Virginia bus accident lawyer can ensure that you do not miss this crucial deadline.
Talk to an Experienced West Virginia Bus Accident Lawyer Today
Life after a bus accident can feel overwhelming. Seeking compensation for your bus accident injuries is often far from straightforward. Insurance companies are eager to maintain their bottom line and will find any possible reason to undervalue or deny your claim. You can protect your rights and interests by having Jeff Robinette, an experienced West Virginia bus accident attorney, by your side.
The skilled team at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, will fight aggressively for the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing. Contact our team today for a free consultation with a member of our team to learn more about how we can help bus accident victims.