Philadelphia Bus Accident Attorney
You may not hear of commercial bus accidents very often, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen in our area almost every day.
Commercial bus accidents are frightening and traumatic for those involved since occupants trust public transportation to get them to their destination safely. They are not anticipating the driver being intoxicated, striking another vehicle, or being otherwise incapable of driving a busload of occupants while on duty. Sadly, it only takes one person to make a mistake to put dozens of passengers at risk.
Why You Should Choose Ciccarelli Law Offices
- By choosing Ciccarelli Law Offices, you will be in contact with a team of lawyers who are handling your personal injury accident case.
- We have a track record of success. We understand how bus accidents work and how to deal with insurance companies in the aftermath.
- We will negotiate with insurance companies but are equipped to go to trial if necessary.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Philadelphia Bus Accident Lawyer
Ciccarelli Law Offices is available to take your call and give you a free case evaluation after being injured in a bus crash. Our Philadelphia accident attorneys have decades of combined experience. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay a fee unless we win your case. Call our Philadelphia office today to schedule your free case evaluation at (215) 228-0100. You can also fill out an online contact form, to tell us about your case.
Causes of Philadelphia Bus Accidents
Just as with auto accidents, driver inattention, distraction, and negligence can cause commercial bus accidents. Even though bus drivers accept the responsibility of transporting hundreds of people around the city per day, it doesn’t make them perfect. Sometimes drivers make mistakes – and they can be deadly.
Bus accidents can occur in a wide variety of ways, often due to the negligence of a driver. Yes, there are certainly times when bus accidents are caused by the negligence of someone other than the bus driver or the bus company/agency, but we do want to examine bus operator fault.
Bus drivers must be held to a higher standard of care when it comes to the safe operation of these vehicles. Buses that carry passengers for a fee are known as “common carriers,” and the duty of the agency, company, and driver extends above and beyond the typical driver duty that usually exists on the roadway. Additionally, school bus drivers most certainly have a higher duty to uphold because they transport our children to and from their destinations.
Some of the most common causes of bus accidents in and around the Philadelphia area include:
- Operating while distracted by a phone or some other device
- Driving the bus while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Operating while fatigued or beyond the allowable hours of service
- Operating too fast for conditions
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Failing to stop at a stop sign or stop light
In addition to fault falling to a bus operator, we must also look at the agency or company in charge of the bus. In many cases, the agency or company could be held liable for failing to monitor driver behavior, improper hiring practices, failing to inspect and maintain each bus, or encouraging the unsafe operation of a vehicle.
Common causes of accidents include:
Some common types of bus accidents include:
- Head-on collisions: If a bus or another vehicle ends up traveling down the wrong side of the roadway or if a driver runs a stop sign or stop light, head-on collisions can occur. Higher-speed head-on collisions could result in significant injuries for those involved.
- Rear-end accidents: Most people do not think of rear-end collisions as being particularly bad, but if a bus rear-ends another vehicle, this could result in significant property damage and injuries for those inside the smaller vehicle.
- T-bone accidents: T-bone accidents are not uncommon when individuals run stop signs or stop lights, and these incidents could result in major injuries or property damage if one or both vehicles were traveling at a higher rate of speed.
- Rollover accidents: Passenger vehicles or a bus could roll over when a collision occurs, and this has the potential for devastating injuries for all involved. Typically, individuals inside of a bus are not wearing seat belts, so a rollover could result in significant trauma.
- DUI accidents: Under no circumstances should a bus driver be impaired by alcohol or drugs when operating their vehicle. Alcohol will significantly impede a bus driver’s ability to control these larger vehicles.
- Motorcycle accidents: If a bus and a motorcycle collide, there is a significant chance the motorcyclist will suffer major trauma. Motorcyclists have very little protection from the force of vehicles on the roadway.
- Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians are vulnerable to major injuries in the event they collide with a bus. Furthermore, such accidents are likely to occur in crowded areas, near intersections, crosswalks, and other areas of congestion.
- Bicycle accidents: Although there are laws that ensure the safety of cyclists on the road, there are still collisions between them and buses. Unfortunately, such accidents tend to be catastrophic for the cyclists.
- Hit-and-run accidents: Hit-and-run accidents occur regularly, and they can impact the outcome of a bus incident as well. While it is unlikely that a bus driver will flee the scene after an incident occurs, other drivers involved may flee the scene, complicating the process of recovering compensation.
Types of Buses In Philadelphia Involved In Accidents
There are various types of buses that cross the roadways of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Public school buses
- School buses for private institutions
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (septa) buses
- For-rent limousines or party buses
- Hotel shuttle buses
- Airport shuttle buses
Anytime an accident involving a bus occurs on Philadelphia roadways, injury and property damage victims should reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. These claims can become challenging, but an attorney can sort through the evidence and work to obtain fair compensation from insurance carriers on your behalf.
Bus Accident Injuries In Philadelphia
Bus accident injuries can be severe. Drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles can sustain significant trauma if a bus collides with their vehicle. Buses are much larger and way much more than traditional passenger cars.
As we mentioned above, it is unlikely that bus passengers will use any type of restraint, such as a seat belt or harness. Unfortunately, this means that there is an increased risk of bus passengers sustaining trauma if an accident occurs. Some of the most common injuries associated with bus accidents include the following:
- Head or facial injuries
- A concussion or more severe traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding or internal organ damage
- Fractured or dislocated bones
- Significant lacerations or puncture wounds
- Spinal cord trauma
- Significant bruising or contusions
- Severe sprains or strains
In addition to the traumatic injuries that often occur as a result of a bus accident, it is important to recognize that victims may experience significant emotional and psychological trauma. This can include long-lasting feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress related to the incident, the injuries, and the recovery process. Some bus accident victims may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Our Philadelphia bus accident lawyers firmly believe that individuals should receive compensation for all injuries they sustain. This includes not only the traumatic injuries related to the incident but also their unseen physical and emotional pain and suffering.
In addition to the statutory limitations involved in these cases, please understand that insurance carriers will have their own reporting deadlines related to the claim. There will almost certainly be insurance carriers involved after a bus accident, and it is important to file a claim promptly to avoid any claim delays or denials. We encourage you to work with your attorney as soon as possible to get claims moving in the right direction before any deadlines expire.
What To Do If You’re Injured in a Bus Accident In Philadelphia
If you were onboard a commercial bus during an accident or were a pedestrian struck by a commercial bus, you have the rights to claim compensation for injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Bus accidents present unique insurance claim situations because, unlike regular passenger vehicle crashes, government entities often operate buses.
First, see a healthcare professional to tend to your injuries and provide accurate documentation to be used later as evidence in your case. Then, make a claim against the bus’s insurance, whether they are self-insured city buses or covered by the public transportation bureau insurance.
Who is Eligible to File a Bus Accident Claim
Anyone hurt or injured in a bus accident is entitled to file a bus accident claim. Listed below are some examples of who may qualify for compensation:
- Passengers on the bus
- Motorists who were traveling in other vehicles
- Motor Cycle Riders
- Those who sustained property damage.
If a family loses a member in a bus accident, they are entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
Property owners who have seen their property damaged in the bus accident are not confined to those in vehicles. It could apply to damage to landscapes, fences, and mailboxes. Property can be damaged on the bus as well by passengers carrying telephones, laptops, and other property.
Navigating the legal system when so many people are involved can result in some challenges. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we will adeptly navigate you through each stage of pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Philadelphia is in a Choice, No-Fault State
A Choice no-fault state means that you can choose between a standard insurance policy and a no-fault policy when purchasing automobile insurance coverage. Motorists who choose to use a no-fault policy may be restricted from filing a claim against the driver of the bus or the company by which the bus driver was employed.
The exception to this is if your injuries meet legal thresholds as applied to their severity. If you do not have a right to file a claim because of your no-fault policy, it can be helpful to speak with a bus accident attorney from Ciccarelli Law Offices. Legal experts can inform you of your rights and help guide you through the claims process.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations for Bus Accidents
The state of Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, such as bus accidents. You must file the lawsuit within two years of discovering your injuries. This timeline can be extended if the injured party was a minor when the bus accident occurred.
It is essential to act fast since there are so many people involved in bus accident lawsuits. Evidence degrades, people go their separate ways, and it can be challenging for witnesses to remember important details because their memory erodes as well. To ensure a more favorable resolution to your case, you should take legal action promptly after being involved in a bus accident.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
Bus accidents can be chaotic and traumatic. Listed below are some of the things you should do following a bus accident:
- Call 911
- Seek medical attention
- Answer questions from law enforcement, but do not admit fault or accept blame.
- Never apologize for anything you think you may have done to cause the collision.
- Take the names of witnesses and others who were injured.
- Inform your insurance company of the accident.
- Comply with all orders from the healthcare professionals attending to you after the accident.
- Call Ciccarelli Law Firm for help navigating the legal process.
How To File A Philadelphia Bus Accident Claim
In the event that the bus’s insurance denies your claim, you’ll have to file an injury claim with the government entity that is liable for the bus accident instead. This can be a tricky undertaking, and it would serve you well to enlist the help of a professional Philadelphia bus accident lawyer. Ciccarelli Law Offices specializes in bus accident injuries in the Philadelphia area, and we can make a significant difference in your commercial bus lawsuit.
There are specific rules and procedures relating to Pennsylvania alone and they can even vary county by county within the state. However, typically, a claim must state:
- It’s being made against the public body
- The time, place, and exact circumstances surrounding the claim
- The name and address of the person making the claim
Aside from these three main factors, however, the rest of the claim will depend on your individual situation. If you wait too long to file and miss a filing deadline, you can lose your right to file a lawsuit completely. It’s imperative that you pay attention to specific county rules so you don’t make a mistake and risk losing or lowering your compensation.
Contact a Philadelphia Bus Accident Attorney
Once you’ve filed a claim, the insurance company will need to determine fault by conducting an investigation into the accident. This investigation will work to prove whether the driver was overworked, fatigued, intoxicated, not adequately trained, or some other reason that caused the accident. After the fault is determined, your lawyer will navigate a settlement agreement and compensation plan. Then you can finally begin your road to healing. Contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices today to get your lawsuit started on the right foot.