Buses provide an affordable and environmentally-friendly option to Tampa area residents who prefer public transportation, require disability accommodations, or are unable to afford a personal car. However, buses are also capable of inflicting serious damage should they be involved in a collision. Florida is among the states with the highest rates of bus accidents, which can leave injured drivers and pedestrians with painful wounds and substantial medical debt.
The personal injury attorneys of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have over thirty years of combined experience helping injured Floridians recover compensation for the damages they have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence. After being injured in a bus accident, your injuries may keep you from work, cost you your physical and emotional health, and leave you struggling to pay back the costs of hospital stays or physical therapy.
At KMW Legal, our team will dedicate ourselves to negotiating a fair bus accident settlement that covers your financial and non-economic losses, even if that means taking your case to trial. In a bus accident lawsuit, liability can extend to multiple parties and create a complex situation best handled by a skilled bus accident attorney.
Without a Tampa bus accident lawyer’s legal advice, you run the risk of settling for less than your claim is worth. The lawyers of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh urge you to seek out an appointment for a free strategy session with our team so you can discover for yourself what our firm brings to the table and start the process of recovering compensation in a bus accident lawsuit.
COMMON BUS Crash Injuries
For the year 2020, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that bus accidents injured over 50 drivers and caused at least 173 confirmed injuries to passengers, with hundreds more likely hurt; this also does not account for other road users like pedestrians.
Tampa bus accidents can injure motorists by striking them with immense force in a collision or crushing them under the substantial weight of the bus, shattering bones, inflicting head trauma, and causing extensive internal injuries. Oftentimes, the structure of the bus protects its occupants from sustaining more severe wounds, while the occupants of passenger vehicles and vulnerable road users take the brunt of the impact. Injuries after a bus collision could include:
- Deep lacerations
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crush injuries
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Severe burns
- Dental and mouth injuries
- Disfigurement and paralysis
It is critical that you seek medical treatment as soon as it is safe to do so. This provides two benefits. First, it protects your access to your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which mandates that you pursue medical care within 14 days of your accident. Second, it maintains the integrity of your bus accident claim so insurance companies cannot accuse you of inflating the extent of your injuries, and a Tampa attorney can use medical documentation for your claim.
CAUSES OF TAMPA BUS Crashes
When a fatigued bus driver fails to observe the speed limit or a defective bus part prevents the driver from braking for a red light, the consequences can be catastrophic, or even fatal, for motorists and pedestrians in the path of an out-of-control bus.
Drunk Bus Drivers
Bus drivers are trusted with the safety of the passengers in their care. When they violate this by driving drunk, their ability to react to obstacles like road debris or compensate for adverse weather conditions is significantly impaired by the effects of alcohol that compromise judgment capacity and physical coordination.
They may rear-end a passenger vehicle because they misjudged how much space they would need to come to a complete stop in the rain, or puncture a tire on a road hazard and veer into the path of a bicyclist.
Reckless, Drowsy, and Distracted Bus Drivers
Sober drivers are not exempt from negligent behaviors. Bus drivers are susceptible to being distracted by a text, a roadside scene, adjusting the radio, or a commotion on the bus. Negligent bus drivers may also be aggressive, undertrained, or impatient and choose to ignore traffic laws or engage in reckless maneuvering, fail to yield to pedestrians or cars that have the right of way, or brake and turn without warning.
Drowsy bus drivers are also threats to the safety of their passengers and fellow road users when they doze behind the wheel. Their fatigued state can cause them to miss important cues like red lights, turn signals, and warning whistles from incoming trains, leading to devastating collisions.
Bus Mechanical Issues
No one would agree to drive a car without functioning brakes or a steering wheel that does not turn, for good reason. It leaves the driver unable to react to dynamic road conditions and avoid collisions. Even something as minor as a broken headlight can result in a bus driver missing the presence of a cyclist in the bike lane and merging into them as they approach a stop.
If the party responsible for conducting inspections missed a critical defect, the maintenance crew failed to properly repair it, or the original manufacturer produced a defective product, a lawyer in Tampa may hold them liable for the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress in a bus accident lawsuit, even if they were not at the scene of the crash.
BUS ACCIDENT LIABILITY CAN BE COMPLEX
Depending on the origin of the negligence, your ability to recover damages may be restricted. This is why it is critical to seek out a bus accident lawyer in Tampa who has experience handling both bus accident claims and dealing with cases where the government may be held liable for negligence, considering that many buses are owned and operated by the government and its employees.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I CLAIM IN A BUS Wreck LAWSUIT?
Florida drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance which is intended to do damage control in the immediate aftermath of an accident. It provides a degree of compensation for lost wages, as well as the majority of medical bills.
However, it does not account for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. In cases of severe injuries, it’s a bandaid on the issue of long-term medical costs that come with debilitating or disfiguring injuries. A Tampa attorney can help you file a bus accident lawsuit to recover a broader range of damages that address the true scope of the expenses that have been thrust upon you. Damages could include:
- Medical bills
- Lab tests
- Ambulance rides
- Transportation to appointments
- Hospital stays
- Mobility aids
- Home healthcare services
- Home modifications
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Costs of job retraining
- Missed promotions
- Inability to continue career
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium
- Lost income contribution
In most cases, it is drivers, pedestrians, or other road users who are injured in a bus accident. After they exhaust the limits of their PIP insurance, they may pursue a lawsuit against the negligent party responsible for the crash to recover damages. However, if a bus driver is injured in an accident, they would need to file a workers’ compensation claim, which does not require that fault be factored into the reimbursement of damages.
Based on our years of experience handling bus accident claims, we encourage anyone who has been injured in a bus accident to seek out a Tampa attorney as soon as possible rather than waiting for their bills to accumulate further and crucial details of the incident to fade.
HOW CAN A BUS Collision LAWYER HELP ME?
The true costs of your injury may not be immediately apparent, so accepting a settlement offer without speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney may result in inadequate compensation for future expenses, like reconstructive surgery, home modifications like shower bars or wheelchair ramps, and the emotional distress that can accompany a diminished quality of life.
Multiple parties may be at fault for your bus accident, and a lawyer in Tampa is the most qualified person to make that determination. If the bus is owned and operated by a government entity, the window for filing a bus accident claim may be smaller than in a typical personal injury claim, and the government’s exposure will likely be capped at $200,000 worth of compensation.
KMW LEGAL PROVIDES OUR CLIENTS WITH SIGNIFICANT RESOURCES
The Tampa attorneys at KMW Legal understand how traumatic a bus crash experience can be and the toll it takes on family finances and individual health. Regardless of which party is ultimately found liable for damages, a bus accident lawyer can still offer valuable legal insight in regard to dissecting insurance policies, naming defendants in the lawsuit, and negotiating with insurance companies.
Our clients are given references to top-rate physicians for medical evaluations to treat and record injuries. They can also expect that we will draft statements to insurance companies, represent their interests in negotiations, and use evidence from our thorough investigation to extract a fair settlement offer.
KMW IS PROUD TO REPRESENT INJURED BUS Crash VICTIMS
With a population of 387,916, Tampa is one of the largest cities in the state of Florida and sees more than its fair share of bus accidents. During our decade in business serving injured Floridians of Hillsborough County, we have honed our skills to provide the most straightforward, empathetic experience possible for our clients.
Many of our former clients have gone on to recommend our services to their friends because they know that KMW Legal can be counted on to protect our client’s right to a fair settlement from preliminary negotiations all the way to trial.
CONTACT A TAMPA BUS ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a bus collision caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, you have a right to be compensated for the financial, emotional, and physical costs you have incurred.
The founding attorneys of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh have a background in trial experience, giving our team a better insight as to how to effectively persuade factfinders of another party’s liability when one of our clients has been the victim of negligence in a bus accident. Our results speak for themselves.
We invite you to join us for a complimentary strategy session with our Tampa bus accident lawyers so we can explain your legal options and understand your experience. Call now to learn more.