Bus accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence in many large cities and their surrounding suburbs, and Oak Lawn is no exception. A 2010 study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that, on average, 63,000 buses are involved in accidents every year. Whether the bus accident causes harm to passengers, pedestrians, or any other vehicles on the road, know that injured individuals may be able to seek compensation.
A professional Oak Lawn bus accident lawyer may be able to help you figure out your potential legal options. A local lawyer may have the knowledge of both state laws and any relevant local regulations that could help your case. Read on to learn more about how a skilled personal injury attorney could make a difference in your case today.
Individuals injured in bus accidents may seek recourse for their damages through a civil suit against the bus driver or the bus company. Unlike passenger vehicles, buses are held to a heightened legal standard that applies to transportation entities to ensure the safety of their passengers. To receive compensation, a plaintiff needs to prove that the bus driver was operating the bus in a negligent way. A bus driver may be negligent if they failed to meet the required standard of care. This standard of care depends on whether the individual injured in the bus accident was a passenger.
Busses are considered common carriers under the Common Carrier Liability Act. In the simplest terms, a common carrier is anything that transports goods or people. Common carriers must meet a higher standard of care than other vehicles as the law requires these bus drivers to exercise the highest duty of care consistent with the practical operation of their conveyances. A common carrier’s duty extends to the passenger from the time they are boarding until there is a reasonable opportunity to reach a place of safety.
This high standard for common carriers even extends to protecting bus passengers from a third party. Bus drivers also owe a duty of reasonable care to anyone who is not a passenger on the bus. A bus driver fails to exercise reasonable care when they act recklessly or carelessly. This is typically proven by showing that the bus driver was violating a traffic law and that ultimately caused the bus accident.
If the bus operator was a government employee or driving a government-operated bus, then an injured individual may have a claim against the government agency. A common carrier, in this instance a government agency, has a legal duty to protect its passengers, even from actions of their employees. Whether outside of the scope of the employee’s responsibility or not, the government agency that operated the bus would also be held liable for the harm caused by intentional acts of its employee.
Bus accidents are similar to other traffic collisions in most respects. However, the size of these vehicles could cause a severe accident and can have a devastating impact on all involved parties. The most common injuries include broken bones, spinal trauma, traumatic brain injuries, burns, internal bleeding, lacerations, and whiplash.
Only by making a proper valuation of a case from the outset can injured plaintiffs expect to collect appropriate compensation. A seasoned bus accident attorney in Oak Lawn could calculate the injured party’s damages and help them seek compensation.
Every plaintiff seeking compensation for a personal injury has a limited time to file a claim. The time limit, known as the statute of limitations, is an absolute rule that applies to all injured bus riders and people in their own vehicles.
735 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/13-202 says that injured plaintiffs have two years following the date of injury to demand compensation. This rule applies both to cases that go to trial and those that seek proper payments through insurance settlements. An skilled Oak Lawn bus accident attorney could help to form claims in a timely manner so that a case does not fail because of a violation of the statute of limitations.
Bus drivers have a duty to protect pedestrians, passengers, and other drivers. When they breach this duty and their negligence causes accidents, they may be liable for any damage they cause. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a bus accident, you may be able to seek compensation.
Because of the complex nature of a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois, you should contact an Oak Lawn bus accident lawyer with knowledge of the state laws and the local court system. Because the harm caused by a bus accident can be horrific, a plaintiff should be able to recoup the costs associated with their accident. Reach out to a dedicated Oak Lawn bus accident lawyer today for your initial consultation.