A collision with a bus can leave many individuals, both passengers and other motorists, severely injured. Anyone who has suffered injuries due to a negligent bus driver should reach out to a Midwest City bus accident lawyer.
A personal injury attorney can review the factors surrounding your collision and work to hold the careless party accountable. Call and schedule an appointment to start assessing potential strategies that may help you obtain fair compensation.
Why it Matters Who Owned and Operated the Bus
Unfortunately, seemingly identical bus accidents can lead to completely different cases depending on whether the bus was a commercially-owned vehicle or one owned by a municipal authority. Who owned and operated the bus certainly impact one’s claim. Talking about the incident with a Midwest City bus accident attorney could help build a strong case, regardless of who owned the bus.
School Buses and Public Transit
When the bus involved in a crash was a school bus or one owned by a public transit system, the owner and operator of the vehicle is a municipal agency. Since these government services are funded by taxpayers, the Oklahoma state legislature has erected procedural hurdles that must be overcome in order for bus accident victims to recover compensation. This falls under our state’s Governmental Tort Claims Act.
While the point of these barriers is to protect the government—and by association, taxpayer money—from civil liability, they can result in an uphill struggle for a person injured in a bus crash. This can be especially problematic when the person who was hurt in the bus accident was a child, as even moderate injuries can impact how they develop for years to come.
It is important to note that the deadline to file a lawsuit is different than against a commercial entity. Injured victims must follow the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act to pursue a claim against a city bus. Initially, there is a one-year statute of limitations. But, before a lawsuit is filed, the injured victim must must first provide notice to the governmental entity. If the claim is denied, or 90 days after the initial claim have lapsed, the plaintiff must then file a lawsuit after that date, and within 180 days to protect their claim.
Commercial Buses and Respondeat Superior
When a bus accident involves a commercial bus, victims often stand a much better chance of recovering financially for damages, if the insurance company fairly evaluates the injuries. In these cases, as long as the bus driver was operating “within the scope of their employment,” as is usually the case in bus crashes involving these vehicles, the corporate owner of the bus may be implicated in a lawsuit through the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. This extends liability for the accident through the bus driver to the bus company that employed them.
Understanding the Impact of Comparative Fault
Victims of bus accidents are generally entitled to recover compensation, even if they were partially responsible for their damages. Midwest City’s rules of comparative fault typically allow accident victims to recover compensation so long as they bear no more than 50 percent of the total fault for the incident.
However, the amount that a victim may recover in a successful case is often decreased by the percentage of fault attributed to them. For example, if a court determines that a bus accident victim was 25 percent at fault for their own damages, they would only be able to recover a maximum of 75 percent of their total damage award. A lawyer in Midwest City could provide further clarification about how this legal principle may affect an individual’s bus accident case.
Speak with a Midwest City Bus Accident Attorney
If you were hurt in a bus accident in Midwest City, there are a lot of details that can drastically impact the outcome of your case. Talking to a Midwest City bus accident lawyer as soon as possible could help protect your rights and interests.
Speak to a seasoned attorney to start examining your potential legal options. Call today to schedule a consultation.