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 contact 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 assess potential strategies to help you obtain fair compensation.
Why it Matters Who Owned and Operated the Bus
Unfortunately, seemingly identical bus accidents can lead to entirely different cases, depending on whether the bus was a commercially owned vehicle or owned by a municipal authority. Who owned and operated the bus certainly impacts one’s claim. Discussing the incident with a Midwest City bus accident attorney can 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 was a municipal agency. Since taxpayers fund these government services, the Oklahoma state legislature has erected procedural hurdles that must be overcome 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 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 differs 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 notify the governmental entity. If the claim is denied or 90 days after the initial claim has lapsed, the plaintiff must 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 from 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, 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 comparative fault rules 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 a victim may recover in a successful case is typically 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 damages, they would only recover a maximum of 75 percent of their total damage award. A lawyer in Midwest City could further clarify 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, numerous details 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.