Bus accidents are relatively rare, but given how many people may be in them at the time, there is a possibility of many, serious injuries. Whether the bus if privately operated, or part of a government transportation agency, we help victims of bus accidents.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimates there were forty incidences in which a school or commercial bus hit an object (compare to 22,075 involving autos) and 262 accidents involving a bus and another vehicle (with 34,985 autos involved in such accidents). Taking the bus is a relatively safe way to go, but mistakes and accidents do happen.
Normally, an injured party has two years to file a legal action against parties who may be responsible. This is the statute of limitations. If you or a loved one are injured on a bus (or were a pedestrian or in a vehicle struck by a bus) owned by government entity or transit authority, notice of a potential legal claim needs to filed with that entity within six months of the accident.
This is not a lawsuit. It is a notice required by state statute and compliance with that statute is necessary to pursue a legal action. If notice is not timely given and a lawsuit is filed, the transit authority will in all likelihood be able to have the case dismissed (unless there some extraordinary showing why the deadline was missed).
Given this relatively short deadline, if you or a loved one have been injured in a public bus accident, contact our office so we can talk to you about the accident, your injuries and how we can help. We may file a notice just to make sure it’s done in a timely manner and decide later whether filing a lawsuit is the best course of action.
If you find yourself on a bus that’s involved in an accident, exit the bus safely and make sure you’re out of the way of any other traffic. Call 911 if you can. If you have a smartphone and are able to take pictures, do so without getting in the way of traffic, police or emergency responders. Cooperate with the police and give an honest account of what happened.
If you are injured, get medical attention. If you don’t think you’re injured, get a medical exam as soon as possible. You may have suffered injuries without being aware of it. Time may pass before an injury manifests itself.
If the transportation agency, its insurance company or attorney later contacts you and seeks additional information or in any way offers some kind of compensation in exchange for a release of legal claims, you should contact an attorney before doing anything, or saying anything, that may impact your legal rights and ability to seek compensation for injuries.