Any car accident is traumatic. When you’re involved, physical injuries are part of the trauma you face. There’s also the emotional aspect. You’re going to be in shock and may find it hard to get back behind the wheel or in a car. You might avoid the area where the crash occurred as it brings back the feelings of distress. When you’re in a car accident with a bus, it’s harder. The size of the bus increases the risk that you won’t walk away unscathed. You’re more likely to have serious injuries when you’re in a crash with a much larger vehicle.
If you’re in an accident with a bus, you have a few things to consider. If you were a passenger, you had no control. You do have a valid complaint against the driver and the bus company should you want to file a personal injury suit. If you were the driver, did you contribute to the accident in any way? If you could be partly to blame, that will impact a settlement or award. You also need to make sure you take the appropriate steps to back up your claim should you need to file one.
What Do You Do First?
After the accident, seek medical care. There are two reasons to do this. First, you want to focus on your well-being. You could have soft tissue injuries, which don’t always appear immediately after a car crash. Adrenaline and stress following a crash often mask pain and soft tissue injuries. Whiplash is one of the most common soft tissue injuries. Second, you need medical records that document your injuries. If you aren’t offered a fair settlement and decide to sue, documents from doctors and specialists help your case.
Keep a journal documenting your recovery and additional symptoms that present themselves after you’ve seen a doctor. If there is anything new, return to the doctor. You’ll be given a list of things to watch for, such as headache or dizziness, heed the doctor’s warnings and seek urgent medical care if any of those symptoms appear in the days following the accident with a bus.
Fill Out an Accident Report ASAP
You might not be able to talk to the police at the scene. Make sure you do as soon as you’re well enough. If an accident report wasn’t filed, which would be unlikely, make sure one is completed and filed with the police. You need the report number when you file a claim with the insurance company.
Going to the police for a copy of the accident report is also important as it’s going to give you the names, insurance information, and contact information of others involved in the crash. Your insurance agent will need that information. If there are witnesses, get that information to pass along in your insurance claim.
See If Anyone Got Video or Photos of the Scene
Another driver in the area may have gotten dash-camera footage of the crash. You can always ask on city forums if anyone did. If there is a video to back up your claim, it can help. If you have a dashcam, get that footage from the SD card or from your dash cam’s app as soon as you can. You don’t want to show up days later to find that someone took the camera from your car while it was sitting in a salvage yard.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Once you’re home or well enough to call your insurance agent, do so. Your agent can start the claim against the bus driver’s insurance. You may need to talk to that insurance company to give your account. Answer questions honestly and fully without accepting any blame. Never guess that you might have done something wrong. Stick to the facts. If the stress following the crash has you forgetting details, don’t try to guess at them.
Don’t Delay Filing
If you do get a settlement offer from the bus driver’s insurance and find it doesn’t cover your lost wages, medical bills, and property damage, talk to an attorney who specializes in bus accidents. Don’t accept a settlement offer that you don’t feel is fair. You have the right to investigate the crash on your own. Just remember that there is a two-year deadline for property damages and three years for personal injury lawsuits. This changes if the bus driver works for the government. The statute of limitations drops to six months with accidents involving government employees.
Jordan, Herington & Rowley has secured more than $500 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. If you’re in a bus accident, you need the team on your side. Our Denver attorneys are passionate about getting justice for their clients. We may be selective, but that’s because we believe our clients deserve our undivided attention. Trust in us to make sure you’re treated fairly by the bus company. Give us a call or chat with one of our personal injury attorneys online. Consultations are free and available 24/7.