Denver Bus Accident Attorney
Bus drivers owe their passengers high standards of care. Passengers trust public, private, tour, and school bus drivers to get them to their destinations on time and safely. Commercial bus drivers must maintain special driver’s licenses to legally operate buses in the state of Colorado. They must also be careful and vigilant behind the wheel to reasonably prevent collisions. Negligent or distracted bus drivers can lead to serious passenger and pedestrian injuries.
How Can Jordan, Herington & Rowley Attorneys Help
At Jordan, Herington & Rowley, our bus accident lawyers in Denver understand how to handle cases involving negligent bus drivers, bus companies and more. Depending on who or what caused your crash, you could seek recovery from these parties and/or others. With help from our personal injury attorneys in Denver, you can learn your rights as a bus accident victim and take a stand against negligence. We can help you fight for full compensation for your injuries.
School bus accidents deal with many of the same laws and statutes as public or private buses. If the school bus belongs to a private school, parents of injured children could sue the school for collection of damages. A public school bus falls under Denver government jurisdiction. An injury claim for a public school bus crash would take the form of a claim against the government. Schools are liable for the actions and behaviors of their on-duty bus drivers. For more information about a bus accident personal injury claim, talk to the Denver personal injury attorneys at Jordan, Herington & Rowley. Schedule a free evaluation today.
3 Questions to Ask Before Filing a Bus Accident Lawsuit
After sustaining injuries or other losses from a bus accident, you will likely consider whether or not you can file a lawsuit for your damages. There are three questions you must ask yourself before doing so. Pursuing a lawsuit isn’t cheap, and you could wind up paying more in legal fees than you win from your settlement or case award depending on the circumstances. Consider the following questions and reach out to your attorney for guidance.
Who Is at Fault?
- This is the most important question concerning your lawsuit. Personal injury law hinges on the concept of negligence, and you will need to determine who was at fault for your bus accident. To succeed with a lawsuit for a bus accident, you will likely need to prove the driver acted negligently, causing the accident. You must also determine whether or not you bear any fault for the accident. If you were a passenger on a bus that crashed, this shouldn’t be a concern for you. However, if you were driving your car and were negligent in any way that contributed to the accident, you should prepare to absorb some measure of fault for the accident.
- Colorado follows a modified contributory negligence law, which means a plaintiff will lose a portion of a settlement or case award equal to his or her percentage of fault for the claimed damages. The plaintiff’s fault may not exceed the defendant’s. For example, in a bus accident case in which the plaintiff claims $50,000 in damages but the jury finds the plaintiff 10% at fault, he or she would lose 10% of the case award for a net total of $45,000 instead.
Is the Bus Company Responsible?
- Depending on the nature of your case, vicarious liability may come into play. For example, if your accident involved a school bus, then the school may absorb some liability for the negligent actions of the bus driver. If your accident involved a privately-owned bus, the bus company would face liability under common carrier laws. A “common carrier” is any business that offers transportation as a paid service to the public, and they have a duty of care to prevent injuries to passengers and others by vetting and training their employees appropriately. If the bus driver acted negligently within the scope of his or her job duties, the employer will likely face liability.
Are You Pursuing Your Lawsuit Correctly?
- There are different procedures for taking legal action against a private individual or company than a publicly-operated entity like a government agency. If your lawsuit involves a school district or government office of any kind, the steps for filing a lawsuit are much more complex and fall within strict guidelines. You may need to file a tort claim before you can pursue a lawsuit, and the statute of limitations for taking legal action against a public entity is much shorter than in other cases.
- The plaintiff in a bus accident case should work very closely with a personal injury attorney to build a strong case, and this involves determining whether the plaintiff’s claim has merit. For example, a driver suing a bus company for an accident involving one of its drivers may at first appear straightforward, only for the plaintiff’s attorney to discover traffic camera footage that shows the plaintiff using a cell phone behind the wheel right before the accident. This could hurt the plaintiff’s position, or even place fault on the plaintiff – so it may not be a wise choice to pursue a claim in such a situation.
Bus Accident Laws in Colorado
You can get almost anywhere by public bus in Denver. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) runs several routes throughout the city, including free shuttles that make it easy to explore downtown. Buses are great for commuters and tourists alike. What many passengers don’t realize, however, is the potential for serious injuries. With no seatbelts on the majority of public buses, passengers are at significant risk of injury in collisions.
If a bus driver speeds, doesn’t yield the right-of-way, takes a curve too quickly, or runs off the road, he or she can cause major injuries to multiple parties at once. In these situations, injured passengers could sue one or more parties for damages. In the event of an accident involving a private bus company, such as a tour bus or party bus, you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the business owner. This would be the case if an on-duty bus driver caused the accident, or if the company did through some act of negligence, such as failing to maintain its fleet of private buses.
If you suffer an injury on a public bus, at a public bus stop, or after a public bus hits you, present a claim to the Denver government. The government has control over the RTD and other public bus systems. You have a limited time to bring a claim against the government in Colorado – 180 days from the date of your accident. This is much shorter than the three-year time frame you have for non-government bus accident claims. The sooner you speak to a an accident attorney at Jordan, Herington & Rowley after any type of bus accident, the better your chances of securing compensation.