Waterbury Bus Accident Attorney
Taking public transportation, such as the local bus, can be a cost-effective and environmentally conscious way of traveling. On the other hand, buses can also be extremely dangerous, since they are much larger than cars and are capable of causing severe damage to passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers in the event of an accident.
If you were involved in a bus accident, you may be able to receive compensation. It is important to understand who you are able to sue and what kind of compensation you can receive when suing in Waterbury, Connecticut. Laws become more complicated depending on if the bus is owned by the government or a private company. Make sure that you understand the law before pursuing a lawsuit. That’s where the Law Offices of James A. Welcome can help. Contact us today to speak with a Waterbury bus accident attorney. Call (203) 753-7300.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Waterbury
Although you may think that the most common causes of bus accidents would mirror the most common causes of car accidents, they really differ. Buses are much larger than cars, more prone to blind spots, and are more difficult to drive.
Typically, bus accidents are caused by bus driver fatigue due to the extensive amount of hours that they have to work. Other common causes of bus accidents are from defective bus machinery, careless driving such as running red lights, distractions from bus passengers, and slippery roads due to inclement weather. Buses are also more prone to rollovers since they have a higher center of gravity than cars. Additionally, since buses often do not have seatbelts, injuries from accidents can be more severe to passengers.
The consequences from a bus accident can be devastating. You may sustain injuries such as broken bones, lacerations and cuts, whiplash, bruising, sprains, concussions, bleeding, internal organ damage, paralysis, brain injuries, and even death.
Who Can You Sue After a Waterbury Bus Accident?
Lawsuits concerning bus accidents can become complicated, depending on if the bus is privately or publicly owned. If a bus is privately owned, the legal process for a personal injury lawsuit proceeds normally. That is, you must file a lawsuit within Connecticut’s statute of limitations which is two years from the date the injury is either sustained or discovered.
However, if the bus company is owned by a state or local government agency, the legal process will differ. There will be a cap on the amount of damages you may recover, and the procedure will also be stricter.
What is Sovereign Immunity?
If you wish to sue a bus company owned by the government, you must understand that government employees have something called sovereign immunity. This means that you must follow a much stricter procedure when filing a lawsuit against a company owned by the government, and the state might not be able to be sued without its consent. As times have changed, some of this immunity has loosened. There may be also be some exceptions to this immunity, so it is recommended you speak with a lawyer about your specific situation to see how sovereign immunity applies to your accident.
Another difference when suing a bus company owned by the government is the statute of limitations and the procedures you must follow to file a lawsuit. You must pursue a claim with the claims commissioner if sovereign immunity applies. The statute of limitations for the claim when sovereign immunity applies is one year after the injury occurred.
What if There is a Third Party?
If you are involved in an accident with a bus and a motor vehicle driver, you may also be able to sue the motor vehicle driver. The procedures for this would follow a that of a typical personal injury lawsuit, and you would be able to receive compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
Additionally, outside of the bus company and depending on the circumstances around your accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the bus driver, the company that maintains the bus, and the manufacturers of the bus’s equipment. It is important to consult with an attorney about all your options. It may not be feasible to file a lawsuit against multiple parties, depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident.
What Compensation Can I Receive in Waterbury?
Settlements vary based on the circumstances of your accident. If your injuries are particularly severe and the bus driver was negligent or careless in some way, your settlement could be over $100,000.
Typically, you are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical expenses for your injury, loss of past, present, and future wages, and loss of benefits. Non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, mental or emotional anguish, and loss of consortium. If you are suing a bus company owned by the government, bear in mind that there may be a cap on the damages you can receive or in some cases, you may not be able to receive any damages at all.
What About Comparative Negligence?
Connecticut is a comparative negligence state; that is, if a plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident, they can still recover damages. Specifically, Connecticut follows modified comparative negligence. This means that the plaintiff cannot recover damages if they are found to be more than 50% at fault. If they are able to recover damages, the amount will be reduced based on the percentage of their fault.
For instance, if the settlement amount is $40,000 but the plaintiff is found 30% at fault, they would recover $28,000 in damages. If there are multiple defendants, they must pay the amount of compensation based on their percentage of fault.
Why Should I Work with a Waterbury Bus Accident Lawyer?
Bus accidents are significantly more complex than they may seem. If you are suing a publicly owned bus or a school bus that is owned by the state, laws surrounding a lawsuit become exponentially more complicated. You will have to consider sovereign immunity and whether it applies.
Instead of attempting to parse through the complicated laws on your own, it is important for you to hire a lawyer who is well-versed in Connecticut law. They can gather evidence and witness testimony so you can continue to focus on your recovery. They also will be able to understand the complicated laws, and they can save you time and headache by determining the best route to take with your lawsuit from the beginning. Call us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced and dedicated Waterbury personal injury attorneys. This is much too important to handle on your own.