We all expect our morning and evening commutes to go smoothly. After all, we're just trying to get to where we need to be. Unfortunately, the unexpected sometimes happens. Even heading out on a simple errand can change the course of your life. Knowing what to do after an accident can make the difference between total devastation and securing your family's financial future.
This is especially true for bus accidents. After all, bus accidents can be very different than a typical car accident. Why? Here are a few reasons:
A typical car weighs about 3,000 pounds. A bus loaded with children or commuters, on the other hand, can weigh up to 40,000 pounds. Given the differences in weight, a bus accident can cause serious damage and injury to everyone involved.
Bus drivers often receive special training to safely drive this massive vehicle. We entrust our lives in the hands of these drivers. This doesn't mean that they won't make mistakes. After all, bus drivers are human. Many operate on tight schedules to get passengers where they need to go. Their jobs depend on it. As a result, some of their decisions may sacrifice safety for staying on schedule.
Hazardous weather, distractions by passengers, or heavy traffic can also add to an already stressful situation. Buses need extra time to stop and more space to turn. The driver needs to react more quickly to avoid accidents. And, ordinary commuters aren't making bus drivers' lives any easier. Impatient motorists may drive recklessly to maneuver around stopped buses and even ignore the stop sign on a school bus.
Have You Been Involved in a Bus Accident?
Bus accidents may affect passengers, pedestrians, or those in other vehicles. You may be dealing with significant pain and injuries. Your car or other property may be ruined. And, you're left with more questions than answers.
Who will pay for the losses associated with your injuries and property damage? Securing compensation for a bus accident can be complicated. You may have to sue a company that has a team of lawyers. These lawyers want to make sure that you obtain the least amount of compensation possible for your troubles.
And, you, simply trying to navigate the claims process while dealing with pain, can feel overwhelmed.
Don't try to settle alone. The Ward Law Group wants to help you. Let us sift through the information of your bus accident and create a fair claim that will allow you to keep your family afloat during this difficult time.
The Ward Law Group also serves Spanish-speaking individuals who are involved in bus accidents. After all, over one-third of Hollywood, Florida's residents identify as Hispanic. We don't want a language barrier keeping you from securing the compensation you deserve after a bus accident.
Personal Injury & Bus Accident Statistics for Hollywood, FL
In metropolitan areas like Hollywood, Florida, bus accidents may be more common than you think. For example, just a few years ago a tow truck crashed into a bus, sending most of the bus passengers to the hospital.
More recently, four students were taken to the hospital after a school bus crash on 63rd Avenue and Fletcher Street. A car ran a stop sign and collided with a bus.
Luckily, both of these bus accidents didn't involve any life-threatening injuries to passengers. Others, however, are not so lucky.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Broward county experienced over 4,000 commercial motor vehicle accidents-including bus accidents-in 2017. Of those accidents, over a thousand people were injured. This is a staggering 48% jump from the year before. Sadly, between 2016 and 2017, 22 people lost their lives in commercial motor vehicle crashes.
Given the popularity of Hollywood, FL for its great food, amazing beaches, and emerging nightlife, the streets are often filled with locals and eager tourists. Of course, all this extra traffic-especially from those unfamiliar with the area-make the roads more dangerous for commuters and buses.
Types of Bus Accident Injuries
As you probably know, many buses don't have the same safety restraints and features as a typical car. Given the massive size and weight of a bus, the sustained injuries can be devastating.
Those in bus accidents may deal with injuries like:
- Neck strains
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Muscle damage
- Lacerations and burns
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Concussions or loss of consciousness
- Wrongful death
In addition, the trauma of a bus accident or the resulting injuries can lead to mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. Your family may also have to deal with the stress and hardships of you being out of work and trying to recover from injuries.
The Ward Law Group can help you recoup losses due to these injuries as well as the psychological effects of your accident. Our team's extensive knowledge of the claims process can allow you to obtain more money than you expected. This money will cover your medical bills and help your family out during this difficult time.
Florida Law & Auto Accident Compensation
Florida has a "no-fault" law for car accident claims involving injuries. This means if you were injured in an accident, you have to settle with your insurance company. Your policy has personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This means, after paying your deductible, your policy will pay for a set amount for injuries sustained during an accident. So, even if the accident wasn't your fault, it may cost you money.
What if the cost of your injuries totals more than your PIP coverage?
Those with significant and/or permanent injuries can sue the other party to recover damages. If the case goes to trial, however, a judge or jury will determine how much you were at fault for the accident. So, if you were deemed partially at fault, then you may lose part of your claim. For example, say you sued for $5,000 in damages. Then a jury determines you were 20% at fault. This means, if all goes well with the trial, you will still only receive $4,000.
And, what if you are a passenger involved in a bus accident? Do you sue the bus company or the driver at fault? Do you even know who is at fault in your bus accident? After all, you were probably just going about your business, waiting to get to your next destination.
Is your head spinning yet?
Yes, personal injury laws can be confusing. Especially to individuals with no prior legal experience.
Think of it this way:
You wouldn't try performing heart surgery on yourself. So, then, why would you try to deal with complex laws on your own? Why risk losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars by adopting a do-it-yourself approach to legal representation?
Maximizing Your Claim: Immediate Steps to Take After an Accident
A bus accident can be a chaotic, emotional scene. A typical school bus can hold up to 72 kids. Many commuter buses have a capacity of up to 80 passengers. That's a lot of people who may be injured, shocked, or panicked after a bus accident.
If you are involved in a bus accident, make sure you are safe. You may feel the need to help others, but if you suspect any kind of injury, it may be prudent to wait until trained responders arrive on the scene. While it is noble to want to help others, you don't want to further injure yourself while responders are usually only minutes away in a busy metropolitan area like Hollywood, FL.
Once help arrives, request medical attention for any suspected injuries. This is no time to be stoic. The trauma of a bus accident may have you emotionally charged with adrenaline pumping through your system. As you calm down, you may realize the bus accident injured you more than you first expected. At the very least, schedule an appointment with your doctor a day or two after an accident. This can help determine if the bus accident caused any injuries and also provide medical documentation for the claims process.
If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses. Also, request the contact information of any police officers you spoke with at the scene of the accident.
You May Not Get the Money You Deserve Trying to Settle On Your Own
Before making any settlements with the bus or insurance company, make sure you talk to a Hollywood personal injury lawyer. Bus accident claims may not be as clear-cut as typical car accident claims-especially if you were a passenger on the bus.
Hiring a personal injury attorney who knows how to properly handle bus accident claims can ensure you get fair compensation for your injuries, suffering, and property damage.
The Ward Law Group Can Help You Through This Difficult Time
The claims process for bus accidents can be challenging for both English- and Spanish-speaking victims. Luckily, you don't have to go at it alone.
Why not give The Ward Law Group a call today? Here are just a couple of reasons:
- Filing a claim too late can lead to it being rejected. Don't procrastinate.
- We will fully investigate your claim and make sure we settle with the appropriate party.
- You can focus on your recovery while we do the legal legwork (paperwork, phone calls, litigation).
- We will make sure the medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and emotional suffering are included in your claim with proper documentation.