Bus accidents can cause considerable personal and property damage. After all, a typical bus weighs about 44,000 pounds when filled to capacity. Your car, on the other hand, only weighs about 3,000 pounds. The force and impact of a bus accident can be devastating-not to mention a nightmare when it comes to filing insurance claims.
Bus accidents are often more complicated than your typical car collision. With car crashes, you exchange insurance information and start the process of filing a claim with your insurance company. What if you were a passenger on the bus and sustained significant injuries during an accident? Do you file a claim with the bus company or the vehicle that was at fault? It can be a tricky process if you try going at it alone. Couple that with painful injuries that keep you from work and enjoying time with family with friends. You may feel like securing a fair settlement is next to impossible.
You don't need to feel this way. A personal injury lawyer can help you sift through the facts and determine who needs to be held accountable for the event that turned your life upside down. Lawyers know the complexities of the claims process. They can take care of the paperwork, communications with insurance companies, and litigation while you focus on recovering from your injuries. The result: you get the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Let the Ward Law Group Help You
The Ward Law Group is dedicated to helping those who sustain personal injuries. We want to help you successfully file a claim to recoup your losses. Since almost 1/3 of the 135 million people in Orange County, FL come from Hispanic or Latino origin, we know how important it is to provide our services to both English- and Spanish-speaking individuals. Navigating the claims process is hard enough without having to navigate the language barrier. The insurance companies may actually take advantage of individuals who can't speak English very well. We don't want that to happen to you-and we'll ensure that it doesn't.
Personal Injury & Bus Accidents Statistics for Orlando, FL
The Orlando metropolitan area has more than 2.5 million residents. In addition, according to the Orlando Sentinel, in 2016 alone, we had 68 million tourists pass through. After all, Orlando has a lot to offer tourists-Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, Sea World, and plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining.
Given the usual congestion of a busy metropolitan area and the abundance of tourists, it's no wonder why the streets and highways of Orlando are so dangerous. How many times have you encountered a near accident while a tourist was too busy trying to find their way instead of paying attention to road conditions? A tourist suddenly realizes that he or she missed their turn, then slams on the brakes. If you're driving a car, you may easily advert an accident. The extra weight of busses, however, make it harder to stop quickly and to adjust to sudden hazards on the road.
Congested roads don't make life easy for bus drivers. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Orange County had over 3,000 commercial vehicle (including bus) crashes in 2017. This was more than a 17% increase compared to the previous year. Those commercial vehicle crashes resulted in over a thousand reported injuries and 17 fatalities.
Types of Bus Accident Injuries
A bus driver is responsible for safely transporting passengers to their destination. That being said, bus drivers must follow tight schedules despite the weather, road hazards, and traffic conditions. Just like any of us, even the best bus drivers are prone to human error. Of course, when driving a large vehicle like a bus, the margin of error is much smaller.
Given the force of a bus accident, injuries are often more significant than a typical car accident.
Common Injuries Associated with Bus Accidents
Consider yourself lucky if you walk away from a bus accident with minor injuries. Many experience painful conditions and significant trauma including:
- Whiplash or neck problems
- Bruising and lacerations
- Broken bones or ribs
- Muscle damage
- Internal bleeding or damaged organs
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Bulging or herniated intervertebral discs
In addition, psychological issues can develop as a result of a bus accident. Traumatic events can put the mind and body in a constant state of hypervigilance leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One may also experience anxiety, depression, or social withdrawal as a result of injuries.
While some of these injuries heal with time and treatment, others can create lifelong debilitating conditions that prevent you from working, supporting your family, and enjoying your favorite activities.
If the negligence of a bus driver caused you significant pain and suffering, you may be entitled to a cash settlement that covers your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. The Ward Law Group will do the legwork of navigating the claims process to ensure you get the money you need to keep your family afloat during this difficult time.
Florida Law & Auto Accident Compensation
If you're a Florida resident, then you probably know that filing a claim is different than in many other states. Florida has "no-fault" car accident compensation laws. If you were a driver involved in a bus accident involving injuries, you need to file a claim with your auto insurance company's personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Your insurance company will cover a set amount of damage, depending on your individual policy.
What happens if your PIP coverage doesn't cover all the medical bills and other expenses? Then you will need to sue the other party to recoup losses. In addition, these "no-fault" laws don't apply to property damage. Since your car probably sustained significant damage during the bus accident, you will also need to file a claim with the bus company's insurance.
Florida's Law of Comparative Negligence
Settling claims can be tricky. Florida also has "pure comparative negligence" laws, meaning that a judge or jury will calculate the percentage that each party is at fault. That percentage dictates how much you receive from a claim. For example, if you are seeking $4,000 in additional damages but were found to be 25% at fault, you will only receive $3,000.
What if you were a bus passenger injured in a car accident? The claims process can be even more confusing. While you are certainly entitled to compensation for your injuries, it may not be as easy as filing a typical auto accident claim. Some bus companies have insurance policies that cover each passenger up to a certain limit. Other policies set up a pool of money which is meant to be paid out to every injured passenger.
A personal injury lawyer can help sift through the facts of a specific claim and find the best way to maximize your compensation. In addition to recovering money for medical bills and property damage, a good attorney will also help get you money for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other hardships brought on by a bus accident.
Maximizing Your Claim: Immediate Steps to Take After an Accident
A bus accident scene can be traumatic and confusing. There are probably a lot of people involved with various injuries. The first thing you want to do is make sure that you are safe. Move away from the accident scene if you can do so without causing further injury. Then request immediate medical attention for your injuries. If you are feeling any kind of pain or discomfort, don't refuse help from emergency services.
Even if you don't feel any pain right after an accident, get checked out by your doctor as soon as possible. Some internal injuries may not show symptoms until days or even weeks after an accident. A thorough medical examination and diagnostic testing, however, can help prove that certain injuries were caused by the bus accident. This evidence will be crucial when settling your claim.
When possible, take pictures of the accident scene and obtain any contact information (names, addresses, and phone numbers) of potential witnesses. Also, try to write down your account of what happened as soon as possible. This can include information about the bus driver's behavior, what happened prior to the accident, and what took place during and after the accident. It's easy to forget or incorrectly remember the facts days or weeks after an accident. A written account is a great reference to help you correctly answer questions during the claims process.
Don't wait to get help from a personal injury attorney. The law limits the amount of time you have to file a claim. And, since claims for bus accidents can be especially tricky, you want to make sure you have an experienced professional who knows how to settle a claim successfully.
Let The Ward Law Group Help You During this Difficult Time
The Ward Law Group doesn't want you to suffer because of others' careless or dangerous actions. After all, you worked hard to raise and support your family. You did everything you could to be financially independent. Sadly, a bus accident took away your ability to earn a living and enjoy the life you worked so hard to create.
Why not let us take care of the complicated claims process so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back? Even if you speak Spanish, we will make sure you are informed and supported throughout your insurance claim. We work hard to ensure that your settlement takes away the financial burden and stress of your bad accident.
You've been through enough already. Don't try dealing with the insurance company alone. Call us today, so we can start filing your claim!