Who Is Responsible In An Accident Caused By A Bus Driver?

Posted on: 2 November 2016

Accidents involving buses have unique issues that can impact a victim's claim. Issues can include determining who to hold responsible for your injuries and which damages you can claim. If you have been involved in an accident with a bus, here is what you need to know.  

Who Is Responsible?

If you were the victim in the accident, you have to determine whether or not to hold the bus driver, the owner of the bus, or another entity responsible for your accident. Who is ultimately responsible for the accident depends on who the owner of the bus is. 

In cases involving buses that are owned by government entities, such as the city, your claim has to be against the city. If the bus is owned by a private company, you can choose to file a claim against the company. However, if the driver is considered a contractor by the company, you can file a claim against him or her and possibly the company.  

What If a Government Entity Owns the Bus?

Government entities typically have protections that can impact what steps you can take to recover damages in your case. The law in your area more than likely requires you to file a claim with the agency responsible for overseeing the operations of the bus. When you file the claim, you have to do so within a certain period of time. If you fail to do so, it is likely that your right to do so will expire.  

Once your claim is submitted, it will be reviewed and a determination will be made regarding whether or not it should be paid. If your claim is denied, you can file a lawsuit against the agency to recover damages. At that point, your case will be viewed as any other personal injury case.  

What If a Private Company Owns the Bus?

In the event that a private company owns the bus, you can treat your claim like any other personal injury case. Start by filing a claim with the company's insurance company. An adjuster will be assigned to your case and you can begin negotiations to have your claim paid.  

If the bus was driven by a contractor, you can choose to file on his or her insurance. Some contractors have insurance specifically for work-related incidents. In some instances, you can also pursue a claim against the company even if the driver was a contractor. For instance, if the bus was in poor condition and led to the accident, you might have a claim against the company, too.  

Consult with a car accident lawyer to determine the best plan for handling a bus accident. Contact a firm like True Guarnieri Ayer LLP to learn more.