Bus Accident

How to Make a Bus Accident Claim for Compensation and Injuries?

If you have ever been involved in a bus accident that was clearly not your fault and you suffered injuries, whether minor or severe, you are entitled to make a bus accident claim. Although bus drivers are highly trained and follow safety precautions, crashes can still occur. It is not always the driver’s fault – other factors often play an important role. Bad roads, poor weather conditions, and other road users can also cause bus accidents.

Many injuries, including cuts, bruises, fractures, whiplash, head injuries, and more, can result from an accident. If you or your loved one has suffered from a bus accident, it is your right to make a bus accident claim and seek the compensation you deserve. In this guide, we will cover the important questions about bus accident claims so you know where to start. 

What is a Bus Accident Claim? 

A bus accident claim is a legal demand for compensation that can be filed by an injured person. This is typically done after an injury in an attempt to sue for damages as well as for other losses. A bus accident lawyer can also assist in getting fair compensation. The purpose of this claim is simply to make the injured get adequate compensation for their loss, pain and suffering, and other damages.

How Can I Initiate the Bus Accident Claim Process?

To start a bus accident claim, you can follow these steps:

Reach Out to a Bus Accident Lawyer

Any individual who has been involved in a bus accident is encouraged to seek the help of a bus accident lawyer. They are attorneys who help other people to file a case and sue for damages if they have been wronged. The process is quite legal and formal and it could be challenging if one has to deal with it on their own. However, the involvement of a lawyer can ease the process by ensuring that whatever is done is legal.

Present a Claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB)

The next step after consultation with a lawyer is to apply to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). PIAB is responsible for handling cases of personal injuries that do not fall under certain assault, medical negligence, or some sort of psychological harm. Types of claims that PIAB covers include:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Severe (catastrophic) injuries
  • Injuries at work
  • Accidents in public places

Submit Documents to PIAB

Your bus accident lawyer will assist in gathering all the necessary evidence including doctors’ reports and opinions of expert witnesses. These papers will be submitted to PIAB on your behalf for consideration.

Consent to Assess the Claim

After your claim is filed, PIAB will inform the person or company you are claiming money from (the defendant). The defendant has 90 days to consent to PIAB evaluating the claim. If they do, your claim will be reviewed by PIAB. If they do not agree, you will be granted permission by PIAB to proceed with your case in court.

How Long Does the Claim Assessment Take?

It takes about 9 months for PIAB to determine whether a claim should be accepted or not. They will then determine how much of an award for both general damages (like pain and suffering) and special damages (like medical expenses and lost wages) you should be entitled to. If both (you and the defendant) agree with the recommendation of PIAB, then they will then make an Order to Pay which legally compels the defendant to pay the recommended sum within 10 days. You will then receive a settlement check.

If you or the defendant do not agree to the PIAB decision, then you will be provided an opportunity to appeal to the court.

Who Is Eligible to Make a Bus Accident Claim?

All bus and coach companies should be aware of their passengers and should protect them from harm. This includes public buses, private buses, and school buses. If a company does not do this and you or your family member gets injured, you may be able to sue for a bus accident. People are not only passengers who can be injured in bus accidents but also other occupants of the vehicle.  Pedestrians, Cyclists, and other road users may also have accidents along the road. It is therefore useful to understand what can cause these accidents.

Bus Passengers

If you were involved in a bus accident and it occurred in the past three years, then you may be able to make a claim. Furthermore, you have grounds to file a claim if the accident was not your fault. When it comes to compensation the law does not restrict the claimants to only those who were inside the bus at the time of the accident. Here are some common situations that often lead to bus accident claims:

  • If you have become a victim of a collision with a bus as a bike rider, a driver of a car, or a pedestrian, you might be able to file a bus accident claim.
  • In case you were waiting at a bus stop and a bus hit you leading to an injury.
  • If you were getting on or off the bus and the driver closed the doors too quickly.
  • If the bus doors shut when you were getting in or out of the bus, it caused you to be caught up inside and injured.
  • If the bus driver performed some sudden or involved erratic movements that led to your falling over and getting injured.
  • If you slipped and fell on the bus walkways because the buses were not well maintained such as the slanting floor, objects, and tiles in the buses.
  • If you have been involved in an accident where the vehicle has been abruptly or suddenly stopped, causing whiplash or other injuries. 

Pedestrians, Motorcyclists and Cyclists 

Pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists can also become victims of bus accidents. These road users can also be involved in accidents even if they are not to blame for this. Here are the scenarios in which you could potentially make a bus accident claim if you are one of these road users:

  • If you are a pedestrian and you legally crossed the road or were waiting at a legal bus stop and got hit by a bus, you have a chance of seeking compensation. This may happen if the bus driver does not respect the pedestrian’s rights or does not stop at a red light or undertakes any other negligent activity.
  • If you are riding a bicycle or a motorcycle, and a bus or another vehicle hit you and injured you, you may be able to file bus accident compensation. It could be as a result of the bus driver not using the road appropriately, reckless driving, or engaging in other negligent actions.

No matter what the situation is, if you are involved in an accident and suffer injuries without being at fault, you should be eligible to make a bus accident claim.

What Evidence is Essential for a Bus Accident Claim?

It is useful to know what sort of evidence you can use in order to make a bus accident claim for compensation. However, regardless of the cause of a bus accident, there are some aspects that are very important to safeguard your health and to back your case.

  • Prioritize Medical Care: In the case of an injury in a bus accident, seeking medical attention should be done first. It’s crucial to avoid further complications and ensure comprehensive documentation.
  • Notify Authorities: It is important to inform the police about the accident as soon as possible and to ask them for a copy of the police report about the accident. The other thing is to report the incident to the concerned bus company.
  • Record Other Vehicle Details: Other information that may include any other vehicle that could be involved, their manufacturers, types, and registration numbers should also be provided.
  • Collect Bus and Driver Information: Other elements include identification of the bus driver, registration number of the bus, the route that the bus was on at the time of the accident, etc.
  • Capture Scene and Injuries: One should also be able to take pictures of the scene of the accident and the potential injuries on the body of the driver or even passengers in the car.
  • Secure Witness Contacts: Collect the identification details of all those who witnessed the accident so that they can narrate any other incidental evidence.
  • Document Incident Timeline: Write down all the events associated with the accident, concentrating more on the timeline and significant observations.
  • Request Surveillance Footage: If possible, ask for police to provide copies of the CCTV videos both inside and outside the bus.
  • Maintain Legal Documentation: Take all possible measures to preserve all the documents related to the accident such as the police reports, medical reports, and communications with the relevant authorities.
  • Track Personal Impact: Keep a log detailing the daily effects of the accident physically and psychologically, the number of days the victim has missed work, and how the accident has affected his/her other activities.

What Factors Should Be Included in a Bus Accident Claim?

Whether you are a passenger of the bus or a cyclist or a pedestrian on the roads, if you are involved in an accident with a bus and you get injured and it was not your fault then you have the legal right to file for a bus accident claim. Here is what you should include in your claim to strengthen your case:

Medical Bills 

This includes amounts spent on the doctor, medicines, or the hospital within the initial days or weeks of the accident. That is why it’s crucial to keep receipts and records for claiming such costs. These expenses can be particularly high, especially in emergencies or for severe ailments.

Ongoing Medical Costs

This includes items such as physiotherapy or other necessary treatments that may be required in the post-accident period. Of course, you may still have to get additional medical attention or physical therapy to help you recover from your injuries, and all these should be added to your compensation claim.

Travel Expenses

Any costs that may have been spent on fairs while going for medical appointments due to the accident might also be reclaimed. This may include the cost of using gas or the cost of using other means of transport including buses or taxis or even parking fees if any about mileage.

Lost Wages

If your injuries are serious enough then you might be able to claim the pay that you lose by not being able to work. This is the wages you would have earned if you were not incapacitated. Thus, you should demonstrate your earnings and could include – a recent payslip, and a letter from your employer.

Future Job Money

In case you lost your job or were forced to demote and do a low-paying job, you could sue for missed wages in the future. This is referred to as “Diminished Earning Capacity” which means that, because of your injuries, you cannot work in the future.

Property Damage

If it was your car that was damaged or if other property which was in the car was destroyed or damaged then you could ask for the amount to cover the expenses incurred in repairing or replacing the lost items. Also, it is recommended to use photographs to capture the loss occurrence area. You should also include repair cost estimates for an objective evaluation of the losses to cover.

What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Lawsuit After an Accident?

It is important to know the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit if you intend to seek compensation. Usually, it spans from 1 to 3 years of statute of limitations for personal injury cases. However, there are specific situations that may considerably shorten the period within which you have to file. Even if you have the full three years, it is still better to start the process right away.  Here are some reasons why:

  • Over certain periods, information tends to fade away or get destroyed, which is detrimental in some cases.
  • Witness statements are more reliable and contain more valuable information when they are closer to the accident. Details are easily forgotten, and as time passes and people experience other events, memories may blur.
  • Starting early is also important as your bus accident attorney will be in a position to assemble all relevant documents and work on any issue that may arise.

In Summary

If you are a bus crash victim, then you can make a bus accident claim for your rights. Also, you can gather as much information as possible for awareness, but it’s always advisable to consult a bus accident attorney for informed actions. These professionals can provide complete legal support and help you get the compensation you deserve.