Bus Accidents Lawyers in Charlotte, Holding Negligent Drivers, Carriers, and Liable Parties Responsible
Most people have an early introduction to bus transit thanks to the school bus that transports them during their youngest years. As some people get older, these massive vehicles become an essential element for getting around town, enjoying tours, and even going on vacation thanks to charter buses. Unfortunately, a vehicle of this size also presents dangers to passengers and others on the road. It only takes one mistake to result in disaster, and serious injuries can lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other interruptions to a person’s life. If you find yourself in such a situation, a bus accident lawyer in Charlotte may be able to help.
At Harman Law, we’ve seen the tragic consequences of negligence and recklessness. Bus companies have a responsibility to the public — as do their drivers and other employees. Failure to meet this responsibility can leave them liable for damages. There may be instances where negligence on part of the driver, school district, other government entities, and even passengers could lead to a serious accident. If you or a loved one are hurt in one of these collisions, the time to establish an attorney-client relationship is now. At Harman Law, we offer a free case evaluation and work on a contingency fee bases. This means you’ll have no out-of-pocket expenses to learn your rights and seek justice.
Are You Entitled to Compensation After a Bus Accident?
There are many things to consider after being involved in a Charlotte bus accident. The matter that’s at the top of most people’s minds, however, is whether they have a valid personal injury claim. This is a loaded question whose answer will depend on the unique circumstances of the case. For instance, two people could be on the exact same bus when it crashes — yet one could walk away with a massive settlement while the other gets nothing. That’s because every successful personal injury case must have three components present: duty of care, violation of duty, and damages caused by the violation.
Imagine for a moment that a school bus accident occurs with three students aboard the massive vehicle. Let’s assume that the wreck occurs because the bus driver ran a red light. Since the bus driver had a duty to not act negligently and violated that duty, two elements of a successful personal injury claim are already present. If it cannot be proven that bus accident injuries occurred, though, there’s typically no case to bring forward. Of course, not all damages are physical. Emotional distress and mental anguish are also common damages that accident victims receive compensation for.
This example shows how people can be involved in the same collision but have different outcomes. If the example school bus accident results in one child being injured and the other two having no injuries sustained, it’s only the child who was hurt who would typically have a case. Of course, school bus accidents can be some of the most complex cases since they may involve drivers, manufacturers, carrier companies, school systems, and more. If you or a loved one are injured on a bus, though, it’s not the type of bus will not dictate whether you are entitled to compensation. Whether a negligent party caused injuries is what matters most.
What Are Common Injuries Sustained in Bus Crashes?
The injuries sustained in a bus accident will depend entirely on the unique circumstances surrounding the collision. However, statistics prove that individuals in passenger vehicles are at the highest risk of sustaining serious injuries. In fact, the fatality rate for those in cars and trucks is five times higher than bus passengers and driver in these accidents. This is easy to understand when looking at the size differential between the automobiles. While a passenger vehicle typically weighs less than 3,000 lbs, fully loaded school buses and other large commute vehicles can weigh up to 44,000 lbs.
This is a good indicator of why some of the most common injuries sustained in bus accident cases are some of the most detrimental:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Lost limbs
- Internal injuries
- Skin burns
Any sustained injuries in a bus accident have the potential to be disastrous. Even whiplash — one of the most common outcomes of motor vehicle collisions — can have serious repercussions. For instance, studies have shown that the condition can lead to chronic pain, migraines, and even depression. This is a major reason you should seek medical attention if you’ve been involved in an accident. Delayed symptoms are a major issue, and failing to quickly identify injuries can make it difficult to prove liability when it counts. After you’ve sought out medical advice, though, make sure you contact the Charlotte bus accident lawyers at Harman Law.
With a free initial consultation, we can help you better understand your case and what compensation you may be entitled to.
Is Bus Driver Error to Blame?
When bus passengers or others on the road are injured in an accident, suspicion often lands on bus drivers first. After all, they’re the ones behind the wheel of the massive vehicle — shouldn’t they be vigilant about keeping everyone around them safe? While it’s certainly true that bus drivers have a duty of care, they’re not the only ones with such a duty. This is why it’s important to have a Charlotte bus accident lawyer on your side after a collision. The reality is that assigning liability can be a difficult task. To showcase just how challenging this can be, just consider a few of the most common causes of bus accidents in North Carolina:
- Faulty equipment
- Distracted driving
- Inadequate training
- Large blind spots
- Negligent passenger vehicle drivers
- Road hazards
- Inclement weather
- Unmaintained streets
Some of these causes of bus accidents can apply to the drivers of the bus or passenger vehicles (e.g., speeding). However, even common causes that seem to involve no negligence (e.g., inclement weather) can have a liable party. For instance, imagine a bus accident that happens because severe rain caused a vehicle to hydroplane. In such an situation, the bus company may not have adequately trained the driver to retain control during a skid. Similarly, water buildup may have occurred because a local government agency did not properly maintain the roadway. There are even instances where personal injury victims themselves may share partial blame.
Unfortunately, this can prove disastrous since North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state. This means any liability on the part of an accident victim — even if the collision was 99% the bus driver’s fault — can bar them from recovering compensation. However, you should never make the mistake of assuming you’re not entitled to compensation because you may have been partially liable. Such assumptions can result in you not getting the recovery you deserve. You need a Charlotte personal injury attorney on your side, and with a free consultation at Harman Law, you can get one with no risk or obligation.
Contact a Bus Accident Lawyer in Charlotte Today
If someone is involved in a bus accident, being on the bus itself is their best chance of avoiding injury. Thanks to a lack of seat belts and other potential issues, though, even this does not guarantee that an accident victim will walk away unharmed. If you or a loved one have found yourself involved in a collision with a bus of any type, it’s important to understand your rights and who may be liable. This is often a complex question to answer, and due to North Carolina’s strict liability laws, you may have a tall mountain to climb before receiving fair compensation. Fortunately, this endeavor is still very possible with the right legal strategy.
At Harman Law, our team of Charlotte personal injury attorneys has spent years assisting victims of negligent and wrongful acts. Whether it’s the driver who’s at fault, the bus company itself, or even a third party, we can help you start working toward a fair and just solution. In many cases, this may mean seeking an appropriate settlement from the insurance company — but it may also be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Regardless of the path to justice, we’re ready to help. Contact us today by calling (704) 286-0947 to schedule a free consultation. A bus accident lawyer in Charlotte can prove invaluable for your case.