Boston Bus Accident Lawyer
There has been an explosion in bus travel in the United States over the past few years. The economic recession, costly plane tickets, and limited rail connectivity have all contributed to an increase in the population of people choosing to buy a cheap bus ticket to get to their destination. Unfortunately, this spike in bus passenger traffic has not exactly corresponded with an increase in bus safety. Bus operator oversight, stronger driver recruitment practices, and other aspects are all necessary for the safety of bus passengers. In fact, over the last few years, there have been a series of fatal and severe injurious bus accidents reported around the country.
Our Boston bus accident lawyer could help you pursue compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, future lost income and medical bills after a bus accident. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan for a free consultation at (617) 925-6407.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Bus Accident in Boston
Bus accidents are frequently caused by one or more factors. These factors may include the reckless driving of the bus driver or another party, poor weather conditions, decreased visibility, defective bus equipment, or improper maintenance of roadways or the bus. Due to the immense weight and size of buses, auto accidents that involve these vehicles can cause people severe bodily injury and property damage. If you were injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a bus driver or bus company, you might be able to claim compensation for your damages.
Bus accident claims can be complicated to file because they involve not only the driver of the bus but also the bus operator, maintenance and repair companies, government agencies, and a number of other entities that may be liable concerning the accident. Not only that, but bus accident lawsuits tend to involve multiple plaintiffs as many of the other passengers may choose to sue as well. Call our Boston bus accident attorney for more information about filing a lawsuit for your bus accident.
Who Is Liable for My Boston Bus Accident?
In legal terms, liability is being responsible for something. In a bus accident case, the liable parties may have a legal obligation to pay those who were injured. Determining who is liable may be difficult in these cases because more than one party may be liable.
A bus accident may be the fault of the bus driver, the bus manufacturer, the company that owns the bus, government entities, or other drivers on the road. In fact, several parties may be found liable by a jury for causing the accident. It is essential that we identify all parties we believe should be held liable before filing the lawsuit.
Our Boston bus accident lawyer can examine the evidence from the accident based on police reports, eyewitness testimony, pictures, and videos to help determine which parties are liable for the accident. The more parties that are involved, the more complicated the case becomes. It is crucial to begin your case sooner rather than later. The longer we wait, the harder it might become to determine liability.
Most Common Reasons for Bus Accidents in Boston
Depending on the circumstances, each liable party may be named as a defendant in the plaintiff’s claim. Settlement negotiations and, if necessary, jury deliberations will consider the circumstances of the case to determine how much liability each defendant will assume for the accident. Our Boston bus accident attorney can walk you through this process step-by-step.
Keep in mind, you do not have to be a passenger on the bus to file a lawsuit after an accident. You could be a driver in another vehicle that was struck by a bus or somehow involved in the accident. This might limit your damages somewhat. While a bus driver owes other drivers on the road a duty of care to drive safely, a bus driver owes a more special duty of care to their passengers than to other drivers on the road.
Bus Driver Error
Driver error is one of the major causes of bus accidents in Massachusetts. These errors are usually caused by drivers who are simply not confident enough to handle a massive, heavy vehicle that can weigh thousands of pounds. Bus operators have a responsibility to hire experienced, skilled and trained drivers, and failure to comply with hiring requirements can place passengers at risk. All drivers must be trained according to the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
In this situation, you could sue both the driver as well their employer. Under the legal principle of respondeat superior, employers are responsible for their employees’ actions when performed within the scope of their employment. A bus company could be liable for an accident caused by a bus driver they hired.
A number of recent bus accidents across the country have been traced to driver fatigue. This is a serious problem plaguing the bus industry because drivers are under severe pressure to make multiple trips in order to pad the company’s coffers. A tired driver is much more likely to doze off on the wheel. Even if the driver does not fall asleep while driving, he may make serious errors that increase the risk of an accident.
The bus driver’s employer could also be responsible in this situation because they have a duty to make sure their employees are fit to drive. By placing employees on tiring driving schedules, they are increasing the risk of accidents. A bus company could be held liable for an accident if they did not allow the driver proper time to rest between driving jobs.
Failure to Maintain
Bus operators are under a responsibility to maintain their fleet. Companies that outsource the maintenance of their fleets to other firms must make sure that these companies do not skimp on maintenance and repair activities. Defective brakes, wheels, tires, and other components are responsible for many bus accidents that occur every year. If your accident happened as a result of faulty or malfunctioning bus equipment, you might have grounds for a lawsuit.
Damages Resulting From Bus Accidents in Boston
Civil tort cases allow plaintiffs to claim a number of damages. These damages are classified based on the plaintiff’s harm and the overall purpose of the damages. Not all types of damages will be available in every case. Call our Boston bus accident lawyer to discuss the potential damages in your case.
Compensatory or economic damages are ones that relate to specific and identifiable financial losses suffered by the plaintiff. This commonly includes medical expenses and property damage for the loss of personal items in a bus accident case. You can also recover compensatory damages for lost wages if you are unable to return to work while you recover from your injuries. If you are so injured that you may never be able to work again, you can also recover compensatory damages for lost future wages that you would have otherwise earned.
Non-economic damages are ones that are not tied to a tangible loss. Instead, these damages are related to things that are a bit harder to put a price on. Non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of companionship if a loved one dies in the accident. These damages are harder to quantify and require us to examine multiple factors to calculate an appropriate number.
Punitive damages are different than other types of damages because punitive damages are not designed to compensate the victim or injured party. Instead, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their wrongful actions. Many states allow for punitive damages, but Massachusetts does not. It is unlikely that you will be able to recover punitive damages for a bus accident. However., courts make an exception for wrongful death cases. Generally, the more heinous or willful a defendant’s actions were, the greater the punitive damages may be.
Nominal damages are often very small, sometimes as small as a single dollar. The purpose of these damages is not to compensate the injured party for losses but to make a point. Nominal damages are awarded when the plaintiff suffered only a minor loss, but it is important for the court to rule in their favor anyway. This is often the case when the plaintiff is relatively unharmed, but the court finds it necessary to hold the defendant responsible for their wrongful actions.
Statute of Limitations for a Boston Bus Accident Claim
Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260 §4, victims of a bus accident must file their injury claim within a set time limit. This time limit is often referred to as the statute of limitations and is three years from the date of the bus accident. In addition to the statute of limitations, a claimant may be required to file a special notification called a Presentment Letter if the bus that caused your accident was owned and operated by a governmental agency such as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or MBTA.
Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 258, §4, a claimant must file a Presentment Letter to the executive officer of the governmental agency. The legal requirements for filing a Presentment Letter are very technical and full of traps for the unwary. A claimant should contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident so their legal counsel has enough time to research the accident prior to filing the claim. Delays in consulting with and hiring a skilled bus accident attorney may hurt your case.
If a bus accident case is not filed within three years from the date of the accident, an injured person will likely lose their right to seek compensation for their accident-related damages. Call our Boston bus accident lawyer to discuss your case and learn about exceptions to the statute of limitations.
Suing for Wrongful Death of a Loved One in a Bus Accident in Boston
You may file a lawsuit for a bus accident you may not even have been a part of. If you had a family member on board a bus that crashed, and your loved one, unfortunately, did not survive the accident, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the decedent’s estate representative, usually an administrator or executor. The representative is often a spouse or other next of kin. Additionally, the lawsuit must claim damages the decedent themself could have claimed had they survived the accident. Much like an ordinary bus accident, this can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Family members can also claim other damages they experienced due to the death of their loved one. For example, a spouse may claim loss of companionship or consortium. A child could claim loss of support and parental guidance.
In a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is also three years. However, unlike an ordinary bus accident, a wrongful death case has three years from the date of death rather than the date of the accident. Your loved one may not have passed away from their injuries until sometime after the accident. The statute would not begin to run until that time. Our Boston bus accident attorney can help you start the process of filing a wrongful death claim.
Our Boston Bus Accident Attorneys Can Help If You Were Injured
Our compassionate Boston bus accident lawyers understand that after a bus accident, you may need time to heal, both physically and emotionally. Our Boston bus accident attorney can handle the insurance companies and legal paperwork while you focus on recovering.
Our skilled Boston personal injury lawyers can make the entire litigation process simple and easy. If you were injured by the negligence of other parties, attorneys can use their knowledge of the law to strengthen your claim and present it in negotiations or in court. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407 to discuss your legal rights and options.