Boston Bus Accident Lawyer
People rely on public buses to get them where they need to go. Whether they are going to school, work, the airport, or out to dinner, people are riding the bus every day. Unfortunately, buses are sometimes involved in dangerous accidents that leave passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers seriously injured. If you were injured in a bus accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries. However, the rules for filing a lawsuit may change if the defendant’s bus company was owned and operated by a city or municipality. Additionally, you may be contending with multiple defendants and multiple other plaintiffs.
Bus accidents can be physically painful and emotionally traumatizing events. Buses are very large, incredibly heavy, and can travel very fast. Put those three factors together and you can see why bus accidents are so dangerous. There are often many different parties involved in bus accident lawsuits, making the entire process much longer and more complicated. In the meantime, you may be so seriously injured that you are unable to work and support yourself while you recover.
If you were injured in a bus accident, call our Boston bus accident lawyers for help today. Whether you were a passenger, pedestrian, or another driver, you should be compensated for the grave mistakes of the bus company and the bus driver. Arrange a free consultation with our legal team at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (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.
Boston Bus Accidents Involving Multiple Parties
In any bus accident, there is likely going to be more than just one defendant. There will very likely be at least several defendants, each playing a different role in your accident. To name a few, the bus driver, the entity that owns the bus, and other drivers involved in the accident may be named as defendants. With so many people involved in a single accident, it can be difficult determining who is and is not an appropriate defendant.
There may be several defendants involved in your bus accident case, but there could also be even more plaintiffs, depending on your circumstances. Busses carry many passengers every day. It is not uncommon to find a bus packed with passengers on a busy day during peak commuting hours. Each injured passenger on the bus could potentially sue, just like you. This means there could be dozens of plaintiffs in any bus accident case. The number of plaintiffs may slow your case down and impact the amount of compensation you receive in the end.
Bus accidents are not private events. They happen in very public settings, usually on city streets and highways in broad daylight. This means there are likely to be numerous witnesses to the accident. Witnesses can include people on the street and other drivers on the road. The problem is tracking all those witnesses down and getting them to provide testimony about the accident. You need a skilled attorney’s help in navigating the ins and outs of a bus accident case. Call our Boston bus accident lawyers for guidance.
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.
What Happens if a Defendant Cannot Pay for Damages After a Boston Bus Accident?
In Massachusetts, when you are dealing with two defendants who both bear responsibility for your bus accident, they may be held jointly and severally liable. This means that, even though each defendant shares a different portion of the blame, both are responsible for paying the total damages in the event the other is insolvent.
For example, if you sue both the bus company that owns the bus and the driver of the bus, but the bus driver cannot pay their share of the damages, the bus company must pay the total cost. The bus company then has the right to go after the bus driver for their share of the damages. However, that lawsuit will have nothing to do with you and your case will be over.
Our Boston bus accident attorneys will fight to get you your just compensation no matter what. We can help you even if a defendant claims they are unable to pay. Call our offices to arrange a legal consultation with our legal team about your bus accident.
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.
Settlements for Bus Accidents in Boston
Settlements are sums of money offered by defendants as compensation to plaintiffs in exchange for dropping a lawsuit. Typically, a settlement will reflect what the defendant thinks the case is worth, which is almost always less than what the plaintiff originally asked for. Settlement negotiations for a significant bus accident involving multiple plaintiffs will likely begin sooner rather than later. However, these kinds of settlements are often the result of intense negotiations that take time to get through.
In many bus accident cases, there are multiple defendants and multiple plaintiffs. The sheer number of interested parties will make settlement negotiations a complicated and time-consuming process. Also, in the end, you will end up splitting the settlement total with other plaintiffs. Our Boston bus accident lawyers can fight for the largest settlement amount possible, so you get the compensation you need to recover.
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. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 258 § 4, when your lawsuit involved suing a government entity or municipality, your statute of limitations is only two years instead of three.
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. This time limit drops to two years when a defendant is a government entity or municipality. 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.
Plaintiffs from Other States Suing for Boston Bus Accidents
It is possible that when you were injured in your bus accident in Boston, you were visiting from another state. Perhaps you were seeing family or you were in town on a vacation. In any case, filing your lawsuit will be a bit different because you are not from the same state as the defendant.
In most cases, you will likely have to file your lawsuit in Massachusetts because that is where your defendant resides. You could not sue in your home state if the defendant has nothing to do with your home state. This also means you will need to come back to Boston to deal with the lawsuit. However, our Boston bus accident attorneys can correspond by mail, email, and phone so you can remain at home while the case is handled.
Ordinarily, you would not be able to sue in your home state unless the bus accident had some sort of connection with your home state. Most city buses remain within the city of Boston, however, if your bus involved a longer route that crossed state lines, you may be able to sue in that state. For example, if you got on a bus in Boston that traveled to the neighboring state of New Hampshire, you may be able to sue in New Hampshire if that is where the accident occurred. If that is the case, you will need an attorney who is licensed to practice law in New Hampshire.
Determining the proper venue for a lawsuit is difficult and requires legal experience and extensive knowledge. Our Boston bus accident attorneys can help you file your lawsuit.
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) 915-4523 to discuss your legal rights and options.