Bus Accident Attorney in Philadelphia2005 Market Street, Suite 350
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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Philadelphia Bus Accident Attorney
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Bus accidents in Philadelphia may not be as common as regular traffic accidents, but when they occur, the injuries and damages are usually pretty serious. These accidents can leave a trail of destruction (and even deaths) unlike any other type of road accident. Only truck accidents come close to the kind of injuries and damages bus accidents can cause.
Fortunately, the victims do not have to deal with the pain alone. At Morgan & Morgan, we are known for fighting for the rights of the injured, ensuring they receive the compensation they need and deserve after such accidents. So, if you or your beloved is a victim, contact us today to have your case reviewed by a seasoned Philadelphia bus accident attorney.
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How Common Are Bus Accidents in Philadelphia?
If you watch the news on any local TV station, you will likely learn about a new bus accident every few weeks. It is actually a good thing that such accidents do not occur that often. For context, in 2023 alone, there have already been several bus accidents.
For instance, in January 2023, one person was injured when a SEPTA bus crashed into a car at 52nd Street and Haverford Avenue in West Philadelphia. Thankfully, no passengers were on board since the bus was not in service.
A month later, a SEPTA bus crashed into power poles, shutting down the electricity supply in certain areas along McDade Boulevard. Luckily, no one was injured, as the bus was the only vehicle involved in the accident.
In September 2022, a school bus collided with an SUV at 52nd and Spruce streets in Philadelphia, injuring multiple people, including three students.
In October 2022, a school bus crashed into two Philly Streets Department workers, who were then rushed to the hospital with multiple injuries.
These are just some of the bus accidents that made it to the local news. Many others happen without ever making headlines as they should.
What Are Some Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Philadelphia?
Bus accidents in Philadelphia occur due to different reasons, some of which include the following:
- Speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and failing to obey traffic signals or signs.
- Failure to maintain brakes, tires, and other critical components of the vehicle.
- Poor weather conditions such as rain, snow, ice, and fog.
- Poor road conditions, such as potholes, uneven surfaces, and construction zones.
- Lack of proper training to drive buses
- Driver fatigue due to working long shifts without proper rest
That said, remember that each bus accident case is unique. While the factors mentioned above can contribute to an accident, other unrelated reasons may also play a role.
How Can a Bus Accident Attorney Help?
Hiring a lawyer can significantly improve your chances of getting compensation if you've been injured in a bus accident. First, they can evaluate the accident details to determine if you have grounds to file a claim against the bus company or other parties responsible for your injuries.
Next, a lawyer can help gather evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, photos and videos of the accident scene, and medical records, to support your claim.
After collecting evidence, the lawyer will identify the parties responsible for your injuries. They will then create a legal strategy to pursue your claim through settlement negotiations or by filing a lawsuit on your behalf.
Throughout the process, your lawyer can represent you against the other party, ensuring you get the compensation you need and deserve. If they can't settle with the other party, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and represent you in court.
How Do Attorneys Determine Liability After a Bus Accident?
Generally, the attorney will look at the key elements of a bus accident claim. This includes proving that the other party owed you a duty of care, and failed to exercise that duty, leading to your injuries. In addition, they will need to prove that you suffered damages resulting from your injuries.
In addition, to determine liability, the attorney will consider the cause of the accident, such as driver error, weather conditions, mechanical failure, or anything in between.
The actions of the parties involved will also help determine liability. Specifically, accident investigators will revisit the actions of the bus driver, other drivers on the road, and any passengers involved in the accident.
Investigators may examine other aspects, including the condition of the bus and any other vehicles involved in the accident, to determine if mechanical failure was a contributing factor and whether there was a violation of any traffic laws, such as speeding or failure to yield.
Based on this information, one or more parties may be liable for the accident. For example, liability may fall on the bus driver if they drove recklessly or violated traffic laws leading to the accident. In addition, the bus company may be liable if they failed to properly maintain the bus or train the driver.
In some cases, liability may fall on multiple parties. For example, if another driver contributed to the accident by driving negligently, they may share liability with the bus driver or company.
What Damages Can My Lawyer Help Me Recover?
Some of the damages that may be available to bus accident victims include:
- The cost of medical treatment and any ongoing or future medical expenses you may incur.
- Lost income and future earning potential.
- Property damage, such as vehicles or personal belongings.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium, usually filed by the victim's spouse.
- Physical pain and emotional distress experienced due to the accident.
- Punitive damages if the liable party was extremely negligent or reckless.
What Do I Need to Do to Increase My Chances of Recovering Damages After a Bus Accident?
To increase your chances of recovering damages after a bus accident, report the accident to the police immediately. They will create an accident report, which can be crucial evidence in your case.
Also, take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the bus, other vehicles, or personal property. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses, if possible.
Then, keep track of any expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills, the cost of transportation to your medical appointments, or lost wages. Importantly, hire a qualified attorney to help you navigate the complex legal process in Philadelphia.
While receiving treatment for your injuries, remember to follow your doctor's instructions. This can help demonstrate the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life.
Avoid discussing the accident with anyone except your attorney. This is because the statements you make to insurance adjusters, friendly or other parties can be used against you in court, eventually jeopardizing your claim.
What if I Was at Fault for the Bus Accident?
Just because you were partly at fault for the accident does not mean you are not entitled to compensation. To begin with, you should not admit liability even if you feel responsible. Instead, insist on speaking with an attorney about your case.
This is because, in Philadelphia, negligence laws work on the principle of comparative negligence. This means that in cases where multiple parties are at fault in an accident, each party's degree of responsibility will influence the damages the plaintiff can recover.
Under comparative negligence, the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover may be reduced based on their own degree of fault. For example, if you are 20% at fault for the accident, you can only recover 80% of the total settlement you may have been entitled to.
And since Pennsylvania uses this law to determine liability, insurance companies will likely try to blame you for the accident to lower the damages you may be entitled to or prevent you from recovering anything. That is yet another reason to hire an attorney to defend you.
Note that Pennsylvania also has a modified comparative negligence rule known as the "51% rule." Under this rule, you can only recover damages if found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident. So, if found to be 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover any damages.
What if I Cannot Afford to Hire a Bus Accident Attorney?
What if the Government Owns the Bus That Caused the Accident?
In that case, you should expect a complex claims process. Firstly, Pennsylvania laws grant the government Sovereign Immunity, protecting them from liability to a certain degree. While this immunity does not apply to government-owned vehicles that cause accidents, you must notify the government of your intention to bring a claim against them within six months of the accident. Also, the notice must contain your identity, address, accident details, etc. You cannot recover damages if you fail to provide this notice before the deadline.
Keep in mind that notifying the state government about the accident is not enough to help you secure compensation for your injuries. You should expect the government to challenge your claim. That's also why you need a lawyer to represent you.
How Much Is My Bus Accident Claim?
The value of your claim will depend on the specifics of your case and the following factors:
The severity of your injuries: The more serious your injuries, the higher the value of your claim is likely to be. This includes factors like the cost of medical treatment, the impact of your injuries on your ability to work, and the pain and suffering you've experienced.
Liability: If the other party is entirely at fault for the accident, the value of your claim may be higher than if you are found to be partially at fault.
Insurance coverage: The amount of insurance coverage available can impact the value of your claim. Note that Pennsylvania uses the no-fault system for car insurance, meaning you will need to file a claim with your insurer first to recover damages for medical bills and lost wages. Then, you may file a claim with the other party's insurer if the coverage is insufficient.
Lost income: If you've had to miss work or cannot work due to your injuries, you may recover your lost income.
Property damage: If your property was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing it.
Punitive damages: Although not guaranteed, these damages punish the party responsible for the accident for their reckless or intentional conduct.
How Soon After the Accident Should I File a Claim?
Generally, you have two years from the accident date to file a claim. But some exceptions could grant you a deadline extension. For instance, if someone died due to an accident, the statute of limitations clock begins to count from the date of death, not the accident date.
How Can Morgan & Morgan Help?
Morgan & Morgan is America's largest injury firm, serving clients from coast to coast. We understand the devastating and life-changing effects of bus accidents because we have been fighting for the rights of the injured since 1988.
Having served over 300,000 clients and recovered over $15 billion, Morgan & Morgan prides itself on being the nation's go-to firm for the injured. This is because we do not rest until justice is served. In addition, we do not settle for less unless it is your best chance at getting compensation for your injuries.
At Morgan & Morgan, we are more than just a law firm—we are a family. And as a family, we fight for those we love. That is our promise to you.
Contact us today to learn more about your legal options for free.