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Some of us never think about being injured when we choose to ride on public transport. Similarly, we may assume that a bus driver will drive as safely as possible when we encounter these vehicles on the road.

However, due to the massive size of buses and the tight schedules they often have to follow, bus accidents can be a real threat. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), there were 765 accidents involving school buses or passenger buses throughout the state in 2017 alone.

If you were recently injured in a bus accident, Hammack Law Firm understands that you may be feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. You do not need to face this situation alone. While you focus on your recovery, an Anderson bus accidents lawyer from our firm will investigate the accident and bring a personal injury claim against the responsible party on your behalf.

You can learn more about our services in a free case review with a member of our team.

Common Bus Accident Injuries and When to Sue

There are many reasons injury victims hesitate to contact a lawyer for help. Some victims believe their injuries are not severe enough to warrant legal action. However, the type and severity of your injuries will not be the deciding factor when it comes to your case. Instead, your attorney will analyze the ways your life has been affected by your injuries to determine your right to financial compensation.

Some of the injuries that may occur in Anderson bus accidents include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Head, neck, and back injuries
  • Herniated discs
  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
  • Amputations
  • Compound fractures
  • Broken bones
  • Facial injuries
  • Lacerations, abrasions, and contusions
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ failure
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

These are just a few of the possible types of injuries seen in Anderson bus accident claims. If you have been injured in another way, you may still have the right to compensation for your suffering. Find out how much your case is worth when you contact our office.

Why Bus Accidents Happen

A bus accident can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are a few common examples:

  • Speeding or reckless driving: A bus driver usually has to follow a tight schedule and try to arrive at each stop at a specific time. If the bus is delayed, the driver may try to make up for the lost time by speeding or cutting other corners.
  • Distracted driving: Bus drivers are just like the rest of us when it comes to the temptation of distracted driving. A bus driver may be looking at their phone, reading emails, eating, or trying to complete other tasks while behind the wheel.
  • Lack of proper training: A bus is a massive vehicle that is difficult to maneuver. If a bus driver does not complete the required training to operate the bus safely, it may create a serious risk.
  • Intoxicated driving: If a bus driver uses alcohol or drugs before their shift, it can impact their driving and make them unsafe behind the wheel. Even certain prescription or over-the-counter medications may impair their ability to drive safely.
  • Talking to passengers: Sometimes, a passenger will ask a driver a question while the bus is in motion. Although there are some rules and precautions to keep passengers away from the driver, some people ignore these. If a driver is talking to a passenger, they may not have their eyes or attention on the road.
  • Poorly maintained buses: A bus requires constant maintenance due to the number of miles that are put on it. If the company that owns the bus fails to perform this maintenance or cuts corners on keeping the bus safe, passengers or other motorists may face a dangerous outcome.

If someone else’s negligence caused your bus accident, you might be entitled to financial recovery. You can receive a free consultation about your case with a member of our team at Hammack Law Firm today.

Bringing a Personal Injury Claim

If you decide to pursue legal action, it is important to know what you may be required to prove before you can receive compensation from the party who hurt you.

In a bus accident claim, you typically must prove four elements of liability:

  • Duty: The defendant owed you a duty to act with reasonable care and skill.
  • Breach: The defendant failed to act according to this duty.
  • Causation: This breach was the direct cause of the injuries you suffered.
  • Damages: Your accident and injuries caused you to experience various damages.

An Anderson bus accident lawyer from Hammack Law Firm can collect evidence of these elements when we represent you.

The Liable Party in a Bus Accident Case

A bus accident can involve several different parties. First, the bus driver may not have been driving safely according to their duty. For example, they may have caused the accident by breaking a traffic law.

However, if the bus driver caused an accident during their normal work duties, their employer may be liable for the accident due to the legal principle of vicarious liability. The owner and operator of the bus company may also be liable for your damages if their failure to service or maintain the bus caused the accident.

If the bus was publicly owned, the liable party in your case might be a municipality or county. Special rules apply to bringing a claim against a government entity, including the deadline to sue (discussed below). Hammack Law Firm can help you understand those rules, how to follow them, and whether they apply in your situation.

The Deadline to Sue in South Carolina

The time you have to sue for compensation after a bus accident is limited. Per S.C. Ann. §15-3-530, there is a general three-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits.

However, if your claim is against a government entity, you generally have only two years to file your lawsuit, per S.C. Ann. §15-78-110.

South Carolina Comparative Fault Laws

Sharing fault for your injuries is more common than you might think. Fortunately, under South Carolina law (S.C. Code § 15-38-15), the state follows a modified comparative negligence system. As long as you do not exceed 50% of the liability for the accident, you can still recover compensation for your damages. However, expect your injury settlement to be reduced accordingly.

Let’s look at an example. A drunk bus driver struck Jim’s vehicle while he was on his way home from work one day. The judge found Jim 10% at fault for his injuries because he was not wearing his seatbelt. The jury awarded him $100,000 for his damages, but because Jim was 10% liable for his injuries, his injury settlement was reduced by 10%, leaving him with a $90,000 injury settlement.

South Carolina’s modified comparative negligence laws could have a considerable impact on the amount of compensation you could recover in your claim. Make sure you have a strong legal advocate on your side who will ensure that only an equitable amount of liability is placed on you.

What to Expect From the Bus Accident Claims Process in Anderson

The bus accident claims process can seem overwhelming, but when you have an attorney on your side, you can rest while we focus on the legal details of your case. Here is a basic idea of what you can expect once you hire a lawyer:

  • We will begin investigating the cause of the accident.
  • We will gather the evidence needed to establish liability.
  • We will calculate the value of your bus accident insurance and civil claims.
  • We will prepare your insurance claim.
  • We will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
  • We will prepare your case for trial.
  • We will advocate for fair compensation before the judge.

Every person’s bus accident claims process can be different depending on the individual details of your case. Get a better idea of what to expect from the claims process when discussing your next steps with your attorney.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Most buses carry liability coverage. If your damages exceed the limits of the responsible party’s insurance coverage, and if you carry underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), you may be able to rely on your UIM policy for additional compensation. UIM is an optional form of insurance coverage in South Carolina.

Hammack Law Firm can help you identify all of your potential options for pursuing compensation in your personal injury claim.

Damages in a Bus Accident Case

Depending on the nature of your accident and injuries, the following damages may be available in a personal injury claim:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital fees, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy
  • Your estimated future costs of medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

Get Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer in Anderson Today

An Anderson bus accidents lawyer from Hammack Law Firm can coordinate all of the legal work in your case.

We know how overwhelming this time may be. Our firm strives to treat every client like family and provide a big firm experience with a small firm feel.

You can learn more about working with Hammack Law Firm by reading our Google reviews and testimonials. When you are ready for your free case review with a member of our team, call us at (864) 326-3333(864) 326-3333.

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