Were You Injured in a Pedestrian Bus Accident?
Few things fuel nightmares more effectively than the thought of being hit by an oncoming bus. It goes without saying that humans do not stand a chance against a bus that weighs tens of thousands of pounds. Pedestrians who are hit by buses can suffer life-threatening injuries if they are lucky enough to survive at all. If you have been hit by a bus, you may be struggling to stay afloat amid medical bills and lost wages. For many victims of bus accidents, the only way to recover financially is by bringing a personal injury lawsuit.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is designed to restore victims of negligence to the position that they would have been in financially had the negligence never occurred. This lawsuit allows them to recover all costs incurred as a result of the accident, in addition to compensation for pain and suffering. In order to have standing to bring a personal injury lawsuit, you must be able to show that the bus driver or another party was negligent in causing your injury. For instance, if the bus driver was speeding, running a red light, driving while under the influence, or was otherwise breaching the heightened duty of care owed by common carriers, they can be held liable for any harm that results from their negligence.
Who is Negligent in a Pedestrian-Bus Accident?
There are a number of potentially negligent parties involved in a bus accident. As noted above, it is possible for the bus driver to be negligent, such as if they are intoxicated or violating traffic laws. If the bus driver is negligent, you will also likely be able to hold the bus company negligent because due to the principle of respondeat superior, they are responsible for the behavior of their employees. In some situations, there may be other negligent parties as well. For instance, if the bus or a component part of the bus malfunctioned, causing the accident, the bus or component manufacturer may also be held liable. If a traffic sign or signal was not visible or failed to properly function, the city may be held liable. If another driver cut off the bus, causing the bus driver to swerve and hit the pedestrian, the other driver may be held liable. Any liable or partially liable party may be added to the lawsuit as a party.
In some cases, it is even possible that the victim contributed to causing the accident to some degree. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that the accident will be reviewed to determine what portion of responsibility, if any, each party bears for the causing the accident. Each party will be assigned a percentage of fault. If the victim is assigned any percentage of fault less than 50%, they can still recover for their harm. However, their total damages will be reduced by the amount of fault that they are assigned. For instance, if a bus was speeding and the driver was distracted, and hit a pedestrian who was jay-walking, the bus driver may be assigned 80% fault and the pedestrian may be assigned 20% fault. If the pedestrian is awarded $100,000 in damages, they will collect $80,000 of those damages ($100,000 – 20% of %100,000 = $80,000). If the victim is 50% or more liable for causing the harm, however, they are unable to recover by bringing a personal injury lawsuit.
Damages for a Pedestrian Bus Accident
An important consideration when deciding whether to bring a personal injury lawsuit is the value of your claim. The amount of damages that you are entitled to is determined based on your total amount of economic damages, in addition to compensation for pain and suffering. Your economic damages can be calculated exactly based on the amount of money you have spent and lost as a result of the accident. It is important to remember that anticipated future costs should also be included in this figure if you will require ongoing care or additional surgeries. A lawyer can help ensure that all expenses are accounted for.
You are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. This may sound subjective, but it is generally calculated by using a formula that considers both the permanence and severity of your injury and your total amount of economic damages. The more severe and permanent your injury, and the greater the degree to which it affects your daily life, the higher your pain and suffering damages will be. In some cases, such as where the bus driver was exceptionally reckless, punitive damages may also be appropriate. These damages are unlike other forms of damages, in that they are not intended to make the victim whole, but to punish the offender, and are often extremely high compared to other forms of damages. Because there are so many factors involved in determining damages, it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the amount of damages that you are likely entitled to.
Contact the Bay Area Personal Injury Lawyers at Mary Alexander Law
If you have suffered serious injuries in a Bay Area bus accident, Mary Alexander Law will fight to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact Mary Alexander Law today to schedule a consultation.