Miami Bus Accident Lawyer Providing Compassionate Representation to Victims
Thousands of residents and visitors in the Miami area use buses every day. Any vehicle hauling nine or more people at a time can be classified as a bus in the US. Whether they ride on a Metrobus, a school bus, a private charter bus, an airport shuttle bus, or any of the other types of buses that help individuals navigate the city every day, there is always a risk that bus passengers could find themselves a victim of an accident during their travels.
Bus accidents can lead to serious injuries and overwhelming medical bills for victims. A skilled Miami injury lawyer can take away the stress involved with your bus accident case and help you hold the at-fault parties responsible. Galimidi Law will treat your personal injury case with the care it deserves. Call us today for a free consultation.
What Factors Can Lead to a Bus Accident?
With over 60,000 registered buses in Florida, there are daily possibilities for bus accidents. While most bus drivers are trained, responsible individuals, they are also human and as prone to mistakes as the rest of us. Sadly, a mistake made by a bus driver can result in serious consequences for them and all of their passengers. Driver error is a common cause of bus accidents and can take many forms, including:
- Driving under the influence
- Driving recklessly
- Not leaving enough space between vehicles
- Driving while fatigued
- Not possessing the proper qualifications or training to operate the bus safely
However, sometimes the bus crash is not due to the bus driver’s negligence, but because of another factor out of their control, such as:
- Negligence on the part of other drivers on the road
- Unsafe actions by bicyclists or pedestrians
- Improper maintenance of buses
- Faulty or defective bus parts
- Buses that are poorly designed
- Bad weather conditions
What Are Common Bus Accident Injuries?
Bus accident injuries are often quite similar to injuries seen in other motor vehicle accidents. However, most buses, including school buses, lack the standard safety equipment found in cars which can increase the danger of accidents. Passengers are often not appropriately seated and sometimes not even seated at all on buses used for public transportation, so riders risk severe injuries from even minor bus crashes.
Unfortunately, the high center of gravity on most buses also makes them prone to rolling over in crashes or situations where they run off the road. Rollover crashes can lead to particularly devastating injuries for passengers as they not only get thrown around the bus’s interior but also risk impacts from loose objects, such as luggage and personal belongings.
Some of the most commonly seen injuries in a bus accident can include:
- Soft tissue damage
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Head trauma
- Cuts and bruises
- Severed limbs
- Damage to internal organs
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
The bus accident may cause permanent disability or death if the injuries are severe enough. Even after survivors have healed from their physical injuries, the trauma of a bus accident may leave them with mental and emotional difficulties, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and nightmares. Bus accident victims who experienced a TBI during the crash often face secondary symptoms from their injury, such as personality changes, communication issues, mood swings, seizures, memory problems, and other problems that can significantly impact their quality of life.
Who is Liable for a Bus Crash?
Determining liability for a bus accident can be complex. Depending on the circumstances of your case, several different people or entities could be responsible. One aspect that distinguishes a bus accident from a car accident in terms of liability is that buses are considered “common carriers.” Common carriers charge a fee to move goods or people from one place to another. Because the primary role of a common carrier such as a city bus is to transport individuals to a destination safely, they are bound by law to owe their customers a higher duty of care. Due to this, it may be easier to prove a breach of care by the bus driver and bus company than it would be to show a breach of care in a typical car accident case. Bus drivers owe you the utmost care while you are a passenger, so they may be found negligent in situations where another driver would not.
Even in bus accident cases where the crash was caused mainly by factors beyond the driver’s control, such as bad weather or a negligent driver in another vehicle, the bus driver may be considered a contributor to the accident. This is particularly true if their actions are found to have increased the harm from the accident.
Individuals and entities named in a personal injury claim for bus accident damages can include:
- The driver of the bus.
- The bus company or bus driver’s employer.
- The government agency or municipality that runs the mass transit buses.
- The bus manufacturer or designer, if manufacturing or design defects caused or contributed to the crash.
- Third-party drivers involved in the accident, if their negligence caused the bus accident.
- Bus maintenance providers.
How Can Sovereign Immunity Laws Impact a Bus Accident Lawsuit?
In Miami, Metrobus and other forms of public transportation are operated by a government agency. Due to this, if you were hurt in a Metrobus accident, you would likely be filing a claim against a municipality for your damages instead of a bus company. These claims can present their own unique challenges because sovereign immunity laws protect government entities.
In a nutshell, sovereign immunity prevents the government from being sued unless they agree to the lawsuit. But does that mean victims have no options for recovering compensation if they’ve been injured while on public transportation? Luckily, under Florida statutes, tort claims such as personal injury claims are allowed against government entities. However, there are strict rules for filing these claims, including:
- A requirement to notify the government of your claim, in writing, by the specified filing date.
- A waiting period of up to six months while the government drafts a response to your claim. Only after this can you proceed with your case and possibly file a lawsuit.
- A cap on the number of damages that can be awarded. These are $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident if multiple people were injured.
If you have been injured in a Metrobus or other public transportation crash, you should seek the advice of an experienced bus accident lawyer as soon as possible. Filing deadlines are much shorter and more stringent for these cases, and it is easy to miss your opportunity to recover compensation for your injuries without the assistance of a lawyer to handle the necessary paperwork.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Bus Accident?
A bus accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for all the losses you’ve incurred due to your injuries. Under Florida law, you may be entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are financial losses that you would likely have bills for, including:
- Medical bills, including future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Cost of transportation to and from appointments
- Expenses for replacing and repairing damaged property
Non-economic damages are less tangible but still equally devastating and disrupting to your life. Injured clients may be eligible for compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of quality of life
If your loved one died in a bus accident, Galimidi Law can assist you in filing a wrongful death suit to recover losses, including funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, and other damages you may be entitled to.
Why Hire an Experienced Lawyer?
Bus accident claims often involve a large amount of research in order to gather evidence about the crash and its causes to build a robust case against the at-fault parties. Bus companies carry large insurance policies to cover accidents, but the insurance company is quick to deny or undervalue a claim whenever possible to avoid costly payouts. Galimidi Law can help you get the most out of your personal injury claim.
Galimidi Law will thoroughly investigate your case to identify all liable parties. Your injuries and losses will be carefully analyzed to determine the full value of your claim. Your bus accident lawyer will handle all the administrative duties for your case and ensure that all your documents are filed on time. This is particularly key in cases involving public entities because they may have much shorter filing windows than the four years typically allowed for personal injury cases.
You deserve fair compensation for your bus accident claim and Galimidi Law will earnestly negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive the damages you are entitled to. Call today for a free consultation with a skilled bus accident attorney.