Buses are an ever-present sight on Cook County roads, whether they are city buses carrying commuters, school buses carrying students, or private coaches taking travelers across the state. Despite the obvious benefits buses provide, they are still large and unwieldy vehicles that could cause significant damage if improperly used.
If a bus driver is at fault for a traffic accident, anyone injured as a result has the right to demand compensation. This could include other drivers, passengers, and even the people inside the bus.
A Cook County bus accident lawyer could help you stand up for your rights if you are injured in a bus accident. If retained, an accomplished personal attorney could work to gather evidence that proves bus driver negligence, apply this evidence to relevant laws, and demand compensation for all your losses.
Proving a Personal Injury Case
Even if an at-fault driver does not mean to hurt others does not mean that they could avoid civil liability for an accident they cause. An injured party may be able to recover compensation after a bus crash if they are able to prove the bus driver—or the company that employs them—was negligent.
Proving negligence in a civil case typically involves three steps. A plaintiff must initially demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty of care. Even if the plaintiff was driving their own car or was a passenger in a separate vehicle, the bus driver still owes them, all the passengers on their bus. and everyone else on the road a duty of care.
Proving That a Driver Failed Their Duty
Injured individuals must prove that the bus driver failed in this duty and was at-fault for the accident. This may be done by examining the police report, talking to witnesses, and recreating the accident.
The plaintiff must connect their injuries direct to the accident. These injuries do not need to be life-threatening but must be serious enough to require medical treatment.
All plaintiffs must also be sure to file their cases on time. Since bus accidents are an example of a personal injury lawsuit, an injured person must file suit within two years of the date of the accident, as defined by ILCS 735 5/13-202. A Cook County lawyer could work to prove a plaintiff’s case in court and could ensure their recovery for the bus accident is not barred by the Illinois statute of limitations.
Choosing the Right Defendant
Bus accident cases may at times seem confusing since the defendant in the case could change depending on which entity operates the vehicle. While the bus driver is typically a named defendant, many claims could also name the company responsible for operating the bus as a co-defendant.
If a private busing company owns the bus involved in a plaintiff’s accident, that company’s negligence may be the subject of a typical lawsuit in civil court. The situation could become more complicated if the bus is operated by a local municipal authority.
While the concept of sovereign immunity typically did not allow citizens to sue municipalities for personal injuries, a number of cities and towns over the past 30 years have waived this right as a matter of fairness. Since every town has its own procedure for filing a claim for damages, consulting a bus accident lawyer in Cook County may be the best way to investigate the proper method and demand compensation using the correct procedures for a particular case.
How a Cook County Bus Accident Attorney Could Help
People who are involved in accidents with buses often suffer from serious damages. Plaintiffs may need to contend with extensive medical treatment and lengthy rehabilitation, and may also have to miss significant time at work and endure intense mental anguish.
A Cook County bus accident lawyer could work diligently to gather necessary evidence, identify the correct defendant in your case, and demand every dollar of compensation to which you may be entitled. To get started on your case, call today to set up a consultation.