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Every year, thousands of people are injured in Kentucky bus accidents, from public transit and school bus crashes to collisions involving tour buses. A bus can cause extensive damage to another vehicle, and the force of the impact can cause devastating injuries to its own passengers, other vehicle occupants, and even pedestrians and bicyclists. If you have been injured in a Louisville bus accident, you may be worried about compensation. Is your insurance company going to pay your medical bills? If you miss work, how will you make up for the lost income? In the case of a fatal accident, who will pay the funeral expenses? For years, the Louisville bus accident lawyers at The Schafer Law Office have been helping bus accident victims get justice. We understand the laws that govern bus accidents in Kentucky and will aggressively pursue responsible parties to get you the compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with a Louisville car accident lawyer, contact our firm today.
- Kentucky Bus Accident Statistics
- Types of Bus Transportation in Louisville
- Causes of Bus Accidents in Louisville
- What Makes Bus Accidents So Catastrophic?
- Average Bus Accident Settlements in Louisville KY
- Who Pays for My Bus Accident Injuries in Kentucky?
- What Should I Do After a Louisville Bus Accident?
- Why Should I Hire The Schafer Law Office?
Kentucky Bus Accident Statistics
Under Kentucky law, a bus is defined as any motor vehicle that:
- Must be registered under the terms of KRS 186.050 or 186.060;
- Is built and used for transporting passengers
- Can provide for over nine passengers, including the driver
According to the Kentucky State Police, in 2019 there were 1,630 buses involved in crashes. A total of 390 were school buses: these collisions left one person dead and 71 injured. The rest of the accidents involved commercial and mass transit buses.
Types of Bus Transportation in Louisville
The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is the primary bus service in the Louisville metro area. It operates 227 buses and has 2,000 bus stops. Other buses that travel through or around the city include:
- School buses
- Passenger vans that hold 15 or fewer passengers
- Charter buses are rented by teams, organizations, or groups of people traveling together.
For longer distances or intercity travel, there are also private bus transportation services, such as Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines.
Causes of Bus Accidents in Louisville
Although we want to believe that Louisville bus drivers always operate their vehicles carefully, certain circumstances increase the risk of an accident. When negligent drivers cause accidents that injure their passengers and/or other motorists, they can be held liable. Common causes of collisions include:
- Driver Error: The driver may not have had the proper training or experience to drive safely and/or avoid an accident.
- Distracted Driving: Across the country, driving while texting or talking on the phone is a big problem. Even bus drivers are prone to looking at their phones while driving.
- Driver Fatigue: Anyone who drives for a living can feel the effects of long hours behind the wheel. Fatigue is especially common among drivers for companies like Greyhound, who may travel for hundreds of miles without a break.
- Mechanical Errors: Bus companies and organizations are responsible for keeping their vehicles in good condition. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and accidents result.
What Makes Bus Accidents So Catastrophic?
When a bus strikes another vehicle, there is a greater chance of serious injury and death. A fully loaded bus weighs nearly 50,000 pounds and could demolish most passenger vehicles, killing or maiming the latter’s occupants. As most buses lack seat belts, the chances of their passengers also being injured in a crash are high. Common bus accident injuries include:
- Internal bleeding
- Severe burns
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Physical and emotional injuries may require time off work, as well as lengthy and costly medical treatment. If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, they should bear the costs, not you. Call the Schafer Law Office today for a free case review with a bus accident attorney.
Average Bus Accident Settlements in Louisville KY
Every bus accident case is unique, so there is no average settlement as such. While there may be similar injuries and circumstances, other factors can weigh more heavily, resulting in a different outcome. Those injured in a Louisville bus accident may generally seek compensation for the following:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Property damage
Medical records, bills, pay stubs, and vocational experts can help your Louisville bus accident lawyer value your claim. Other factors taken into consideration include:
- The nature and extent of your injuries
- Your age and overall health at the time of the accident
- How your injuries are reasonably expected to affect your future
- Whether you are expected to fully recover
If the at-fault party behaved in an especially negligent or reckless manner, punitive damages may be awarded. There is no cap on punitive damages in Kentucky, so an award can significantly increase your final compensation. Your bus accident claim may also be affected by Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence rule, which can reduce your compensation based on your degree of fault. For example, if you are awarded $50,000 as an injured passenger but the court decides that you were 25% at fault because you were standing on the bus despite empty seats being available, you would only recover 75% of your damages, or $37,500. This rule often motivates insurance companies to claim you were more at fault for your injuries than you actually were, so that they can reduce your payout. At The Schafer Law Office, we’re familiar with this tactic and will use our investigation and negotiation skills to deter it.
Who Pays for My Bus Accident Injuries in Kentucky?
When it comes to bus accidents, there may be more than one party at fault. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a claim against one or more of the following:
- The Driver: The bus driver may assume all or part of the responsibility for your injuries. Many bus accidents occur when drivers engage in reckless behavior, are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or are speeding.
- Transit Companies: In some cases, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the bus company. Many accidents occur because companies fail to maintain and inspect their vehicles or they hire unqualified drivers.
- School Districts: If school buses are involved in accidents due to improper maintenance, a lack of enforcement of safety standards, or negligent hiring practices, the school districts or school boards may be responsible for injuries and losses.
- Municipalities: County, city, and state governments may be liable for accidents involving city buses. A Louisville bus accident lawyer at The Schafer Law Office can navigate the regulations and red tape surrounding these accidents and help you seek justice.
- Bus Part Manufacturers: Sometimes, buses have a malfunctioning or defective part. When these parts cause accidents, the retailers and manufacturers can be held liable for damages.
A Louisville bus accident lawyer at the Schafer Law Office can help you identify all liable parties so you can hold them accountable and seek compensation. Contact us today to begin protecting your rights.
What Should I Do After a Louisville Bus Accident?
It is important to follow certain steps if you are involved in a bus accident. Taking these measures will safeguard your health and preserve any evidence that you may need to file a claim or lawsuit.
- Call 911: It is vital for your safety and the safety of other passengers that police, ambulance EMTs, and other emergency personnel arrive at the scene of the accident as soon as possible.
- Seek Medical Attention: It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine after an accident, you can still experience symptoms weeks or even days later. Back, spine, neck, and head injuries are especially susceptible to delayed symptoms.
- Document the Accident: If your smartphone was not damaged, take pictures and/or videos of the accident scene from different angles. You’ll also want to get contact information from witnesses, other passengers, and the bus driver.
- Talk to a Bus Accident Attorney: Having an experienced and dedicated bus accident attorney on your side can significantly improve your chances of receiving the fair compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages.
Why Should I Hire The Schafer Law Office?
If you have been injured in a bus accident in Louisville, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Kentucky’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is only one year and you may be eligible to receive compensation to help ease your financial burdens. As you focus on your recovery, our team at The Schafer Law Office will collect evidence in support of your claim and handle all negotiations with the insurance company. Our Louisville bus accident lawyers have extensive experience helping accident victims hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. We have secured substantial settlements for our clients and will demand the maximum compensation that your case deserves.
Free Consultations With a Louisville Bus Accident Lawyer Are Available
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bus accident, contact a bus accident attorney at The Schafer Law Office. Our firm has years of experience and a stellar track record, which allows us to determine what actually happened and help you pursue the compensation you need to handle the emotional, physical, and financial consequences of a bus accident. We take cases on a contingency basis, so if we won’t recover money for you, you owe us nothing. To schedule your free consultation, please contact us online today.