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The roads in Tacoma are full of buses transporting people to work or school, taking private groups on outings, and ferrying tourists around the area. Buses are an efficient, environmentally friendly, and economical form of transportation for many people.

However, buses are large, cumbersome, and dangerous in certain conditions. Bus collisions can cause catastrophic injuries, particularly to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycle riders, and the occupants of other vehicles.

If you were injured in a crash involving a bus, you may be eligible to work with a personal injury attorney and file a claim for monetary damages against the bus company or other negligent parties. A Tacoma bus accident lawyer could assess your situation and explain the legal options available to you.

Who is Negligent in a Bus Accident?

When someone seeks damages for injuries they received in an accident, their attorney must prove that another party was at fault. In many cases, more than one party’s negligence could have contributed to the crash. A legal professional may be able to investigate and identify all parties whose conduct might make them liable to the claimant.

Buses are common carriers under federal law and must adhere to strict safety standards to prevent injuries to passengers and others. If a bus driver failed to adhere to best practices in any way, this failure could be evidence of negligence.

Besides the company that operates the bus and the bus driver, other potentially negligent parties could include:

  • Drivers of other vehicles involved in the collision
  • A bus manufacturer
  • A repair shop or mechanic that maintains the bus
  • The locality where the crash happened

Additionally, if the claimant’s conduct contributed to the accident, they could also be responsible for the portion of the damages they caused. A tenacious attorney in Tacoma could assess the cause of the bus accident and collect evidence to demonstrate that a plaintiff did not contribute in any way.

Seek Prompt Legal Advice if a Public Transportation System Is Involved

Many crashes in the area involve buses operated by Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, or the Tacoma Public School system. Government entities own or operate all the buses in these organizations. Special rules apply to claims against the government. Failing to adhere to those rules could endanger a person’s right to sue.

The Revised Code of Washington §4.96.020 allows people to sue local governments for damages they suffered due to the negligence of a government agency or employee. However, they must first file a notice of claim form with the appropriate government agency. In Tacoma, the claimant must submit the form to the City Clerk. A detail-oriented bus accident lawyer in Tacoma could ensure that a legally sufficient notice of claim is filed at the appropriate office.

Once the agency receives the form, it has 60 days to review it and decide whether to settle or dispute the claim. If the claim is not settled at the end of the 60 days, the claimant can file a lawsuit against this local government.

Insurance Companies in Bus Accident Claims

In the days after a bus crash, attorneys for the bus operator and perhaps other parties are likely to approach the accident victims with settlement offers. It is unwise to consider these offers or to speak with an insurance company representative before contacting a bus accident attorney in Tacoma.

The insurance company’s offer might seem generous, and an injured person could be eager to put the matter to rest and move forward; however, an injured person must realize that insurance companies are profit-making businesses, and their goal is to achieve a settlement quickly at the lowest possible cost. They do not hesitate to take advantage of recently traumatized people without a legal background.

An injured person’s legal representative could handle communication with the insurers and demand that any settlement offer provide appropriate compensation for the claimant’s injuries. Handling the matter this way relieves the injured person of the stress of negotiating while recovering from the bus wreck and increases the chances any settlement the parties reach will be fair under the circumstances.

Trust Your Claim to a Tacoma Bus Accident Attorney

If you suffered injuries in a bus crash, turn to a local legal professional for help. Bus accident claims can be complicated, and if you try to settle the case on your own, you are likely to leave money on the table.

A skilled and experienced Tacoma bus accident lawyer is familiar with the issues that can arise in these negotiations and knows how to handle them. Reach out to schedule a case review today.