Millions of commuters take buses to and from work and other destinations every day. Sadly, buses are just as prone to getting in a motor vehicle accident as any other vehicle. Bus accidents can be extremely destructive, often injuring multiple people since they are filled with passengers.
Our lawyers can help you fight for justice and financial compensation after an accident. You may be burdened with large medical expenses or damage to a motor vehicle after an accident. Insurance companies don’t always want to pay for these damages and will look for ways to get themselves off the hook. Drivers and bus companies will also look for ways to make the accident appear as if it was your fault. A lawyer can represent you in court and make sure you have experienced legal counsel.
Reach out to our bus accident lawyers at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free review of your case.
Who Can You Sue for a Bus Accident in Mobile, AL
A bus driver is the most obvious person to sue if you get hit by a bus or were riding in a bus when a crash happened. However, other parties might be at fault for causing the accident and could be liable in court. You should consult our bus accident lawyers to figure out the best way to handle your particular case.
The Bus Driver
The bus driver is most directly responsible for your injuries in a bus accident. After all, they were driving the bus when the accident happened.
Bus accidents caused by the driver can happen the same way as motor vehicle accidents in any vehicle. Just like in a sedan, speeding, drunk driving, tired driving, or texting behind the wheel can lead to a crash.
If the bus driver was careless behind the wheel, they might be liable for your injuries
The Bus Company
The bus company might be liable to you in court. Bus companies are often in a better position to pay damages than bus drivers, so you will have a better chance of getting a full financial recovery if you also sue the bus company.
If the bus company did not keep their bus in good working order, or hired a driver and knew that the driver did not meet commercial driver qualifications, or had an alcohol abuse problem, the bus company could be liable.
A bus company can also be held liable for their driver’s conduct if the conduct has to be related to their work. So long as the driver was on a route for their job or doing a related activity, you can bring the bus company into the lawsuit.
Sometimes, accidents are caused by bad road conditions like potholes or broken traffic signs. If a road-maintenance-related factor contributed to your bus accident, you can bring the relevant state or local entity into the lawsuit.
Damages From a Mobile, AL Bus Accident
Damages in lawsuits are broken down into several categories:
Economic damages have a set dollar value attached to them. Because there is evidence indicating how much these damages are worth, insurance might be able to pay for them. However, insurance companies do not always want to pay out their policies, so you still might need to go to court to get this compensation.
Common examples of economic damages include medical bills from a hospital, physical therapy costs, and repair bills for your car. Economic damages also include lost potential for future earnings.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify. Examples of non-economic damages include mental anguish, fear of a subsequent injury, pain/discomfort, and loss of companionship from a deceased loved one. Since it is difficult to put an exact value on how much pain an injury causes, most insurance policies will not readily cover non-economic damages without a fight. You should get a lawyer to argue that you are owed non-economic damages in order to recover their full value.
Most damages awarded to plaintiffs are to “make them whole” again. The idea is to put the plaintiff in as close a position as possible to where they were before the accident. In contrast, punitive damages exist to punish the defendant for particularly bad conduct. Punitive damages are awarded when a court wants to make an example of the defendant or deter them and others from doing similar actions in the future. Judges are wary of awarding punitive damages, since these damages are reserved for particularly bad actors.
Laws to Be Aware of in a Mobile, AL Bus Accident Lawsuit
While your lawyer will handle your legal representation in a lawsuit, there are some Alabama laws that you should be aware of when preparing for a bus accident lawsuit. These laws could significantly impact your ability to recover damages or prevent you from bringing a lawsuit entirely.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that limits how long after an accident you are allowed to file a lawsuit. The statutory period for a personal injury claim in Alabama, with very few exceptions, is two years per Ala. Code § 6-2-38. After that time, the statute of limitations will have run, and a court will not hear your case. You will recover no damages.
The statute of limitations exists to ensure that the facts of the case are not distorted by time or faulty memory and to allow people to move on with their lives without the prospect of a lawsuit from an accident in the distant past hanging over their heads.
If your claim is against a city or town in Alabama, you must file your claim within six months of the accident instead. Per Ala. Code § 6-2-8, If the bus accident happened when you were a minor, the statutory period will be put on hold until you turn 19. You then have two years from the day you turn 19 to file a lawsuit.
Alabama follows a principle called contributory negligence. In law, contributory negligence is the idea that if the injured party is in any way at fault for their injuries, they cannot recover in court.
Most states use a rule called “comparative fault,” where the plaintiffs damages are reduced based on how much they were at fault for their own injuries. For example, a plaintiff 20% at fault would only recover 80% of their damages in a state using those rules.
Contributory negligence is only used by five states and is significantly more strict than comparative fault. In a contributory negligence state like Alabama, if you are at fault at all for your accident, you cannot recover damages.
Insurance companies and opposing lawyers are aware of this law and will do everything in their power to try and make it seem like the accident was a little bit your fault. Make sure to talk to a lawyer so that you do not implicate yourself.
Call Our Mobile, AL Lawyers for a Free Case Review
Call our bus accident lawyers at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 to talk about your case.