A bus accident can have catastrophic consequences, whether you suffered injuries while riding the bus or suffered injuries as a pedestrian or passenger in another vehicle during the accident. Often, those injuries will leave you with heavy expenses, for which you may deserve compensation.
Filing a Bus Accident Claim: The Basics
You should carefully follow these critical steps to protect your right to compensation. The actions you take immediately after a bus accident, and even in the following weeks, can greatly affect the compensation you recover for those injuries.
Get in touch with an attorney soon after your bus accident.
If you need to file a bus accident claim because you sustained injuries in a bus accident due to another party’s negligence, start by getting in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney who has dealt with bus accident claims in the past. An attorney can offer several benefits as you attempt to proceed with a bus accident claim.
An attorney can help collect essential evidence related to your bus accident.
An attorney can help you better understand exactly who caused your bus accident and, therefore, who likely bears liability for your injuries. A bus accident can involve multiple points of liability. Does the driver bear direct liability for the accident? Does the bus company share liability?
You may need an attorney to help collect essential evidence, from the police report from the accident, the maintenance report on the bus, and even the driver’s history. Often, an attorney will find it easier to locate and collect that evidence.
An attorney will make sure you understand your rights, including your right to compensation.
After a bus accident claim, you may not know how much compensation you should realistically expect for your injuries. That can make it very difficult to deal with the insurance company. The insurance company may try to decrease the settlement you receive as much as possible. An attorney can ensure you know how much compensation to expect, prepare you to deal with the insurance company, and support you as you progress with your claim.
An attorney can help fight on your behalf.
Ultimately, an attorney can help fight for the compensation you deserve for bus accident injuries. The insurance company may not issue a fair offer, or you may have to fight to get full acknowledgment of your injuries, especially in accidents involving multiple injuries.
A bus accident attorney works for you and keeps your needs and best interests in mind throughout the process. As a result, you can feel much more confident about maximizing the compensation you can recover for bus accident injuries.
Make sure to follow all the instructions issued by your medical care provider.
If you want to file a bus accident claim due to injuries sustained in a bus accident, you will need to do your part to aid in the healing process as much as possible. Bus accidents often involve severe injuries. As a pedestrian in a bus accident, you could end up with multiple broken bones, brain injury, back and neck injuries, or severe soft tissue damage.
Those injuries may mean substantial medical bills and ongoing limitations. If you fail to follow the instructions issued by your care provider, you may find yourself delaying your recovery, and the insurance company may refuse to pay for the full cost of your medical bills.
Make recovering from your bus accident injuries your top priority. Schedule any needed medical appointments, including procedures you may need to help increase your odds of making a full recovery. Participate actively in therapy, including at home, to increase your odds of a full recovery.
In addition, make sure you avoid activities your care provider recommends avoiding until you fully recover. For example, if you have a brain injury, your doctor may recommend avoiding anything that could cause further trauma to your head. If you have a broken bone, you may have to avoid bearing weight on or using the limb until you fully recover.
Collect copies of all your medical records and medical bills.
As part of your bus accident claim, you will need to display the challenges you have faced as a direct result of the bus accident. That starts with establishing the extent of your injuries and the medical bills you have had to pay directly.
Keep copies of all medical bills starting immediately after your accident, including receipts for any copay or deductible amounts you may have had to pay. Your receipts can establish the full cost of medical treatment for your injuries and make it easier for you to put together a comprehensive injury claim.
In addition, make sure you have copies of your medical records and any statements made by your doctors about your injuries. You may have extensive limitations in the aftermath of your injuries, a long road to recovery, and, in some cases, challenges that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Your medical records may clearly indicate the suffering you faced and the next steps you may need to take.
Avoid talking to the insurance company yourself.
After a bus accident, the insurance company may move fast. It may look like the insurance company simply wants to settle the claim and get you the money you need as soon as possible. The insurance agent you speak with may tell you that the company wants to compensate you for your injuries as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the insurance company will utilize a range of tactics designed to reduce the compensation you can recover for those injuries rather than offering you the financial support you need and deserve.
The insurance company may try to put you in the position of accepting partial or full liability for the bus accident. Suppose, for example, that a bus hit you, a pedestrian, while you tried to cross the road. The insurance company may look for any statement indicating that you crossed against the light or while the bus had already moved. If you make any statement indicating that you committed an error, the insurance company could reduce the compensation you can recover for your injuries.
Next, the insurance company may try to issue a settlement offer that does not fully reflect the damages you sustained or the injuries you had to deal with after your accident. You may receive a settlement offer that reflects only a fraction of the damages from the accident. The insurance company may tell you that you have received the best possible offer based on the terms of the bus insurance policy or the number of people injured in the accident. You may even feel pressure to accept an offer fast before it “goes away.”
However, before accepting any offer from the insurance company, have an attorney review your claim. You may discover that you deserve considerably more compensation than the insurance company. Accepting that initial offer could leave you without the compensation you deserve, which could lead to more financial difficulties down the line.
In many cases, your attorney can handle most of your interactions with the insurance company. By turning those interactions over to your attorney, you can often feel much more confident about the outcome of your claim and your ability to seek the compensation you deserve.
Check your social media content (and avoid posting about the accident).
Today, many people share the details of their lives across social media. After a bus accident, it may feel natural to share information about the accident, your injuries, and your recovery on social media. However, the insurance company may use any information you post on social media about the accident against you as you progress with your claim.
For example, the insurance company might check out posts you may have made about your activities and use those to prove that you did not sustain the injuries you claim from the accident. If you post about the accident, the insurance company may use those posts as evidence of liability. Keep your recovery off social media until your bus accident claim resolves. This will prevent the insurance company from using that information against you.
The Statute of Limitations in Chicago Bus Accident Claims
After a bus accident in Chicago, you have two years to file an injury claim. You must move forward with your injury claim before two years pass or the court may refuse to hear your claim, leaving you without the compensation you deserve.
Some circumstances, however, can extend the statute of limitations and give you more time to file a claim. For example, Illinois law tolls, or pauses, the statute of limitations when a minor sustains serious injuries.
Suppose, for example, that your child suffers injuries in a school bus accident. Thanks to the extended statute of limitations, you may have until two years after the child’s eighteenth birthday to file a claim. The extended statute of limitations for minors allows children to manage their claims if needed, so they do not have to rely on their parents to take care of those legal procedures.
The Compensation You Should Expect After a Bus Accident Claim
A bus accident can lead to severe injuries, which means you may deserve substantial compensation. Talk to an attorney about the compensation you reasonably deserve for those injuries. An attorney may look at several key factors to get a better idea of how much compensation you should reasonably expect for your injuries and what steps you should take to receive that compensation.
You may have high medical expenses after a bus accident. Even minor injuries can require substantial medical treatment. An attorney can help you collect and go over those medical bills to arrive at a full assessment of the losses you sustained because of your bus accident injuries.
Did you miss out on work because of your bus accident injuries? Many bus accident victims struggle to get back to work in the aftermath of severe injuries. Talk to your attorney about how much time you missed at work and what compensation you might deserve for those missing wages. Your lawyer can help you calculate the value of those lost wages and include them as part of your claim.
Pain and Suffering
Not all the losses you face directly from your bus accident will fit into a neat box. In many cases, you may find yourself with severe, ongoing pain, significant limitations, and massive losses to your personal and professional life.
You may struggle with anxiety, PTSD, or depression because of the accident and your injuries. Your bus accident injuries may impact your relationship with friends and loved ones. Contact a lawyer who can help you include compensation for your overall suffering after a bus accident as part of your claim.