Have you been hurt in a bus wreck and need legal help? Read the answers to these 4 commonly asked bus accident questions, then call our Virginia lawyer now.
1) Steps in a Bus Accident Claim
People often ask me, “What are the main steps to follow in pursuing a bus accident injury claim in Virginia?” These types of claims are often made against government entities. Therefore, one of the first steps that are required is to put the government entity that operates the bus system on notice of your claim in writing. That writing has to have special components to it that state the time, exact location, as well as the parties involved in the accident in Virginia. In addition, the other steps that are typically involved are preserving the electronic evidence that may be available from the bus itself as to how the accident occurred. Because buses, just like any other vehicle in Virginia, you have to prove negligence in order to recover from the bus company. Other steps that are required are following through with the medical care, documenting the medical history of recovery from this injury, and making a proper demand and filing suit within the two-year statute of limitations. All of those steps are required in almost every bus accident case, particularly if you have more serious injuries.
2) Insurance Companies and Bus Accidents
Recently, I was contacted by a client who had a claim against a bus company asking if it was okay for that person to respond to an insurance adjuster’s call asking for a recorded statement. In that case, I told my client, and I tell everybody that I meet with about bus accident cases, that really there is no requirement that you submit to a recorded statement with any insurance adjuster involved in a bus accident investigation. Secondly, there’s usually a good reason why the insurance adjuster is contacting you and that is to try to reduce the value of your case or somehow find information that suggests that you were not taking proper care of yourself in the circumstances of the collision. For that reason, they can deny your claim outright. Virginia is one of only four states in the entire country that still adopts what is often referred to as contributory negligence law. That’s simply a law that says you can recover $0 for an injury claim if you’re at all at fault in causing the crash or in any other way not taking reasonable care for your own recovery. For those reasons, it’s very important not to submit to a recorded statement from the bus company, because their sole purpose in doing that is to try to eliminate your claim.
3) Bus Accident Settlement Offers
Occasionally I’m approached by a client who seeks legal representation for a bus accident injury claim asking if they should accept an offer that’s made early on in the case by the bus company. In those cases, I typically say it’s not a good idea to accept an early settlement offer from a bus company, simply because, at the early stages of recovery, you don’t know if you have identified all of the injuries or whether you will successfully recover from all of those injuries at the time you’re offered the settlement money. Ordinarily, it’s not a good idea to accept the first offer. Insurance companies make a living off of reducing the amount of claim payments they make as a general rule. The first offer is usually never the last offer. The last offer is the one I’d rather take because it will pay more for the injury claim to a fuller extent and a fairer extent under the law.
4) School Bus Injury Claims
If your child has been involved in a school bus accident in Virginia, you may have a question as to whether you have a right to seek recovery for injuries to your child from that collision. In Virginia, it is possible to sue a bus operator for injuries from a student because in most cases, there’s a separate contract with the busing company and it’s not operated by the school system itself. Some jurisdictions in Virginia, however, are operated by county systems or are operated by the actual county itself. In those cases, it’s more difficult to establish a claim against the county for those types of injuries. Certainly, there are special notice requirements that are involved in those cases as well. In some instances, you may be barred from pursuing a claim against the county because of the doctrine of governmental immunity. In those cases, it’s extremely important that you seek counsel quickly to determine what your rights are under the applicable law and given the bus system that was involved in the crash.
Were you or a loved one seriously injured due to a crash and have questions? After reading the answers to these 4 commonly asked bus accident questions, contact a Virginia bus accident lawyer at The Strong Law Firm today for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation. Let our experience work for you.