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Traveling by bus—whether it is operated by a public transit authority or a private transportation company—is much safer than driving or riding in a personal vehicle. However, there are still numerous accidents caused by a negligent bus driver or operating entity which can result in serious injuries to multiple people.
When you have been injured in any type of accident involving a commercial or public bus, there is help available from a dedicated personal injury attorney who has handled these types of cases before. With a West Virginia bus accident lawyer by your side, you can navigate the litigation process and pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.
There are various people and entities who could hold some or all the blame for a bus accident in West Virginia. First and foremost, any bus driver who causes a traffic accident by breaking a traffic law, losing concentration behind the wheel, or doing anything else reckless or careless has violated the “duty of care” all drivers owe to each other. He or she could be liable for any injuries which stem directly from his or her negligence.
Bus drivers can also be legally liable for injuries they negligently cause to passengers in ways other than traffic collisions. For instance, they might accelerate too quickly away from a stop and cause a boarding passenger to fall and get hurt. Furthermore, the companies and transit authorities that employ irresponsible drivers can often be held vicariously liable for the misconduct of their employees. This can allow for a higher civil recovery than with a lawsuit against a single bus operator alone.
Other accidents may result from the negligence of a third party, such as another driver who operated his or her own vehicle irresponsibly, a bus mechanic who failed to provide high-quality service, or even a bus passenger who interfered with the driver while he or she was on a route. A West Virginia bus accident lawyer can offer vital guidance about who might be responsible for an incident and help take appropriate legal action against them.
Bus accidents can lead to substantial economic and non-economic losses that can last for years into the future. All of these can be factored into a settlement demand or lawsuit against the person or people responsible for the incident. Specific damages that a bus crash lawyer in West Virginia could help someone pursue include:
State law does allow courts to impose “punitive damages” in addition to the “compensatory damages” listed above. They can only do so if there is clear evidence that the named defendant(s) were egregiously negligent or acted with intentional malice. Punitive damages are also capped by West Virginia Code § 55-7-29 at either $500,000 or four times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
Whether it happens on a highway, on a narrow two-lane street, or anywhere in between, getting hurt in a bus accident can often be the basis for substantial civil recovery. However, if you try to pursue civil litigation against a bus company or public transit authority alone, your odds of getting a favorable case result are slim.
Instead, you should speak with a West Virginia bus accident lawyer first to determine your odds of success. Call Jan Dils today to schedule a free consultation.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law