Because there are so many different potential causes of bus accidents, identifying and establishing liability for a bus accident can often be very complicated. Fortunately, you have help. Call a car accident attorney from Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000 for help filing an injury claim today.
Who may be liable for a bus accident?
Buses are "common carriers" which means that, whether you are riding on the King County Metro Transit, a Starline Luxury Coach, or an ordinary school bus, drivers have a higher duty to keep you safe. If drivers do not exercise care and their negligence causes your injuries, you can hold them, or the other parties listed below, liable for your injuries.
Bus Company/Maintenance Company
If improper maintenance was the cause of the accident, the bus company or the maintenance company may be liable for having failed in their duty to ensure the safety of the bus passengers.
Bus Driver/Bus Company
If the accident happened because of the negligence of the driver (e.g., driving under the influence, texting and driving, speeding), the driver would clearly be liable.
However, the company that hired that driver might also be liable through the doctrine of vicarious liability (i.e., employers are responsible for their employees’ actions while that employee is on the clock).
If the accident was due to another driver, and bus driver acted properly under the circumstances, you may be able to file a claim against the other driver.
Individual or Organization Responsible for Road/Sidewalk Maintenance
Accidents do not always happen on the bus. If a passenger slips and falls on the ground while getting on or off the bus, whoever is responsible for maintaining the area around that stop may be liable.
If the accident or injury occurred because the sidewalk or pavement was uneven, you may be able to hold the property owner or Seattle Department of Transportation (DOT) liable in a claim.
How do I file a claim to receive compensation?
How you file a claim depends on the circumstances of each individual case. If the bus involved was city-regulated, e.g., a Metro Transit bus, Sound Transit, Link Light Rail, you would file a claim against the public transit authority. Under the King County Code, you would need to submit a "Claim for Damages" form as well as all related supporting documentation. It is important that you know exactly what bus you were on at the time of the accident.
If you are filing a claim against another driver, you would need to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company.
For accidents caused by uneven sidewalks, you would file a claim with the property owner’s insurance. For hazardous roads, you would need to file a claim with the Seattle DOT.
Can I get help with my claim?
Identifying the right parties, investigating the facts, and helping you recover your damages can be difficult. Do not do it alone. Contact Max Meyers for help today: 425-399-7000.