Large-scale transportation resources like buses operate throughout the City of Chicago every day. When a bus is involved in an accident, it poses an elevated risk of serious injury to both the bus passengers and the drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians with whom they share the road. If you were injured in an accident involving a bus in Chicago, you should consider suing to get the compensation you deserve.
The first step is identifying the at-fault party. If the driver was at fault, you might be able to sue the bus operating company or entity through the doctrine of vicarious liability. You can also name the operating company in your lawsuit if you can show that they fell short in their hiring, training, or maintenance practices. You could ultimately recover compensation for harms such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Our seasoned Chicago bus accident attorneys at Rhatigan Law Offices have been recovering the compensation that our clients deserve for over 25 years. To hear how we can work to help you, call us for a free case assessment at (312) 578-8502.
Liability for Bus Operators in Chicago
One of the first steps that your Chicago bus accident attorney will take is to determine who might be liable for causing the accident and your resulting injuries. Just because the bus driver made an error and caused the accident does not mean that they are the party that you should sue. Below are some common examples of parties that may be responsible for compensating victims after a bus accident in Chicago.
In many cases, bus accident injury victims can name the bus operator in their lawsuit claiming negligence. This option exists even if the bus driver’s negligence caused the accident. The doctrine of vicarious liability allows personal injury plaintiffs to sue the employer of the negligent party if that employee was acting within the scope of their job at the time the negligent conduct occurred. Therefore, if the accident occurred because of a bus driver error, you will be better off pursuing your claim against their employer.
Bus Operator Negligence
Operating companies may also be negligent in meeting their responsibilities to passengers. Management owes a legal duty to conduct a reasonably prudent inspection of vehicles and training to employees. They must also use care in the hiring process to prevent drivers with substandard driving records from putting their passengers in unnecessary danger. For more information about proper inspection, hiring, and training practices required by law, speak to one of our experienced Chicago bus accident attorneys.
Liability for Bus Manufacturers in Chicago
The company that produced the bus or any of its individual parts may also be liable for an accident. This liability exists if a defective part that would not have reasonably been discovered in a routine inspection causes the accident.
Buses are massive vehicles with more moving parts than a typical personal vehicle. Some of these parts affect vital safety features like kill switches. It may be difficult to identify whether liability lies with the vehicle manufacturer, the part manufacturer, or the operating company responsible for maintaining and inspecting the bus. Further, some operating companies contract with third parties to do the inspection and maintenance for them.
In any case, if you suspect that the bus accident that injured you occurred because of a problem with a brake line, kill switch, or any other vehicular issue, you may struggle to identify the problem (and the party responsible on your own. This is why you should seek out the counsel of a resourceful Chicago bus accident attorney.
Damages for a Bus Accident Injury Lawsuit in Chicago
If you pursue your case for compensation against the responsible party, whoever it may be, you stand to recover monetary damages. Damages are calculated based on both the economic and the non-economic harms that the victim suffers because of the ordeal. A third type of damages, known as punitive damages, may be added to the mix in certain cases.
For expenses and lost financial gain, there are economic damages. Calculations for economic damages will account for expenses directly related to the medical treatment of your injury, such as emergency room services, ambulance fees, surgeries, specialist appointments, and physical therapy, to name a few. But damages will also include money that you should have earned but could not because of your injuries. Lost wages, lost opportunity for advancement, and decreased earning potential are all viable categories within economic damages.
Your medical bills and lost wages cannot fully sum up all of the consequences of the accident and your injuries on you personally. That is why Illinois law allows bus accident injury victims to recover compensation for the pain and suffering that they experience because of the negligence in question. Calculations for noneconomic damages could be influenced by factors such as loss of enjoyment of life, inhibited daily functioning, or the onset of psychological conditions such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Your Chicago bus accident lawyer can help you quantify what your ongoing experience could mean in terms of monetary compensation.
This third type of damages is not available in most bus accident cases. However, where it is available, plaintiffs have the right to know about it, as it could constitute a substantial portion of their potential recovery. Illinois courts can order the defendant to pay the plaintiff additional punitive damages that are not based on any harms to the plaintiff but rather the defendant’s conduct. Said conduct must have been intentionally harmful or reckless that it deserves additional punishment.
Get Experienced Help with Your Chicago Bus Accident Lawsuit from Rhatigan Law Offices
To hear more about your case, call Rhatigan Law Offices’ dedicated Chicago bus accident attorneys today at (312) 578-8502 for a free initial case evaluation.