Des Plaines, IL Bus Accident Lawyer

Buses are a vital transportation option for many in Des Plaines. However, devastating bus accidents occur often, leaving victims needing compensation for their injuries.

The best way to get coverage for your losses is to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you. Our lawyers have the experience to investigate your claim and determine those who should pay for your damages. This typically means suing the bus driver, but we will also file a claim against the bus company in most cases. Even if the bus was operated by a public transit company, we can help you overcome the additional hurdles in these cases to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Our bus accident lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices can provide you with a free case review when you contact our team at (312) 578-8502.

Who Can Be Sued for a Bus Accident in Des Plaines, IL

Claims involving bus accidents are often much more challenging than those for everyday car accidents. One factor contributing to their complexity is who can be held liable for the accident. While the bus driver will normally be sued, the bus company can also be named as a defendant in most cases. A case gets even more complicated if the bus involved in the accident is operated by a government agency. However, our bus accident attorneys might discover still other parties that contributed to your injuries after investigating your claim. The following are those commonly held responsible for bus accidents in Des Plaines:

The Bus Driver

The bus driver is the most likely person responsible for a bus accident. Not only are they in control of the oversized vehicle, but they are also expected to be trained and driven with the utmost care. If a bus accident occurs, it is natural to assume that the bus driver failed to live up to their duty.

In some cases, the driver might have been distracted by one of the bus’s systems, like the GPS, or they might have been on their phone when the accident occurred. Bus drivers also cause accidents by speeding, which gives them less time to react and maneuver to changing traffic. In other cases, the bus driver should not have been on the road in the first place if they lack the training and experience to handle the bus. Our team can gather the evidence that shows how the bus driver caused your injuries.

The Bus Company

The next potential defendant we will examine after a bus accident is the bus company that employs the driver. Private bus companies, like Megabus and Greyhound, are typically held responsible for the acts of their drivers under the legal principle of respondeat superior. According to this rule, the bus company can be sued if the accident occurred while the bus driver was on duty. This is also known as “vicarious liability.”

The bus company could also be held liable if it negligently hired a bus driver. For instance, if it did not do a background check or did one and found evidence of dangerous driving but still let the driver on the road, the bus company can be sued for negligent hiring practices.

Government Bus Companies

The most complicated lawsuits typically involve public bus companies. Considering how many people use public transportation in Des Plaines, it is not unlikely that the bus involved in your accident is operated by a local or state municipality. For instance, if you were injured on a Pace transit bus, you would usually need to sue the city.

However, suing a government agency comes with additional requirements. Municipal bodies are granted “sovereign immunity,” which gives them certain protections from lawsuits. Fortunately, you can still file a claim for injuries, you will just have less time to do so than if the defendant were a private bus company. Under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/13-202, you would normally have two years from the date of the crash to file a claim. However, 745 I.L.C.S. § 10/8-101(a) only gives victims one year to file a claim against a government agency.

You must also usually give notice of your intention to file a claim before suing. This time can pass incredibly fast. When we file your claim, we need to gather evidence to show your damages. Depending on how long it takes to gather and organize your medical records, it could cut it close. If you do not file your claim before the deadline, you will be barred from recovering compensation. Our team can determine how long you have to file and prepare your lawsuit before the deadline passes.

Bus Passengers

In other cases, a bus passenger or passengers might have contributed to your injuries. Some bus passengers can be unruly, causing unnecessary distractions to the driver. For instance, a charter bus for a wedding might crash if an intoxicated guest interferes with the driver. Or, a passenger on a public bus might assault the driver, causing them to crash. Passengers are just as responsible for following the law and acting safely as drivers. However, drivers are responsible for the conditions on the bus, so we will usually file a claim against the passenger and driver in these situations.

Luckily, most buses are equipped with surveillance cameras that cover every angle of the vehicle. If a passenger caused the accident, it should be captured in the footage. We will also be able to determine if the driver could have prevented the passenger’s actions.

Other Drivers

It is not uncommon to find other drivers contributing when a bus accident occurs. Buses are fairly hard to miss, even for less attentive drivers. That said, drivers still manage to miss them as many are distracted by their phones. Considering that most bus drivers take their duties to heart as their jobs depend on it, it is likely some or all the fault of another driver if multiple vehicles are involved.

For instance, a bus might have hit you when it swerved to avoid an impatient driver getting around them. Our team can review the bus’s surveillance video to see how another driver caused the accident.

In other cases, distracted drivers fail to notice a bus accident before crashing into it. These are known as “pile-up” accidents. Just because the bus driver was negligent in causing an accident does not mean other drivers cannot make mistakes of their own that further injure you. In most cases, we will sue each driver involved and determine liability during the lawsuit.

Our Des Plaines, IL Bus Accident Lawyers Can Help You Today

For a free case assessment with our bus accident attorneys, contact Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.