School and passenger bus accidents can lead to grievous injuries and fatalities. The latest data published by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows there were three school bus crashes that led to four fatalities and 137 crashes that caused injuries in 2013. One passenger bus accident led to fatalities, while 132 crashes caused injuries. Overall, school bus incidents were only 0.3 percent and passenger buses were only 0.2 percent of all traffic accidents.

Despite how uncommon school and passenger bus accidents are compared to vehicle and truck crashes, these types of accidents can lead to serious injuries and fatalities. If you or your child were injured in a bus accident, do not hesitate to reach out to our Wisconsin bus accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC. We understand that preserving evidence and investigating liability are crucial steps in pursuing the compensation you deserve. Call us at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

School and passenger buses are supposed to be safe for their occupants. Their drivers require additional training and qualifications before they can get behind the wheel. For many school buses, drivers must obtain an “S” endorsement on their driver’s license. For passenger buses and school buses designed to carry 16 or more individuals, then a commercial driver’s license is required. This additional license requirement improves safety and reduces the risk of bus accidents. However, there are certain issues that create a higher risk of school or passenger bus accidents, including:

  • Speeding above what is appropriate for the conditions or exceeding the speed limit
  • Inattentive or distracted driving
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Disregarding traffic control signals
  • Failing to control the bus
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Improperly turning
  • Improperly backing up

When one of these issues or something else leads to a bus accident that causes you or a loved one injuries, call us today. We will conduct an in-depth investigation to determine the cause of the accident, who was at fault, and who may be liable for compensating your for your injuries.

Preserving Evidence

Following a school or passenger bus accident, it is important to preserve evidence, which means to take steps to ensure that any potential evidence is properly stored and maintained throughout the duration of your claim. For a school or passenger bus accident, this potential evidence includes but is not limited to:

  • The bus itself
  • Any electronic data gathered and stored by the bus or an attached module such as a GPS unit
  • The bus driver’s records
  • The school district or bus company’s employment records
  • The school district or bus company’s maintenance records

All of these factors and more can be crucial to determining who is ultimately responsible for the accident and compensating you. By working with a traffic accident lawyer who will send the other parties involved evidence preservation letters, you increase the chance that you will be able to obtain the information you need to build a strong case.

Determining Liability

After you or a loved one has been hurt in a bus accident, it is essential that you figure out who is liable. This information will dictate how you pursue compensation and prove fault.

If you were involved in a passenger bus accident that was caused by the bus driver, then the bus company who employs the driver may be liable. You may be able to file an insurance claim against the company’s policy or file suit. Since a passenger bus is a commercial motor vehicle, it must follow state and federal regulations. An experienced bus accident lawyer understands the complexities of a case against a commercial vehicle and will thoroughly investigate whether the company was compliant with all relevant laws.

If you were injured in an accident with a public transit bus, then the liable party may be the municipality that owns and operates that bus. You will need to work with county or city officials to file an insurance claim or suit to recover compensation.

If you were involved in a school bus accident, then liability depends on what and who caused the accident. The school district or another company responsible for supplying and maintaining the bus may be at fault. If the driver was at fault and employed by the district, then you may need to file an insurance claim or suit against the district. However, if a defect or maintenance issue led to the crash, then your fight may be against another company.

Pursuing Compensation Through a Personal Injury Claim

Once you and your attorneys have investigated the reason for the bus accident and determined who is liable, we can move forward with pursuing compensation through a bus accident claim. Many personal injury claims first go through the insurance claim process. Your traffic accident attorney can help you formally file a third-party claim and pursue compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Property damage, when applicable

However, there are multiple reasons why you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Sometimes the discovery phase of a lawsuit is necessary to gather more information from the at-fault party. This information could be crucial in building a strong and accurate case. However, you may also need to file suit if there is no insurance policy or an insurance negotiation may not be likely. Once you file suit, you have the option to obtain more information and go through with trial.

Contact Our Wisconsin Bus Accident Lawyers for Help

Being injured in a bus accident can change every aspect of your or your loved one’s life. An injury not only affects your physical wellbeing, it may also lead to psychological harm. A significant or catastrophic injury can lead to depression, anxiety, and more. However, even a more moderate physical injury in a bus crash have a lasting emotional impact. Whatever your specific injuries, contact us at Studinski Law, LLC today. Let us review your situation and advise you on the best course of action. Our priority is always to look out for what is best for you.

Contact us today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a consultation.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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