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Who is liable in a Denver city bus accident?

07/05/2021

Traveling by bus is convenient and affordable. And it should be safe, as well, since bus service is operated by public authorities that comply with the common carrier law in Colorado. According to the rules stipulated in the legal document, bus companies should use vehicles no older than 12 years, in good condition, clean and properly maintained. Yet, bus accidents happen all over the US, resulting in fatalities and severe injuries. If you were hurt in such an accident, the team of bus accident attorneys at Firouzbakht Law Firm can advise you and assist you in getting compensation for your bodily injuries, economic losses and noneconomic damages..

We want to stress that a bus accident is different from a regular motor vehicle accident, because the bus driver may be employed by a government entity. Thus, when you pursue your rights with a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you need to follow the special rules set for tort actions against government agencies.. This usually means a shorter statute of limitations and supplementary legal procedures.

How Frequent Are Bus Accidents?

A grey car crashes head on to a bus in Denver

Any bus accident lawyer can tell you that there are far too many such instances all over the US.. In 2018 alone, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 1,158 bus accident victims and 28 fatalities in multi-vehicle collisions and 430 injuries and 15 deaths in single-vehicle crashes.

In most of these cases, bus drivers' failure to yield and distracted driving where the leading causes of traffic accidents, according to a study conducted by two researchers at the University of Michigan. Unfortunately, although these drivers hold a commercial driving license, they are subject to all the common failings of regular drivers.

However, the implications of their actions and negligence are very complex, because public buses carry dozens of passengers, who ca suffer catastrophic injuries or even lose their lives in a serious crash. This is is why anyone who was or knows a bus accident victim should contact experienced personal injury attorneys and let them choose the best course of legal action in order to win maximum compensation.

The First Challenge: Understanding All the Implications of a Bus Crash

When a bus collides with passenger vehicles or crashes into a stationary object (tree, pole, bridge, etc.) the first and foremost at-fault person is the bus driver. Yet, given the number of victims, their total medical bills and other economic and non-economic damages, the driver's personal insurance policy could not cover the total amount.

However, a bus driver is usually a public employee of the local government. In most cases, public transportation is operated by city authorities. And, according to the Constitution of the State of Colorado, the term "government employee" applies to all employees and independent contractors of, inter alia, any local government.

Moreover, as they work for an entity defined as a common carrier, bus passengers and other drivers, pedestrians and motorcyclists or bicyclists are owed a higher duty of care than usually applicable to individual drivers.

Who is liable in a Denver city bus accident? Who Exactly Is Liable for Bus Accidents?

When you are seeking monetary damages for your severe injury and property damage, you must know to whom you should address your claim. The obvious liable parties in traffic accidents involving buses are:

  • negligent bus drivers
  • a passenger vehicle driver
  • a commercial driver operating a truck, van, or another type of vehicle belonging to a private company.

However, in many cases when a driver on the job commits a motor vehicle accident, their employer is vicariously liable, as well.. Also, depending on the causes of the crash, other responsible parties may be identified, such as:

  • the manufacturer of the vehicle
  • the car parts producer that provided a defective part
  • the company that provides maintenance and repair for the vehicle.

This is why bus accident victims should get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer before filing their bus accident claim. Instead of getting only a fraction of your financial losses from the driver, you may obtain a fair settlement from the government agency that hired them.

How to Successfully File a Claim against the Bus Company

Before filing a claim for damages with a public authority, a personal injury victim needs to send a notice of claim. This notice informs the entity that you intend to file a claim and must be submitted within 182 days from the date of the event. According to Colorado Revised Statutes 24-10-109, the notice should contain the following information:

A bus drives down a Denver road
  • the name and address of the claimant
  • the name and address of their personal injury attorney (if any)
  • the concise description of the accident, including date, place, time and the circumstances that led to the occurrence of the event
  • the name and address of the employee of the public entity (bus driver), if you know them
  • the amount you request as monetary compensation for your damages and losses.

Failure to comply with the deadline or the exact form of the notice of claim will void your ability of getting fair compensation for your bodily injuries and property damage. Given the fact that severe injuries such as spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury could keep you in hospital for months, it is of paramount importance to retain legal representation as soon as possible in order to maximize your chances of success in getting compensated.

What You Should Do After a Bus Accident

If you were a passenger in a bus involved in a crash, you need to start by ensuring that you and everyone else is safe. Call 9-1-1 if no one else does it, and start collecting evidence:

  • photographs and videos of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles, any skid marks and other significant elements
  • photographs of your injuries
  • bus driver's contact details
  • eyewitnesses' contact details.

Do not accept any apologies or promises of compensation. At a later date, this may hurt your ability to reach a fair settlement with the bus company or other relevant liable party.

Go to hospital and receive medical treatment for your injuries. Your safety is most important. Plus, your medical records will be used to demonstrate the extent of your injuries as a justification for the settlement amount you request.

Two busses head to there destination in Denver

Finally, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Firouzbakht Law Firm. We are an award-winning law firm that fights for all clients to win maximum compensation for their pain, suffering and financial losses. We are your allies in your fight for justice, so call us for a free case review: 303-529-1722!

Meta description: If you were injured in a Denver city bus accident, call a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible to start preparing your claim and filing it with the bus company..

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