In a crowded urban setting like Miami, accidents involving public buses may seriously injure dozens of people. If you are injured in a Miami-area bus accident, arrange at once to discuss your legal rights, including your right to compensation, with a Miami bus accident attorney.
It has happened in Miami before. In 2015, for example, a bus crashed into a strip mall on Northwest 36th Street, injuring 22 people. More recently, in January 2022, a 72-year-old woman was killed by a bus while trying to cross the street in downtown Miami.
What are your rights if you are injured in a bus accident in South Florida? What steps will you need to take? When should you contact a Miami bus accident lawyer? If you will keep reading this brief discussion of South Florida bus accidents, these questions will be answered below.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured in a Bus Accident?
After a public bus accident happens, the legal side of the case can quickly get confusing because so many parties are involved – a bus driver, injured victims, other motorists, and the agency responsible for the bus.
If you are not treated at the scene or taken to a hospital, have a medical examination after a bus accident, even if you do not “feel” injured. Without an immediate examination – within 24 hours if possible – a latent or difficult-to-detect injury could develop into a serious medical condition.
If you’ve been injured, your next step is arranging to meet with a Miami bus accident attorney. Your first consultation is offered with no cost or obligation. You will receive personalized legal advice and learn about your legal options, which may include a personal injury lawsuit.
If you proceed with a lawsuit, you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.
How Will Your Attorney Handle Your Bus Accident Claim?
If you are injured in a South Florida bus accident, your attorney will investigate the accident, examine the police and eyewitness reports, determine the cause of the accident, and fight for the justice – and for the compensation – that an injured victim of negligence is entitled to by law.
Injured victims of negligence in the State of Florida are entitled by law to recover monetary compensation for their current and projected future medical expenses, lost wages and projected lost wages, pain and suffering, and related losses and damages.
Determining liability for a bus accident may be difficult because so many parties are involved and no two bus accident cases are the same. A Miami bus accident lawyer will work to determine which party or parties have liability for the bus accident – and for the injuries you sustained.
What Injuries Are Frequently Sustained in Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents frequently cause catastrophic injuries that may include but are not limited to amputations, burns, blindness, brain injuries, nerve damage, spinal cord damage, and fractures. Usually, when an injury damages the head, brain, or spinal cord, it is considered catastrophic.
Catastrophic injury victims lose the ability to work while they simultaneously incur considerable long-term medical expenses. If you will need years of medical treatment – or lifelong care – after a bus accident, you may need to recover the maximum compensation amount that is available.
Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company for a fair and just settlement amount. If a reasonable settlement offer is not forthcoming in negotiations, or if your claim is entirely rejected, your attorney will take your case to trial, explain to a jury how you were injured and the extent of your injuries, and ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.
How Should You Deal With an Insurance Company After a Bus Accident?
Reach out to a South Florida personal injury attorney as soon as you have been examined by a health care professional. You will probably be contacted by an insurance company within just days of being injured. How should you deal with an insurance company after a bus accident?
The answer is simple: Don’t. Refer all inquiries from an insurance company to your attorney after a bus accident. It is your attorney’s job to answer the insurance company’s questions and to negotiate with the company on your behalf for a fair and reasonable settlement amount.
If you deal directly with an insurance company after a bus accident, anything you say could be used against you to reduce or deny your compensation, the company’s first settlement offer may be a “low-ball” offer that is far below what your claim is worth, and you could waive the right to take further legal action or receive additional compensation.
What Else Should You Know About Bus Accidents and Injuries?
If you are injured in a bus accident that involves a city- or county-owned bus in South Florida, there are additional requirements for bringing a personal injury claim against a government agency.
You will need to submit to the appropriate government agency a notice of your intent to file a personal injury claim. Your notice gives the government agency time to investigate the accident and an opportunity to settle your claim without going to court.
Have a South Florida bus accident lawyer help you file that notice and advise you from the start – especially regarding the deadlines and the additional requirements – if you sue a government agency.
By law, when the City of Miami is found liable for a bus accident, liability for one person is limited to $200,000, even if your damages far exceed that amount.
When Should You Contact a Bus Accident Attorney?
While the statute of limitations for most Florida personal injury cases is four years, if you are suing a government agency after a bus accident, the deadlines are different. You have three years to submit a notice to the appropriate government agency of your intent to file a lawsuit.
After receiving your notice, the agency will have 180 days to investigate the accident and make a settlement offer. If you do not accept the settlement offer, you may proceed with a lawsuit after the 180-day period.
But do not wait three or four years to speak with a South Florida bus accident attorney. Your attorney needs to examine the evidence while it’s still fresh, and your attorney also needs to question any witnesses before their memories fade.
If you are disabled – temporarily or permanently – and you cannot work after a bus accident injury, begin the legal process at once. As soon as you have been examined by a health care professional after a bus accident injury, make the call to a Miami personal injury attorney.