Bus Accident Lawyers in Las Vegas Helping You Get Justice
If you were injured while riding a bus in Nevada or due to a driver’s negligence, contact experienced Las Vegas bus accident lawyer Craig Murphy for a free one-on-one consultation. He has helped countless victims recover compensation for their RTC transit bus injuries.
Now that gas prices nationwide are slowly creeping higher, many residents of Las Vegas and its suburbs in Clark County are switching to buses in order to sidestep the additional costs of private transit. Southern Nevada’s line of RTC buses makes up the majority of public transit in the Las Vegas metro area, and almost 180,000 commuters across the region ride at least one RTC transit bus each day. School and tour buses are also everyday sights on the roads of Las Vegas, allowing students and vacationers alike to travel throughout the city.
Despite the fact that an increase in public transit use means fewer vehicles are on the road, buses can still become involved in accidents. In the year 2010, there were 435 accidents in the state of Nevada that involved buses, and though there was only one bus accident-related fatality, over 100 of these collisions resulted in injuries to passengers, drivers, and/or pedestrians.
You should consider contacting an experienced bus accident lawyer in Las Vegas, NV, if you have been involved in a collision. The sooner you seek attorney representation, the sooner you will be able to receive the compensation you deserve. Whether you were a passenger on a bus involved in an accident, a pedestrian or cyclist on the road, or the driver of a private vehicle that collided with a bus, dedicated Las Vegas bus accident lawyer Craig Murphy would be glad to provide you with the guidance and support you need to pursue legal action.
What Are the Most Frequent Causes of Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents occur when a public transit bus, school bus, or similar commercial vehicle crashes into a pedestrian, an animal, a non-moving object, or another motor vehicle. The causes of these incidents are diverse, and any combination of factors can result in a bus accident. The most common basis is human error; bus drivers, passengers, passersby, or other nearby drivers may make unsafe choices that spur a collision.
A pedestrian may suddenly wander onto the road, leading the bus driver either to strike the pedestrian by accident or to swerve out of the way and collide with a nearby car or object. The bus driver or the driver of a car close by may engage in reckless driving, triggering a crash when one of the vehicles stops short or abruptly changes lanes. Buses tend to make wide turns, and a car that fails to yield to a turning bus can easily cause a crash. Though a rare occurrence, a bus driver may be too tired to focus or too intoxicated to effectively operate the bus, and even a split second’s worth of distraction may have major consequences.
Many bus accidents, however, have little to do with the actions of the bus driver or other parties. Though inclement weather is uncommon in Las Vegas and its suburbs, a sudden thunderstorm during the summer months can make roads slippery and reduce visibility. A bus may collide with another vehicle if it has been improperly maintained; the brakes may fail, the driver could lose steering, or a tire may blow out and send the bus careening into another vehicle, or vice versa.
Because “bus accident” is an umbrella term, it can refer to motor vehicle collisions as well as injuries brought on by faulty equipment inside the bus itself. A wheelchair lift can unexpectedly stall, stranding a passenger with a disability outside the bus in the hot Las Vegas sun. A bus seat can become dislodged, forcing a passenger to fly forward. A handle may come loose or break, instantly leaving standing commuters with nothing to hold onto as they stumble around. These are but a few examples of the many potential problems that can lead to injuries in an onboard bus accident.
Could I Potentially Be at Fault in a Bus Accident?
It is rare for a pedestrian or passenger to be responsible for a bus accident. The fault, instead is typically that of the bus driver, a third-party driver, the bus company, the bus manufacturer, the company that maintains and repairs the bus, or even the school district or city government. An unruly passenger or careless pedestrian may distract the bus driver long enough to cause an accident, but the majority of cases are based on the failure of bus operators or owners to follow safety precautions.
The state of Nevada, as well as the entire United States, uses a term called “duty of care” in personal injury lawsuits. Where motor vehicle collisions are concerned, a duty of care entails that drivers, auto manufacturers, and maintenance personnel must follow all protocols to ensure that vehicles on the road are both safe to use and carefully operated. Dereliction of this duty — by the bus company or any other party owing a duty of care — can constitute negligence. This is a common element of all types of personal injury lawsuits.
As in car accident cases, it is imperative that you work to collect as much evidence as you can once the bus accident has occurred. Take photos, collect the contact information of witnesses, and record notes about the details of the accident. Unlike in car accident cases, though, the company that manages the bus will soon step in, conduct an investigation of its own, and try to argue that it is barely or not at all liable for the bus accident.
Though the statute of limitations to file personal injury cases in the Las Vegas area is two years, the longer that you wait to file, the easier it will be for the bus company’s representative to selectively collect information that can absolve them of responsibility.
What if Insurance Offers to Cover Medical Bills for my Injury?
If you’ve suffered injuries due to a bus accident, there’s a good chance that an insurance company will reach out to you. They may apologize for what you’re going through and even offer to cover your medical bills. Victims of bus accidents are often ecstatic to receive this call. After all, someone is finally offering to help them deal with the many difficulties that arise after such a traumatic incident.
Unfortunately, the insurance company is rarely doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They typically work for the organization that will bear the brunt of liability if you file a legal claim. In fact, they’ll likely go through this process with multiple parties since bus accidents frequently result in numerous injured parties. Their goal is to have you accept an offer — or say something that removes their liability — before you ever contact a law firm.
If you fall into that trap, you might miss out on the following damages:
Special Compensatory Damages
Following a bus accident, the most common monetary court awards are special compensatory damages. These are awards that reimburse those who suffered injuries for their financial loss. Such damages will take into account the cost of current and future medical care, loss of current and future earnings, household expenses, and any financial loss related to unexpected and necessary changes following the accident (e.g., canceled vacations).
General Compensatory Damages
Unlike punitive damages, general compensatory damages are not linked to financial loss. Still, most accident victims receive some general damages when they win in court. That’s because this type of compensation covers things that most people experience following an accident — such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and mental anguish. An experienced bus accident lawyer in Las Vegas can help you maximize these damages to get every penny you deserve.
Wrongful Death Damages
If you lost a loved one due to a bus accident, you’d face far more costs than just medical care and loss of companionship. Courts often award compensation for things like loss of financial support, familial emotional distress, loss of companionship, and funeral/burial costs. Wrongful death claims typically result in higher settlements and court awards, but you need to make sure there’s an established and experienced law firm on your side.
Punitive damages go beyond traditional financial and emotional losses. If you or a loved one is involved in a bus accident, you may not receive any punitive damages. That’s because they’re typically only granted when the liable party is grossly negligent or when malicious actions occur.
For instance, bus drivers may be considered negligent if they look away from the road and crash. If a driver is heavily inebriated during an accident, however, their actions may lead to punitive damages meant to punish the liable party.
Do Accident Victims Need a Lawyer to Sue Bus Companies?
Bus accident victims often have a long road ahead of them. In some cases, this could be because they suffered serious injuries. Even if the injuries sustained weren’t major, though, getting compensation from a bus company or insurance company can prove difficult. This is particularly the case for those who attempt to deal with adjusters or file a personal injury claim on their own.
The simple fact is that bus crash victims with legal representation receive higher settlement offers and court awards — on average — than those without an attorney. This may not seem fair — it honestly isn’t — but that’s the way it often plays out. When this happens, it’s because insurance companies and bus companies have more experience in dealing with these types of cases.
For instance, if you’re speaking with an insurance adjuster, they may pretend to be your friend by offering to cover your medical bills. In reality, they’re trying to avoid paying the full compensation you deserve. They’re trained to ask questions in a way that encourages admissions of negligence by pedestrians, bus occupants, and other victims of negligent bus drivers.
The same difficulties are faced in court. Any insurance company is well-versed in the legal world. They often make the process so strenuous that accident victims — even those with serious injuries — end up taking an unfair settlement offer. This is why you need an attorney experienced in bus accident cases. Insurance companies find it much harder to take advantage of someone with legal representation.
How Should Victims Choose a Lawyer to Protect Their Legal Rights?
In order to secure full compensation — which can include punitive damages on top of compensatory damages — it’s best to have legal representation. With so many bus accident lawyers in Las Vegas, NV, though, how can someone choose the right attorney for their case? The success of personal injury claims involving bus accidents often relies on the dedication, experience, and knowledge of the victim’s legal representation.
So, what should you look for in a lawyer to take on the insurance company? Here are a few things to consider:
Does The Attorney Have Experience?
Any individual practicing law hopes they can help clients who have suffered injuries. Unfortunately, not all attorneys have the same level of experience. In fact, the American Bar Association once found that 24% of those who passed the bar were no longer practicing 12 years later. This means many attorneys never gain any substantial time in practice. You need a California & Nevada personal injury attorney with years of experience on your side.
Just how much experience is “enough”? That’s a difficult answer to estimate. It’s quite possible that a law student could pass the bar, take on a bus accident case the very next day, and secure a massive payout from the insurance company in less than a week. The reality, however, is that this is unlikely. When it comes to holding liable parties accountable, choosing an attorney with more experience is typically the best way to go.
Craig Murphy has been licensed to practice law in Nevada since 1990. Remember the hypothetical hotshot attorney we discussed who took on a case the day after passing the bar? This somewhat mirrors Craig’s journey since he was in court the day after being sworn in to practice law in Nevada. You need a law firm with experience — and you’ll find it at Murphy & Murphy Law Offices.
Has The Lawyer Dealt With Bus Accidents In The Past?
Getting a settlement after two cars collide isn’t an easy process, but it’s often far less complex than taking on government agencies or a transportation company. These organizations know that paying out fair compensation can put a major dent in their profits. This is especially the case since a single bus accident can injure other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and occupants on the bus.
Whereas a traditional auto accident may result in settlements being paid to just one individual, a bus driver-caused collision can leave multiple parties with lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and more. All these facts mean that you need an attorney with experience dealing with bus accidents. Even a law firm that consistently succeeds with personal injury claims might not be right if they don’t frequently represent bus accident victims.
Is The Attorney A Trial Lawyer?
Did you know that 95% of personal injury cases end before ever seeing a courtroom? Unfortunately, this often occurs because an insurance company convinced someone who suffered injuries to accept an unfair settlement offer. However, insurers also often settle because they don’t want to risk paying even more by taking on a law firm in court.
Unfortunately, that results in many bus accident lawyers in Las Vegas, NV, and around the country not being true “trial attorneys.” This means they have little experience arguing cases before a judge or jury. Statistics indicate that your case may never make it to court thanks to a settlement offer, but if it does come to that, you need a trial lawyer on your side to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Does The Law Firm Offer A Free Consultation?
Many bus accident victims accept early offers from an insurance company because they think that’s all they’re entitled to. Unfortunately, they’re often wrong. This mistake typically gets made because they speak with an insurance adjuster before an attorney. That’s no surprise since a significant number of people think they can’t afford legal representation. In reality, you should be able to get a free consultation prior to moving forward.
You shouldn’t have to pay a bus accident lawyer in Las Vegas, NV, just to find out if you have a case. This is essentially putting an income limit on your legal rights. Additionally, the attorney should work on a contingency fee basis. This means they don’t get paid unless you receive compensation. No one’s rights should be contingent on whether they have money in the bank, so find legal representation that doesn’t charge just to sit down for an initial discussion.
What Do Former Clients Say About The Personal Injury Attorney?
Having an experienced bus accident lawyer in Las Vegas can go a long way. Unfortunately, experience doesn’t necessarily equal results. Only when you know about the experience of former and current clients can you truly understand how an attorney will fare against an insurance company, the Regional Transportation Commission, tour organizations, and other liable parties.
Fortunately, you can easily find this information online. Most bus accident lawyers will list the law firm’s successes on their websites, but you can also garner valuable insight from online reviews. Whether you’re considering Murphy & Murphy Law Offices or some other attorney who handles bus accidents in Las Vegas, a simple Google search will return reviews that can go a long way in making your decision.
How Much Compensation Comes From Bus Accidents?
Victims of bus accidents often accept settlements from insurance companies because they’re unaware of how much their injury is worth. They may think having their medical bills paid is enough — even though they’ve suffered severe emotional distress and may face related expenses in the future. When an accident victim reaches out to a law firm, however, it’s often because they’re wondering how much compensation they deserve.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give an accurate estimate without fully reviewing your case. That’s because many factors can affect your eventual settlement or court award. For instance, a company that doesn’t train its bus drivers to certain standards could be considered grossly negligent, and this could result in high punitive damages. Additionally, it could be common for an injury you suffer to cause problems in the future — and this should be considered in any settlement or award.
Bus companies have had to pay millions in individual cases — sometimes when only one victim suffered injuries. To get a full understanding of what you may be entitled to, however, you need to speak with a reputable law firm. Murphy & Murphy Law Offices wants to ensure you have all the information you need to be fully compensated. That’s why we offer free face-to-face consultations so you can understand your rights.
What Should Victims Do After a Bus Accident?
We discussed in an earlier section that getting photographs, witness information, and taking other steps at the accident scene can have a huge effect on your case. What are you supposed to do after this, though, and what can you expect going forward? More importantly, what if you or a family member suffered an injury so severe (e.g., disfigurement, spinal injuries) that immediate hospitalization was required and you couldn’t collect any information on the scene?
Regardless of what happens at the accident scene, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. It’s an unfortunate truth, but many types of injuries don’t show up until long after the fact. For instance, you might not even realize you have a concussion. You may seem absolutely fine, but such an injury can actually cause depression symptoms years after the fact. If you don’t seek medical attention immediately, you could face hospital expenses years later that you don’t even realize are related to the bus accident.
After your initial hospital visit, you should reach out to an attorney. They’ll discuss what you need to do moving forward — including telling you that it’s imperative that you keep all future appointments. If your doctor schedules tests or follow-ups, you need to show up to them. Failure to do so could hurt your potential for a fair settlement or court award. For instance, the Regional Transportation Commission could claim that your injuries came from a failure to follow your doctor’s orders.
If you hire a bus accident lawyer in Las Vegas, they’ll likely also advise you to start a daily “pain journal” to document how your injuries are affecting your daily activities. It’s also important that you don’t make statements to the insurance company unless your lawyer advises you to do so. Finally, minimize your social media activities. Insurance adjusters may be monitoring you to see if you’re engaged in activities that could minimize your payout.
Contact An Experienced Bus Accident Lawyer in Las Vegas, NV
If you have been injured in a bus accident in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas metro area, or elsewhere in Nevada, time is of the essence to seek compensation for your injuries. Bus companies have a duty to ensure safe passage for the schoolchildren, commuters, and tourists that rely on buses for transportation, and when these companies fail, it’s important to hold them accountable for their negligence.
Whether you are a local resident or a vacationer, Craig Murphy is a bus accident lawyer in Las Vegas, NV, that would be glad to help you with your case. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in such an accident, a personal injury lawsuit may be able to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at Murphy & Murphy Law Offices by calling (702)369-9696 for a no-risk, free consultation.