Buses are a convenient and cost-effective mode of transportation for many people in Mississippi. From students to senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and individuals who do not have vehicles of their own, many people use buses as their primary mode of transportation.
While buses are relatively safer than cars, bus accidents do happen from time to time in Mississippi and when they do, the consequences tend to be catastrophic in nature.
If you have been injured in a bus crash, you might be entitled to monetary damages. The experienced Mississippi bus accident lawyers at Boyce Holleman can represent you, negotiate with the at-fault parties on your behalf, and recover full and fair compensation for your injuries and financial losses.
The Risk of Serious Injuries in Bus Accidents
One of the reasons why bus passengers are at risk of suffering serious injuries in the event of an accident is that they cannot restrain themselves using seatbelts. In the event of a collision with a stationary object or another vehicle, passengers can be forcefully thrown around inside the bus or ejected out of the bus, which can result in serious injuries.
Moreover, due to their top-heavy design, buses are more likely to roll over in the event of an accident compared to cars. A rollover accident – particularly when the passengers are not restrained – can result in catastrophic and life-threatening injuries.
Determining Liability in a Mississippi Bus Crash
If you were injured in an accident involving a private bus, you can hold the driver responsible for the accident – assuming it was caused by their inattention or recklessness.
Apart from this, there are a few circumstances where you might be able to hold the bus company liable as well. These include:
- If the bus company hired a driver with a documented history of alcohol and drug use or reckless driving.
- If the bus company hired a driver without sufficient driving experience.
- If the bus company hired a driver who is not physically fit enough to drive a bus.
- If the bus company overworked the driver to the point that the driver was too fatigued to operate the bus safely.
- If the bus company failed to inspect, repair, and maintain the bus in proper condition.
If the accident was caused by a defective part, you can sue the company that manufactured the bus or the part in question. On the other hand, if you were injured in an accident involving a government-owned and operated bus, things can get slightly complicated.
Government agencies and employees in Mississippi are protected by sovereign immunity and are generally protected against civil suits. Having said that, the Mississippi Tort Claim Act (MTCA) does have certain provisions under which a local or state government agency can be sued for damages by civilians.
Suing a government agency is a lot more complicated than suing a private individual or entity in Mississippi. First, you are required to submit what is called a ‘notice of claim’ with the agency in question within a period of one year – starting from the date on which the accident occurred. Once the agency responds to your claim, you need to file a lawsuit within 90 days, failing which you will lose your right to recover damages.
Mistakes You Should Avoid after a Bus Accident
Not Getting Medical Help Right Away
Getting medical help is the first thing you need to do after a bus crash. Failing to get timely medical help can worsen your injuries and affect your chances of making a full recovery. It can also make it easier for the at-fault party to question the severity of your injuries, as a result of which you might not be able to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Moreover, as the plaintiff in a personal injury claim, you have a duty to do everything you can to mitigate your damages. If you fail to get medical help in a timely manner, the at-fault party might accuse you of intentionally delaying treatment in order to worsen your injuries, just so you can recover more compensation.
Not Getting Legal Help Right Away
Apart from getting medical help, hiring an experienced Mississippi bus accident lawyer should be your topmost priority. Bus crash claims often tend to be more complicated than car accident claims and you need the guidance of a lawyer right at the outset. In the absence of legal counsel, you might unintentionally say or do something that can affect your claim.
Talking to the Insurance Company
Following a bus accident, you can expect the at-fault party’s insurance company to contact you and ask you for a recorded statement. You should not do it regardless of what they tell you.
The only reason why the insurance company asks for a recorded statement from you is to get you to say or admit something that can make it easier for them to reduce the value of your claim or deny liability altogether.
Remember – insurance adjusters are extremely good at protecting their employer’s interests (not yours) and they know how to get you to say something that can affect your claim. By choosing to discuss or negotiate directly with an adjuster, you are putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage. It is why you should always refuse to give a recorded statement and let your lawyer take care of it for you.
Injured in a Bus Accident? Legal Help Is Available from Our Reputable Mississippi Bus Crash Attorneys
At Boyce Holleman, we have been fighting for the rights of personal injury victims in Mississippi for more than 70 years. Over the years, we have handled several complex claims – including bus accident claims – and recovered millions in compensation for our clients.
Our attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of state laws and regulations governing the transportation industry and know how to aggressively negotiate with bus companies to get the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 228-863-3142 or get in touch with us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.