Bus accident cases can be complex. Identifying the liable party can be difficult, and special rules apply when a government agency is involved. Still, if a bus driver caused your accident and injuries, you may be eligible to hold them or their employer liable and collect compensation to cover your accident-related losses.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers offers free case evaluations to bus accident victims in Columbia. We can help you understand your rights, explain the laws that may apply to your case, and file your claim on your behalf. Work with our Columbia bus accident lawyers so you can focus on your health and recovery.
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Damages Available in a Columbia, SC, Bus Accident Case
If we can get you a settlement or verdict in your Columbia bus accident case, it may include a wide variety of damages. The value of your claim depends on the severity of your injuries and how they will affect you over time. We can help you understand the type of damages you may recover when we look into your case.
Some types of damages for bus accident victims may include:
An award may address any treatment-related costs, from ambulance transportation to any necessary therapies and prescription pain management. Other compensable medical expenses include:
- Hospitalization, surgery, and treatment costs
- Inpatient rehabilitation
- Physical, cognitive, and psychological therapy
- Prescription drug costs
- Ongoing and future care costs
- Medical equipment
- Home modifications
- Transportation to and from your doctor
Other Accident-Related Costs
Almost any accident-related cost can qualify as damages. For this reason, it pays to keep your receipts from every expense, including repairs for your car. Other losses that may warrant compensation include:
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity if your injuries keep you from returning to work
- Lost retirement and benefits if you cannot return to work
- Repair or replacement of personal property damaged in the crash
- Other out-of-pocket costs
In addition to recovering compensation for your financial expenses, we will also fight for money to cover your non-economic losses. These include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Scarring and disfigurement
We can use different strategies to calculate your non-economic losses.
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Understanding Liability in a Columbia Bus Accident
Identifying the liable party is difficult in bus accidents because of the way several laws work together. For example, vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that allows us to hold the employer of a negligent bus driver liable for an accident the driver causes. However, special rules may apply if that employer is a government agency. In general, liability depends on who operated the bus and the entity that owns it.
Accidents Involving the Comet and DART Services
The Comet and Dial-A-Ride Transit (DART) service for those with disabilities provides public transit services throughout Columbia and the Midlands. The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority may be liable if:
- You were riding a Comet or DART bus when the accident occurred.
- A Comet or DART bus hit your vehicle.
- A Comet or DART bus hit you while you crossed the road.
Because Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority is a government agency, we need to act quickly to investigate the accident and notify the agency of your intent to file a claim. We have a short time to file an administrative claim that complies with government rules.
Columbia School Bus Accidents
In general, Columbia school bus accidents caused by a county bus driver are also the responsibility of a government agency, whether this is the Richland County School District or another local school district. We still have a limited time to notify the district of our claim.
If the bus belongs to a private school, the process is different and may follow the same rules as a privately-owned bus.
Columbia Accidents Involving a Privately-Owned Bus
When the driver of a privately-owned bus causes a crash, we can often hold the employer liable. This is usually a bus company, tour company, or other large corporation. We can file an insurance claim with the employer’s liability insurance provider or litigate your case if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement.
Another option we have is filing a personal injury lawsuit. According to S.C. Ann § 15-3-530, South Carolina generally gives us three years to pursue this legal route.
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Navigating the Bus Accident Claims Process in Columbia, SC
While common law often limits the ability to hold a government agency liable for its negligence, you may have some options. The South Carolina Tort Claims Act (SCTA) mandates that we follow a specific process to attempt to collect compensation for your bus accident-related damages. We can help you follow this strict protocol, ensuring you meet all administrative criteria.
This administrative process requires us to investigate your case and identify:
- The negligent party
- Its negligent act
- How this caused your accident and injuries
Only after establishing these criteria can we build a case that will allow us to fight for the fair value of your case. We can help you navigate this process and litigate your case to recover the compensation you deserve.
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How You Can Protect Your Rights to Compensation
Aside from working with our Columbia bus accident attorneys, there are a few steps you can take to protect your rights to compensation.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
If your injuries did not require immediate attention, such as ambulatory and emergency room care, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you believe your injuries to be minor, your claim or lawsuit depends on medical documentation.
For example, if you delay seeing a doctor and your injuries worsen and cause permanent impairment, an insurer may claim you contributed to your condition. They may try to undervalue or deny your claim using this argument.
Some injuries do not manifest symptoms right away, either. It is better to play it safe and get checked out so that you protect your health and your rights to compensation. You do not want to suffer further losses in the future.
Avoid Making Any Statement About Fault
When speaking to insurance companies, avoid making any statements about who bears the fault for the accident. You do not want an insurer to take anything you say out of context, as this can diminish your claim. When you retain our services, we can deal with the liable party and their insurer and representative for you.
Avoid Posting on Social Media
After your bus accident in Columbia, you may be tempted to document your experience on social media. Avoid doing this since it can give the other party fodder to undervalue or deny your claim. Do not post pictures or detail the events that led to the accident, even if your profile is private.
Connect with a Bus Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC
The bus accident team from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers offers complimentary, no-obligation consultations for Columbia accident victims. We can help you understand your rights and explain the process for seeking the compensation you deserve.
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