Bus accident injury cases can be among the most complex to handle. Even identifying the liable party can be difficult, and special rules can apply because the operator is often a government agency. 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 expenses and 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. Call us today at 803-999-2993 to discuss your case with a bus accident lawyer in Columbia, SC.
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, but we can help you understand the type of damages you may recover before we look into your case.
Some of the most common types of damages we recover for bus accident victims include:
This may include any treatment-related costs, from ambulance transportation to any necessary therapies and prescription pain management. Some of the most common medical expenses include:
- Hospitalization, surgery, and treatment costs
- Inpatient rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
- Prescription drug costs
- Ongoing and future care costs
- Medical equipment
- Mobility and accessibility aids
Other Accident-Related Costs
Almost any accident-related cost can qualify as damages for reimbursement purposes. For this reason, it pays to keep your receipts from every expense – from repairing your car to parking at the doctor’s office. Some of the most common expenses and losses 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 noneconomic losses. These include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Other losses related to your trauma
Understanding Liability in a Columbia, SC Bus Accident
Identifying the liable party is difficult in many Columbia 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 may have caused. However, special rules may apply if that employer is a government agency. In general, liability depends on who operated the bus or other vehicle in question.
Accidents Involving the Comet and DART Services
The Comet and Dial-A-Ride Transit (DART) service for those with disabilities provide public transit services throughout Columbia and the Midlands. Operated by Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, this agency may be liable if:
- You were riding a Comet or DART bus when the accident occurred;
- A Comet or DART bus hit your vehicle; or
- 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 it of your injuries and intent to file a claim. We have a short time to file an administrative claim to comply with government rules in cases like this.
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 and we should spend time navigating the administrative process before taking any further action.
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 based on the employer’s liability insurance policy or litigate your case if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement.
South Carolina law gives us three years to pursue this type of lawsuit, if we cannot settle out of court with the insurance company.
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, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act (SCTA) allows us to 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 to recover the money you need.
This administrative process requires us to investigate your case and identify:
- The negligent party
- Its negligent act
- How this caused your accident and injuries
This is also an essential step in holding a private party liable for your expenses and losses. Only after this step can we build a strong case that will allow us to fight for the full value of your case. We can help you navigate this process and will litigate your case if that is what it takes to recover the compensation you deserve¹.
Reach Out to a Bus Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC About Your Case
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 trying to get the compensation you need.