Philadelphia Bus Accident Lawyer
As members of a large city with robust public and private bus transportation options, Philadelphians may find themselves injured in a bus accident. If you have been injured in a bus accident, contact a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer to learn about how you might seek compensation from wrongdoers.
Buses are an everyday sight in Philadelphia, and for many people, they are the main mode of transportation. The Pennsylvania Transportation Department defines buses as “vehicle[s] designed to transport more than fifteen people.” The category spans school and cross-country buses, urban transit, and trackless trolleys.
If you have been injured in an accident involving any of these transit types, you should speak with a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer about how to seek compensation for your injuries.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA or Transportation Authority) provides Philadelphians and visitors with train, subway, trolley, and bus line services. About 1.3 million people use SEPTA daily to get around Philadelphia. The Transportation Authority operates over 120 bus routes, mostly within the city limits of Philadelphia.
The 4,950 transit and intercity bus drivers in Pennsylvania hold the safety of their passengers and others in their hands every time they start a bus. Of course, personal injury accidents also happen in school buses and privately operated or chartered buses. Careless bus drivers or problems with buses themselves can cause accidents that injure people.
Bus drivers in the commonwealth were involved in 474 crashes in 2020.
Types of Bus Accidents We Handle
Bus accidents can happen at any time in Philadelphia and cause people anywhere from minor to catastrophic injuries. If you were injured in a bus accident, it is in your best interest to contact a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer to evaluate your legal options for seeking compensation. Our Meirowitz and Wasserberg firm located in Philadelphia is experienced in successfully representing clients injured in a variety of bus accidents.
Public Bus Accidents
With large numbers of commercial buses on the roads, accidents resulting in injury and even death do happen. In 2020, there were 319 commercial bus crashes in Pennsylvania. Of these crashes, 207 involved injuries, and unfortunately, nine resulted in fatalities. In the U.S., transit buses were involved in 78 fatalities in 2019.
Here in Philadelphia, SEPTA bus crashes have caused people injuries and worse. For example, in a North Philadelphia SEPTA bus crash with another vehicle, police reported six people injured.
Sometimes pedestrians or cyclists are hit by buses. Sadly, in 2022, a SEPTA bus in South Philadelphia struck and killed a teen on a bike, though the driver tried to swerve around the 13-year-old boy.
School Bus Accidents
Parents entrust the safety of their children to the 42,718 licensed Pennsylvania school bus drivers that drive kids to and from school. The number of kids on school buses in our city is staggering. More than 1,500,500 children rode a Pennsylvania school bus in the 2019/2020 school year. Sixty-eight people were injured in the state’s 154 school bus crashes that occurred in 2020.
If your child was injured in a school bus accident, you might consider filing a lawsuit against the school district and/or the bus driver.
Private Bus Accidents
Greyhound operates private charters as well as commercial buses in Philadelphia, offering rides to cities across the U.S. People can get injured riding on a Greyhound bus, just like they can on any other private bus. When a Greyhound bus flipped on its side on the Turnpike in 2011, about two dozen people suffered injuries.
Many organizations such as businesses, churches, schools, or sports teams rent charter buses to transport their people to events. Accident-related injuries in this type of bus happen more than anyone would wish. The terrible crash of a chartered bus carrying youth members and adult chaperones from a Pennsylvania church sent 30 people to the hospital. Pennsylvania State Police reported the coach bus driver lost control for an unknown reason, hurtling the bus off the roadway into a wooded area.
Paratransit Bus Accidents
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that public transit agencies must provide “complementary paratransit” services to people who cannot use the fixed-route bus or rail services offered due to a disability. Older people who can’t manage public buses or are confined to a wheelchair also frequently use paratransit buses.
SEPTA provides a program called the Customized Community Transportation Program (CCT Connect), under which paratransit services are provided to senior citizens or individuals with disabilities. CCT Connect includes a ride-share program for seniors and door-to-door services for those with disabilities to get to their destinations in Philadelphia and some surrounding counties.
Taxi companies and other private paratransit companies also offer bus or van services in Philadelphia.
When paratransit bus drivers transport people in wheelchairs, they must help the riders into the bus and secure the wheelchairs. Unfortunately, carelessness can cause a wheelchair to:
- Fall off the lift
- Come loose on the bus
Any of these situations can cause personal injury to the person in the wheelchair. When the bus is in an accident and the wheelchair comes loose or tips over, the rider can suffer significant injuries.
What will a bus accident lawyer do for me?
When you contact a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer, they will meet with you to evaluate your legal options. Depending on the facts of your case and based on their knowledge of federal, state, and Philadelphia laws and regulations governing bus operations, the attorney will advise you on the viability of a lawsuit.
Meirowitz and Wasserberg offers initial consultations at no charge. Should you decide to move forward with a lawsuit, we would be honored to represent you.
Obtain All Pertinent Reports and Information
Pennsylvania law requires the driver of the bus or other vehicle involved in a crash to file a report with the police department within five days of the accident. If a Philadelphia police officer was called to the scene, they will file the accident report. The Pennsylvania State Police and the Philadelphia Police Department investigate and report motor vehicle crashes such as bus accidents.
A Philadelphia bus accident lawyer will obtain the accident report from the police department as well as any state police investigation information that contains key facts for your case. They will also investigate insurance coverages and limitations on the bus operator’s insurance policies.
Your lawyer will identify and interview any witnesses to the accident in which you suffered injuries. Collecting information and facts from witnesses will strengthen your case and aid negotiations for insurance payouts or settlements, as well as establish witnesses for depositions or trial testimony.
Philadelphia bus accident lawyers will also obtain and review the medical records that document your diagnoses, medical conditions, and injuries. These records are critical for many aspects of a case, including establishing that the careless bus driver or the bus company owes you a duty of care.
We also track your medical bills to calculate expenses and future medical costs along with current and future wage estimates to establish economic losses suffered as a result of the injuries.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
Our experienced bus accident lawyers are adept at negotiating with insurance companies, opposing council members, and managing third parties involved in the lawsuit. Victims who try to negotiate with these parties themselves frequently succumb to tactics and pressure that can hurt the total amount of compensation garnered. You will want a Meirowitz and Wasserberg lawyer in your corner to maximize negotiation outcomes.
File Court Documents and Manage the Legal Process
Our lawyers file legal documents with the court such as the complaint that initiates a lawsuit. All courts publish their own rules on deadlines and other filing requirements. You want a lawyer with knowledge of local and state courts so no missed deadlines can jeopardize your lawsuit’s success.
Our lawyers schedule the court-required conferences and depositions as well as manage question-and-answer requests between the parties.
Care for Clients
At our firm, we understand our clients have been through the trauma of a bus accident and are healing from the injuries. Reliving the details of an accident can be unsettling and trigger upsetting emotions. We are here to not only give you legal advice but to also support you through the trying times of your lawsuit.
Communication is a hallmark of our practice. Our Philadelphia bus accident lawyers answer all client questions throughout a case. No question is too small. We also help clients learn about the legal process and how to handle things like deposition questions or testifying on the witness stand.
How long do I have to file an injury claim after a bus accident?
There is a deadline for filing your bus accident injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania. The legal term is the “statute of limitations.” Missing this legal cutoff eliminates your opportunity to sue those responsible for your injuries. Under Pennsylvania law, the deadline for seeking damages in a personal injury lawsuit is two years for:
- Personal injuries or the death of an individual caused by a wrongful act, unlawful violence, or negligence of another
- Injury to a person or property which is founded on negligent, intentional, or otherwise tortious conduct
The date an injury was discovered or should have been recognized starts the two-year statute of limitation countdown. An experienced Philadelphia bus accident lawyer can help you determine the deadline for filing your bus accident injury lawsuit.
What compensation can I receive for my injuries?
When you are injured in a bus accident in Philadelphia, you can seek compensation for personal injuries and losses. Compensation may include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages due to inability to work
- Pain and suffering caused by the injury
- Rehabilitation toward self-sufficiency
- Continued care
- Regular monthly bills, such as a mortgage and utility bills
Who may be held liable in a bus accident?
Bus accidents can happen from a careless operator, a poorly maintained bus, or hazards on the road. Bus drivers and bus companies that don’t take reasonable care to protect people from injuries incurred on or by a bus may be liable due to negligence.
Bus Operator, Company
A primary defendant in bus accident cases is usually the owner or operator of the bus. Under Pennsylvania law, bus operators are liable for employees’ actions that happen while they are doing their job. In a lawsuit, even when a bus driver’s careless actions cause a crash, their employer can be found liable.
A bus operator’s culpability may be based on:
- Negligent driving and operation
- Negligent employee training
- Negligent employee supervision
- Negligent bus repair
- Negligent accident procedures
- Negligent bus cleaning and maintenance
However, if a bus driver did something outside the scope of their job and caused your injuries, they may be found liable for damages. An example of this would be if passengers got hurt from a loose bike the bus driver allowed on the bus in disregard of bus operator rules prohibiting bikes onboard.
Bus manufacturers are liable for any injuries caused by a defective bus they sold.
Bus Maintenance and Repair Contractor
If a bus company’s maintenance contractor fails to make needed bus repairs or upkeep, they can be liable in a bus accident lawsuit. The contractor may also be accountable for any faulty or negligent repairs they made that contributed to the accident.
Sometimes other drivers on the road cause a bus accident and become liable for your injuries. For instance, you may have a claim against a driver who makes an improper lane change or runs a red light and causes the bus you are riding in to swerve or strike something that leads to your injuries.
How much is my bus accident injury case worth?
Philadelphians often want to know how much they may be awarded in a bus accident injury lawsuit. At the start of a case, it is hard to accurately estimate a potential award.
As your Philadelphia bus accident lawyer reviews your case records and becomes familiar with the facts, they will get a sense of your compensation potential. For example, part of your compensation will be based on how much you spent on medical bills, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and other medical expenses. These hard costs can be tallied fairly easily. Things like lost wages due to an inability to work during recovery and any future earnings losses from a long-term disability created by your accident will also be calculated based on pay stubs and projected earnings potential.
Less tangible awards for emotional pain and suffering depend on the circumstances of the case and what you (or your family members in a wrongful death action) endured after the bus accident. Insurance coverage caps can play a role in how much you secure.
It is also important to know that in Pennsylvania, if you are found to have contributed to the bus accident in some way, your award will be reduced by the percent you are at fault, so long as your responsibility is less than 50 percent.
When should I contact a personal injury lawyer?
Don’t hesitate to consult a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer right after your accident. Evidence can be removed from the scene or expire. Witnesses may not remember exactly what happened a few months after the accident. Your injuries and medical condition may change or be insufficiently documented if you wait too long to contact a lawyer. As mentioned, you also don’t want to bump up against the two-year window to file a suit under the statute of limitations.
What is the cost of hiring a lawyer?
Our bus accident lawyers get paid a percentage of what you are paid in the lawsuit award. If we don’t prevail in your case, we get nothing. We also cover the expenses incurred during the lawsuit such as expert witness, photocopying, investigative research, and other costs.
In Pennsylvania, there is no statutory cap on lawyers’ contingency fees. Personal injury lawyer fees average between 33 to 45 percent, with most being 33 percent. For example, if you are paid a $3 million award, your lawyer would get $990,000, or 33 percent.
Why should I choose Meirowitz and Wasserberg for my bus accident case?
Meirowitz and Wasserberg was founded on a commitment to help people injured by the wrongdoings of others. We represent people, not corporations. We have the resources, abilities, and know-how to stand up for you against large private bus operators that put profit over public safety. Our vast experience in going against public bus operators ensures you get the best representation possible if you are injured in a SEPTA bus accident in Philly.
The lawyers at our firm will treat you with compassion and care. You will feel like a member of our family as we aggressively fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Philadelphia bus accident, contact our experienced and highly skilled Philadelphia bus accident lawyers today. We will schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your case and advise you on possible legal options.
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