Bus accidents can result in serious and catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord damage, brain trauma, organ damage, amputation, disfigurement, scarring, broken bones, and compound fractures. If you are hurt in a collision due to another person's negligence, a Chicago bus accident lawyer may be able to help you recover damages from that person or another entity for your injuries and other losses arising from the accident. At Moll Law Group, our transportation accident lawyers represent injured individuals in Chicago and beyond. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we have been involved.Pursuing Damages after a Bus Accident
To prove negligence, you will have to show the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and damages. Buses are common carriers, which means they owe a high duty of care to their passengers. While operating a bus, the driver is required to use reasonable care for the safety of passengers and others in the area. For example, a bus driver who takes children to school must follow all of the road rules pertaining to driving a school bus. Failing to follow a safety statute can result in a claim of negligence per se, which means negligence as a matter of law.
In some cases, other drivers in a collision are partially to blame for their injuries after a bus accident. Illinois follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This means that any damages awarded to the plaintiff are reduced by an amount equal to his or her percentage of fault for the injuries. However, the plaintiff can recover damages only if he or she is less than 51 percent at fault. A bus accident lawyer at our Chicago firm can help you try to minimize any degree to which you were at fault.
Suppose, for example, that the plaintiff was texting when a bus driver ran a stop sign. The plaintiff failed to hit the brakes, and the bus T-boned his car. The jury might find that the plaintiff was 20 percent responsible and the bus driver was 80 percent responsible for the plaintiff's harm. If the damages were $500,000, the plaintiff would recover $400,000 from the defendant.
In some cases, a transportation accident is the result of negligence by a governmental entity. Most Illinois public entities, as well as their employees, have a certain amount of immunity from suit, and complex procedures govern these suits. In some cases, a plaintiff suing a government entity must provide notice of intent to sue or follow administrative procedures within an extremely short window of time. It is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible after an accident so that important deadlines are not missed which would prevent a recovery.
In some cases, multiple parties are at fault for a bus accident. For example, a school district may be directly liable for a collision if it negligently hired a bus driver to drive children after having been previously involved in multiple accidents. The school district also may be vicariously liable (indirectly liable) for the crash, even if there were no red flags about the driver's background, if the accident occurs in the course and scope of employment.
Each state has its own rules about how damages will be apportioned. In Illinois, defendants are jointly and severally liable for damages, except when a defendant has less than a quarter of the plaintiff's own liability. "Joint and several liability" means that parties may be held responsible for the full sum of damages even if they are not solely responsible for the accident. A defendant with less than one-quarter of the plaintiff's own liability stays jointly and severally liable for medical and related expenses but is only severally liable for the rest of the damages. This means that the defendant will only be responsible for a percentage of noneconomic damages equal to his or her percentage of fault for the accident.Enlist a Bus Accident Attorney in Chicago to Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
After a bus accident, you may be concerned about how you can pay your medical bills and take time off work. If your child was hurt in a school bus, you may have similar concerns about the long-term impact of his or her harm. The injury attorneys at Moll Law Group guides people in the Chicago area through the process of pursuing damages. We also represent individuals in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to set up a free consultation with a Chicago bus accident attorney.