Hammond is the most populous city in Lake County. Each day, many of its nearly 80,000 residents rely on public, charter, and school buses to get where they need to go, whether in town or in Chicago, with which Hammond shares a border. While buses can be an effective means of transportation, they are not without risk. There are about 63,000 bus accidents across the United States each year, resulting in thousands of serious, sometimes fatal injuries.
When bus accidents occur, victims may struggle to obtain compensation, especially when large companies or government entities are involved. But if you find yourself frustrated in your quest to get a fair deal, Hensley Legal Group will be here for you. For over 25 years, we have been standing up for the everyday people of Indiana, fighting powerful insurance carriers and corporate giants to make sure that justice is available to everyone, no matter how much they have or who they know.
If you have been hurt in a bus accident in the Hammond area, schedule a free case review with Hensley’s dedicated Hammond bus accident lawyers by calling (317) 472-3333, chatting with us online, or completing the form below.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
There are a number of factors that can contribute to bus accidents, including:
- Speeding – Exceeding a safe speed limit is the leading behavioral factor in traffic accidents, accounting for more than 15,000 collisions on Indiana roads each year. Speeding reduces the amount of time drivers have to react to dangerous situations, increases stopping distance, and limits the effectiveness of road safety features.
- Distracted driving – Distraction is the next most common cause of collisions. Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road can be hazardous, especially cellphone use, which is involved in at least 12 percent of all Indiana distracted driving accidents.
- Distraction caused by passengers – The average driver may have to deal with a handful of passengers at most, but a professional bus operator has to interact with dozens at a time, some of whose behavior can be disruptive enough to result in a crash.
- Intoxicated driving – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is highly illegal and incredibly reckless, yet this misconduct continues to happen at alarming rates. There were 124 people killed in alcohol-related collisions in Indiana in 2020 alone, representing 14 percent of all fatal auto accidents in the state. Another study found that 56 percent of drivers involved in accidents resulting in injury or death that same year tested positive for at least one illicit drug.
- Bus driver fatigue – Most drivers spend less than an hour on the road each day, but bus operators regularly drive eight hours or more per shift. So much time behind the wheel can leave a bus driver drowsy, reducing attentiveness and making mistakes more likely.
- Insufficient training – Driving a large bus is difficult, so bus drivers require extensive training to obtain certification. If this training proves inadequate, the companies or agencies employing the drivers may be financially liable when a bus accident occurs.
- Confusion over bus operations – Buses interact with traffic in highly specialized ways. Other drivers unfamiliar with standard bus operations may sometimes cause accidents, such as a collision with a bus halting at a designated stop.
- Improper bus maintenance – While all vehicles should be kept in roadworthy condition, the average transit bus is driven over 43,000 miles per year, nearly four times the annual mileage of the typical car, light truck, or van. That much wear and tear could make bus malfunctions inevitable without proper maintenance on a regular basis.
Regardless of the cause, our Hammond bus accident attorneys are ready to advise you of the best course of action to take.
Who Is Responsible for a Bus Accident?
Every bus accident is different. Depending on the circumstances, the responsible party may include…
- The bus’s driver
- The driver of another vehicle
- The manufacturer, owner, or servicer of a bus or vehicle if equipment malfunction is involved
…or some other party altogether.
If you have been the victim of a Hammond bus accident, it is crucial to identify and pursue everyone at fault within the time permitted by law, known as the Statute of Limitations. The Statute is typically two years for bus accidents in Indiana, with some exceptions, though it can be far shorter in cases involving government entities, such as Hammond City Bus, Pace, and the Gary Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC), all of which regularly provide bus service in the Hammond area. Failure to file suit or resolve a claim before the Statute expires could prevent you from ever obtaining the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself after a bus accident, including:
- Call 911 – The bus driver is in charge of contacting emergency services in the event of an accident, but if your driver is unable or unwilling to do so, dial 911 yourself. This call will bring both police and EMTs to the scene to document the incident and provide care to injured victims.
- Get medical treatment – Seek attention from a trained medical professional as soon as possible, ideally from an emergency responder at the crash site. Delays in treatment could hinder your ability to recover from your injuries as well as compromise any civil case you might bring.
- Document the bus accident – Try to obtain the contact information of bystanders and encourage them to share their accounts with the responding officers. Eyewitness statements and detailed police reports can assist in determining liability in a bus accident, as can pictures and videos taken at the scene.
- Speak to a lawyer – A knowledgeable legal professional can inform you of your rights under Indiana law, address your questions and concerns, and let you know what to expect if you choose to hire a bus accident lawyer.
How Our Bus Accident Lawyers Can Help
A bus accident can change your life in an instant. It can be difficult to even think clearly while recovering from painful injuries, much less manage rapidly accumulating medical bills and other unforeseen expenses, all when you may be unable to work. On top of the physical, emotional, and financial stresses you are now facing, you may find yourself fielding calls from insurance companies promising you easy money to make all your problems go away.
At times like these, when it seems like everything that can go wrong either already has or soon will, you don’t need an attorney who thinks of you as a line item on a balance sheet. You need an attorney who will defend you like a member of the family – like the Hammond bus accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group.
For more than a quarter century, Hensley has been helping people just like you, honest Hoosiers who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. We pride ourselves on getting our clients’ lives back on track after they have been derailed by the thoughtless actions of others.
If you retain our firm, we will immediately launch an investigation to uncover everyone responsible for your bus accident within the time permitted by law. We will also gather all the evidence needed for your claim, including:
- Police reports
- Traffic citations and dispositions
- Witness statements
- Photos and video footage
- Black box data
- Cellphone records
- Vehicular service histories
Once we have put together the strongest case we can, we will negotiate directly with the defendants’ insurance carriers and attorneys to reach a favorable resolution. Far too often, these parties will try to take advantage of your relative inexperience to settle your claim for far less than it is worth, but we won’t let them. If necessary, we will take your case to trial if we do not receive an offer that reflects the entirety of your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional distress
- Wrongful death accident damages
If you are worried about additional expenditures when you can least afford them, you should know that our firm works on a contingency basis, so you will never pay anything unless our Hammond bus accident lawyers win your case for you.
At Hensley, the client’s well-being is our top priority. Let us focus on the details of building a successful bus accident case so you can focus on the big picture – making yourself whole again.
Consult a Hammond Bus Accident Lawyer Today
Hensley Legal Group vows to do everything possible to give you the assistance you need when you need it most. We are committed to protecting the rights of the hardworking people of Indiana when they have been injured by somebody else’s negligence.
To schedule a free consultation with a skilled Hammond bus accident lawyer today, please call us at (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete the free case review form.