Home to Purdue University and the seat of Tippecanoe County, Lafayette is an energetic city of nearly 70,000 inhabitants, many of whom rely on buses to get around. Whether commuting to work with CityBus, making use of a charter bus service, or sending your kids off on a bus to school, buses offer an economical way to meet your daily needs, but they are far from risk free. According to the United States Department of Transportation, 175 buses were involved in deadly crashes nationwide in 2021, and thousands of other bus accidents inflicted injuries that same year.
While you may be eligible for financial recovery if you have been hurt in an Indiana bus crash, success is never guaranteed. To tip the odds in your favor, turn to the Lafayette bus accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been standing up for honest Hoosiers just like you for more than 25 years.
Please call (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form for a free consultation with a Lafayette bus accident lawyer.
Why Do Bus Accidents Take Place?
There are approximately 63,000 bus accidents in the United States each year. These incidents take place for many reasons, including:
- Speeding – About 15,000 Indiana collisions annually are caused by traveling too fast, which is the top cause of all traffic accidents. Speeding drivers need more time to respond but have less time to stop, increasing both the likelihood and the severity of a crash.
- Driving under the influence – Though drunk driving is on the decline, it remains a serious problem, including in Indiana, where law enforcement officers make an average of one DUI arrest every 11.98 hours. Bus drivers are statistically unlikely to drive under the influence, but the same cannot be said for everyone sharing the road with them, sometimes leading to catastrophic bus accidents.
- Driver fatigue – A drowsy driver can be as impaired as a drunk driver, with similarly devastating results. About 100,000 auto accidents, 50,000 injuries, and 800 deaths per year are caused by fatigue, which may disproportionately impact bus drivers, since they spend over eight times as many hours behind the wheel as the typical motorist.
- Distracted driving – Distraction is the second most common factor in automotive accidents, resulting in about nine vehicular fatalities across the country each day. Improper phone use is the greatest drain on driver attention, contributing to at least 12 percent of Indiana’s distraction accidents.
- Passenger-based distraction – People riding with drivers are also a source of distraction, causing an estimated 3.55 percent of all crashes. Passenger-based distraction may play an even greater role in bus accidents given the sheer number of passengers being transported.
- Confusion over bus operations – Buses interact with traffic in very specific ways, and other drivers who are confused by bus operations can cause preventable accidents, such as rear-end crashes at scheduled stops.
- Inadequate training – The State of Indiana requires drivers to receive extensive training before they can operate a bus. Bus accidents may be inevitable if that training is inadequate.
- Irregular bus maintenance – Public buses accrue four times the annual mileage of the average passenger vehicle, putting them at risk of a major malfunction if they do not receive regular maintenance.
Regardless of the cause of your accident, our Lafayette bus accident attorneys will map out the best course of action.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
There are a number of steps you should take after a bus accident to protect yourself and any case you may have, including the following:
- Dial 911 – Bus drivers are supposed to alert the authorities in the event of an accident, but be prepared to call 911 yourself so that police and emergency personnel will come to the scene.
- Seek medical attention – Any delays in treatment could negatively impact your ability to recover from your injuries and cast doubt on whether they are related to the bus accident.
- Take pictures and videos – Take out your phone to shoot pictures and videos if possible because visual documentation can aid in determining liability.
- Obtain witness information – Eyewitness accounts can be invaluable, so try to obtain the names and numbers of everyone who saw what happened.
- Avoid talking to the insurance company – Insurance company representatives may try to contact you following the bus accident, but avoid talking to them if you can because your words could be used against you.
- Talk to a lawyer – Instead, talk to a Lafayette bus accident lawyer at our firm, who can answer your questions and explain what you can expect if you decide to pursue a claim against the ones at fault for the bus accident.
Who Is at Fault for a Bus Accident?
It can be challenging to identify exactly who is at fault for a bus accident because of the number of parties who may be involved. While the bus driver is probably liable in a single-vehicle accident, another driver could be liable in a crash with two or more vehicles.
In certain scenarios, a party who is not even present at the collision could be at fault. A manufacturer of a defective part or an outside servicing agent could be culpable if an accident is caused by a malfunction, while a construction crew or public works department could be blamed if poor road conditions were a contributing element. Sometimes, multiple parties could share different levels of responsibility with correspondingly different levels of economic responsibility.
It is essential to identify everyone who may be at fault for a Lafayette bus accident within the time permitted by law, known as the Statute of Limitations. In Indiana, the Statute is two years for most bus accidents, though it can be shorter when government agencies are involved. If you fail to file a lawsuit or otherwise resolve your claim before the Statute expires, you could be forever barred from doing so.
How Our Bus Accident Attorneys Can Help
You may face significant obstacles if you have been injured in a bus accident. It can be hard to know what to do or where to turn, especially when you are overwhelmed by mounting medical bills and physically unable to work.
You need attorneys who can support you on the difficult journey ahead and guide you to a satisfying conclusion. You need the Lafayette bus accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who are committed to getting justice for the everyday people of Indiana.
If you decide to retain our firm, we will conduct a thorough investigation to uncover everyone who may be at fault for your bus accident within the time permitted by law. We will also act swiftly to secure the evidence needed to support your claim, including:
- Police reports
- Citations and dispositions
- Driving histories
- Witness statements
- Surveillance, traffic light, and dash cam footage
- Black box data
- Phone records
- Bus maintenance logs
- Forensic analysis and accident reconstruction
Get Compensated for All Your Losses
Once we put together an airtight case of negligence against every defendant, our Lafayette bus accident lawyers will attempt to reach a settlement that compensates you for all your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Punitive and/or wrongful death damages (if applicable)
And unlike many of our competitors, who rarely, if ever, step foot inside a courtroom, we are not afraid to proceed to trial if we do not receive an offer that reflects the true worth of your claim.
Every bus accident case is different, but we will always endeavor to maximize the value of yours.
You Won’t Owe Us Anything Until We Win
We realized that additional expenditures may be beyond your means right now, so you should know that our firm works on a contingency basis. That means you won’t owe us anything until our Lafayette bus accident attorneys win your case.
We took you on as a client because we believe in you, and we are willing to put ourselves on the line to get you what you deserve.
Lafayette Bus Accident Lawyers Here for You
Hensley Legal Group has been defending the innocent victims of negligence for over a quarter century. If you are having trouble making ends meet because of unexpected injuries, our Lafayette bus accident lawyers will be here for you.
Schedule a complimentary case review with an accomplished bus accident attorney today by calling (317) 472-3333, chatting with us online, or completing our contact form.
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