Introduction to Bus Accident Claims
If you have been injured in a bus accident for which you were not to blame – be it as a passenger, as a car driver who came into collision with a bus, or any other kind of road user – you may be eligible to make bus accident claims for compensation.
Bus accident claims can be made by people injured in accidents involving buses for which they were not at fault, and this article will outline the steps you should take after you have been injured in a bus accident. However, it is no substitute for the expert advice you would be given by an experienced personal injury solicitor should you seek to pursue injury compensation after a bus accident.
Passenger in Bus Accident Claims
Passengers who have been injured in a bus crash are usually completely innocent parties, and bus crash claims will more than likely be brought against the bus company – if the driver of the bus was to blame for causing the accident – or against another road user if they were accused as being the negligent party.
The only possible benefit of being injured in a vehicular accident as a bus passenger is that there will typically be several witnesses who also suffered injuries in the same crash, who will subsequently be able to support your bus crash claim for injury compensation. Under normal vehicular accident protocol, details of those responsible for causing you injuries would be collected but, in bus accident claims, it would work to your advantage if you also gathered the details of your fellow injured passengers to use in support of your compensation claim for a bus accident.
Drivers in Bus Crash Claims
Car drivers injured in car accidents would also typically exchange information such as contact details, insurance details, with the other parties involved. However, under the circumstance of an accident involving a bus, a car driver, pedestrian, cyclist or any other road user who has suffered an injury in a bus crash should have also made an independent record of the time and date of the accident, along with the bus company’s name, the route number and the bus registration number.
You should never have placed yourself in further danger in order to take photographs of the accident scene, exchange personal information or gather the contact details of witnesses to the accident. When a serious accident has occurred, this task should have been handled by the Gardai; while, even if seemingly less severe injuries have been sustained, you should always have prioritised your health and sought medical treatment for yourself and any other injured members of your party.
Making Medical Attention a Priority
While the prospect of gathering evidence at the scene of the accident after it occurs to support a bus accident claim may be tempting, it is always in your very best interest to seek medical treatment at the first opportunity possible. If you have sustained an injury in the accident that was exacerbated by delaying medical attention, the value of your compensation may be reduced significantly as a reflection of your own contributory negligence.
Even if you sustained a relatively minor injury in an accident where an ambulance did not call to the scene, you should visit your local Accident and Emergency department or make an emergency appointment to see your family GP to ensure that any injury is accounted for and recorded in your medical records, professionally diagnosed and treated. No amount of compensation for a bus crash claim will compensate for a lifelong disability that could have been avoided if you had waited for the Gardai and an ambulance to arrive, or independently seen a medical practitioner at the first moment possible.
Pursuing a Compensation Claim for a Bus Accident
Bus accident claims are typically made against the bus company who maintains the route, not against the bus driver – even under circumstances when criminal charges have been brought against the driver by the Gardai. In order to pursue bus crash injury claims, you must submit an application for assessment (Form A) to the Injuries Board Ireland, along with your doctor’s medical evaluation (Form B) and any receipts you may have for costs incurred, or proof of loss of earnings.
Once the Injuries Board receives your application, they will write to the bus company requesting consent to proceed with your injuries assessment and, when that consent is granted, may ask that you have a further medical examination to determine the current extent of your injury. If you are also seeking compensation in your bus crash claim for emotional trauma brought on by the accident, it may be required for you to undergo a psychiatric assessment.
The Value of a Bus Crash Injury Claim
All bus accident claims are evaluated on their individual properties, depending on the nature, severity and extent of the injury you have sustained. Compensation for your bus crash injury claim is calculated by using the Book of Quantum – a publication which lists a variety of injuries and associated financial values – and is then adjusted to account for your age, general state of heath before the accident and – sometimes – your sex.
It is worth noting that even if two passengers in the same accident suffer the same injuries, the value for each of their injury compensation claims for a bus accident could differ significantly when the impact the injury has on their quality of life is brought into consideration. This “loss of amenity” reflects any everyday tasks that you make not be able to perform as a consequence of your injury or any social and leisure activities that you participated in prior to you injury but can no longer enjoy.
Bus Crash Claims and Court Action
If the party responsible for your bus crash injury does not agree to the Injuries Board assessing your application, or the Injuries Board assessment is less than what you anticipated – or more than what the negligent party’s insurers are prepared to pay – you will have to complete your bus crash injury claim through the courts or by direct negotiation with the insurance company.
You must be issued with an “Authorisation” by the Injuries Board in order to commence court action, once they have been officially advised that consent has been withdrawn or their assessment denied. Solicitors recommend that their clients submit an application for assessment to the Injuries Board – even when direct negotiations are being held – for the reason that, if negotiations fall through, you will need this “Authorisation” in order to initiate court action and obtain an acceptable resolution to your compensation claim for a bus accident.
Insurance Companies Involvement in a Compensation Claim for a Bus Accident
You are not advised to attempt negotiations of a compensation settlement for a bus crash injury claim directly with an insurance company without the aid of an expert solicitor. Frequently, in the aftermath of a bus crash – especially when several passengers have sustained injuries – the bus company’s insurance company (or the insurers of the negligent road user who caused the accident) may approach the victim with a compensation offer which may be tempting at the time but should always be referred to a solicitor.
The reason behind direct offers of compensation for a bus crash claim such as these is purely for the insurance company to keep their costs as low as possible and to ensure a quick settlement, if possible. They are acting for their benefit – not yours. These methods are not illegal – though they can be considered morally wrong – and it is worth noting that once a settlement from an insurance company is accepted, you can never return for more – even if it proves to be an insufficient amount to cover your medical expenses or support your family.
Getting Reliable Advice for a Bus Crash Injury Claim
You are always well advised to engage the assistance of a solicitor for advice on bus accident claims from a credible source, and this should be done at the first practical opportunity – after you have received medical attention for the injuries you sustained in the accident.
A solicitor is in the professional position to not only assist you with the gathering of police reports, witness statements and negotiations with insurance companies, but also to help with your application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland in order to make sure every factor of your compensation claim for a bus accident is covered. A solicitor will also be able to appraise the Injury Board’s assessment or an insurance company´s offer and recommend that it be accepted or that you would be better off resolving your bus crash claim through further negotiation or through court action.
Most solicitors offer an initial consultation to evaluate whether you have a viable claim and, in many cases, you will be able to be reimbursed for any expenses which you have acquired during your bus crash injury claim as part of your settlement.
Bus Accident Claims: A Summary
- Bus accident claims for injuries sustained while travelling as a passenger can be made against the bus company as they have a legal duty of care towards their passengers.
- The bus driver may not necessarily be the negligent driver in a compensation claim for a bus accident – when other road users are responsible for the accident, bus crash claims are made against them.
- You should always make your health and safety your top priority, and medical attention should be sought immediately after the accident occurs.
- The amount of compensation given for an injury sustained in a bus crash is established by evaluating the severity of your injuries and any special costs you have acquired as a result of your injuries.
- You should always consult with a solicitor before even considering accepting a settlement offer from the negligent party’s insurance company.
No two cases are ever identical. If you have been injured in a bus accident recently and believe that you may have a potential compensation claim for a bus accident, do not hesitate in contacting a solicitor at the first practical opportunity.