Bus Accidents: Understanding Your Legal Options

By Roger Johnson

After getting injured in a bus accident in Washington, DC, you might want a little guidance to help you in understanding your legal options. Pursuing compensation in these cases can be frustrating and confusing because of the different legal issues that could apply, depending on what kind of bus was in the accident.

You do not have to sort out these liability and insurance questions by yourself. A DC personal injury attorney could help you pursue compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party.

Legal Options Can Vary Depending on the Type of Bus Involved in the Collision

Bus accidents can involve a variety of kinds of buses, for example:

  • School buses
  • Public transportation buses
  • Private tour company buses
  • Charter buses

Each type of bus has different ownership and liability issues. You might sue a school district for a bus accident involving a school bus. The school district might contract with a private corporation for their bus transportation services, in which case you might file suit against both the school district and the private corporation.

Public transit buses like the Metrobus and the D.C. Circulator, which are city bus systems, are owned and run by government agencies. You would have to follow a different legal process when filing a claim against a government agency than you would use when taking legal action against a private citizen or corporation.

Private tour company buses and charter buses can get sued like any other corporation. Also, the bus driver might face liability if they were negligent and caused the crash.

Statute of Limitations in DC Bus Accident Injury Cases

If you have an injury claim against a government agency, like the city, municipality, or a school district, you must take legal action much earlier than you would have to when trying to hold a private individual or company accountable for your losses. Before you can file a lawsuit against the government, you must file a Notice of Claim within 6 months of the accident.

When filing a lawsuit against a person or company for personal injuries suffered in a bus accident, the lawsuit must get filed within three years of the collision. If you miss the filing deadline, called the statute of limitations, you can lose all right to money damages for your losses. If the deadline passes while you are in negotiations with the defendant, you might find that they “ghost” on you; in other words, they stop taking your calls or responding to your emails.

Recoverable Damages in DC Bus Accident Injury Claims

Some of the common types of compensation people pursue from the liable party after getting hurt in a DC bus accident include:

  • Lost wages. These damages are for paychecks you missed while recuperating from your injuries and medical interventions.
  • Medical expenses. This category can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, diagnostic procedures, blood transfusions, surgery, hospital, doctors, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and pain management.
  • Pain and suffering damages are in addition to getting your medical bills paid. These damages are for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of getting injured in a bus accident.

Your DC personal injury attorney will talk to you about these and other possible categories of compensation you could go after for your losses. Reach out to our office today for help with your case.

About the Author
Mr. Roger C. Johnson graduated from the University of Michigan and the National Law Center of the George Washington University, receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 1977. With over 40 years of experience under his belt, he has obtained million-dollar verdicts and settlements for clients in automobile accidents, including pedestrian injuries, medical malpractice cases, construction accident cases, and slip and fall cases, along with many other types of injury claims.