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Many people in and around Mercer County rely on buses for commuting throughout the state and into other cities, tour guides, and transporting students. Individuals trust public transit companies and bus operators to provide safe and reliable transportation. Unfortunately, bus accidents do occur and often result in severe losses for everyone involved.
If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a public transit vehicle collision, you may face mounting bills and a sudden loss of income due to missed work. A personal injury claim can present many complexities, so it might be in your best interests to reach out to a local legal professional. A Mercer County bus accident lawyer could evaluate your case and help determine your options for recovery.
Who May be Responsible for a Bus Accident in Mercer County?
Many factors can contribute to the cause and severity of bus accidents, and many public transit vehicle collisions have multiple liable parties. While determining who is responsible for a particular bus crash typically requires an extensive investigation and will likely depend on the accident’s circumstances, the following parties are often involved in public transit vehicle accident claims:
- Bus operators
- Bus companies or owners
- Bus manufacturers or retailers
- Bus maintenance companies
- State and local agencies or entities
- Drivers of other vehicles
Investigating the circumstances surrounding a bus accident generally requires accessing investigative reports from state or local police departments and other agencies. A knowledgeable lawyer could help evaluate a bus crash case to determine who may be responsible for the accident.
Understanding Liability for Bus Crashes
Bus operators and their employers are held to a higher legal standard than other motorists because they are considered common carriers. The duty of care typically afforded to other motorists on the road extends to a bus’s passengers.
Many factors could contribute to a bus operator or their employer’s breach of care, including poor driver training and qualifications, lack of vehicle maintenance, and defective bus design and/or manufacturing. If an injured passenger can establish that a bus driver or their employer’s breach of care resulted in otherwise preventable injuries, they may be permitted to seek compensation for their damages from all liable parties.
Under state and federal laws, buses are typically required to satisfy inspections and maintenance requirements to help ensure that the vehicles are safe for public use. The bus operators are also required to make a note of any malfunctioning mechanicals or safety equipment that could cause potential hazards to passengers.
The bus company that employs drivers could also impact a civil lawsuit. For instance, if a bus is owned by a school district or a state or local government entity, there may be increased requirements that an injured individual must follow to file a claim. Additionally, negotiating with the insurance company that insures the liable bus company or other entity may be difficult without a seasoned Mercer County attorney.
Statute of Limitations for Bus Crash Claims
State law imposes a time limit on claims for injuries sustained in bus accidents. Known as the statute of limitations, the time limit for bus crash claims is generally two years after the date of the accident, according to New Jersey Revised Statutes §2A:14-2. However, there are exceptions that can lengthen or shorten the statute of limitations, depending on the circumstances of the case.
If an injured party fails to file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations, their right to recover damages may be barred. For this reason, it is best to let an experienced lawyer in the Mercer County area help determine the relevant filing window for a particular bus collision case.
Contact a Mercer County Bus Accident Attorney Today
When you suffer severe damages in a bus accident, a civil claim for compensation could be complicated and will likely require extensive investigations. No matter how an injury occurs in a bus crash, you should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. A Mercer County bus accident lawyer understands how to determine who is liable for a public transit vehicle crash and how to hold a negligent driver and their employer accountable for your losses. Schedule your initial consultation today.