There are multiple bus lines and services in Lakewood in addition to schools serviced by school buses. If you were hit by a bus or involved in an accident while riding a bus, you could be entitled to compensation, but knowing how to get those damages paid might not be your area of expertise.
Working with a lawyer can help you understand how to file your claims and what damages you can get for your injuries. In many cases, our lawyers might be able to help you get coverage for damages you might not have considered from sources you might not have expected.
To have our bus accident lawyers review your case in a free case evaluation, call Legal Care New Jersey today at (732) 838-9769.
Compensation Available for Bus Accident Victims in Lakewood, NJ
The total damages you can claim in your case will depend heavily on what happened to you in the accident and what harms you suffered. You should always work with an experienced bus accident lawyer, as each case is different and it is hard to know what your claim is worth without having an attorney review your case.
In most injury cases, you can claim compensation for any medical bills needed to treat the injuries as well as any wages you lost if the injuries kept you out of work. On top of these “economic damages,” there may be some other additional expenses you faced related to childcare, household services, or other out-of-pocket payments brought on by the accident. At the very least, you could have faced vehicle damage if you were in your car when the crash happened.
On top of these economic damages, you could be entitled to financial compensation for “non-economic damages.” These damages are often lumped together as “pain and suffering,” but they can actually compensate you for mental, emotional, and physical experiences. Things like the fear associated with the accident, the pain of a physical injury, and the lost enjoyment of life brought on by disability can all be compensated. Proving these damages is not as simple as producing receipts and bills, but your attorneys can still help you put together testimony, journals, and statements from friends, family, and mental health professionals to explain how severe the harm was and show the jury how much you should be paid for these damages.
Lawsuits and Insurance Claims for Bus Accident Victims in Lakewood, NJ
Getting the compensation you deserve for a bus accident is not always simple. NJ’s no-fault insurance laws block lawsuits unless your injuries qualify as sufficiently “serious” – which usually means having permanent injuries. However, other damages might be available through insurance whether you meet that standard or not, and limitations depend heavily on your insurance policy.
When filing an insurance claim, drivers file a claim with their own insurance. That means that if you were in another car when you were hit by a bus, you use your own insurance rather than the bus company’s, regardless of which driver caused the crash. Passengers file with the insurance of the driver whose vehicle they were in, meaning that bus passengers file their claim with the bus company’s insurance, and passengers in any other vehicles file with their driver’s insurance.
These policies pay out damages for a percentage of lost wages and medical expenses up to a certain limit. They pay no damages for pain and suffering, which you can only get through a lawsuit in New Jersey. But, further complicating matters, lawsuits are limited for most people with a no-fault policy.
NJ uses a “choice no-fault” system that allows people to pay for an “unlimited right to sue” policy and opt out of the no-fault system. If you have this insurance, you have no limits on your right to sue. If you have a “basic policy” or another “limited right to sue” policy, then our lawyers will have to show you have permanent injuries before you can sue in court and claim pain and suffering damages. This is a threshold that is ultimately met in many injury cases, meaning that you could be entitled to go to court and claim full damages if insurance will not cover the full cost.
Proving Fault in a Bus Accident Case in Lakewood, NJ
In many bus accident cases, there are multiple at-fault parties you can file your claim against. However, you need to prove that they were at fault before the court can order damages.
Fault is based on four legal elements that must each be met for you to win your case: duty, breach, causation, and damages. On the road, there are many basic safe-driving principles as well as traffic laws that supply the duty element. Any violation of these can constitute a breach of duty, satisfying the second element. As long as that breach was what caused your injuries – i.e., your damages – then that should be enough to meet the other elements and show the defendant was at fault.
However, you have to choose the correct defendant first. Most bus accident cases will be filed against the driver who caused the crash. Sometimes that is the bus driver, but in other crashes it could be another driver who crashed into the bus. In any case, our lawyers can look at the facts and the traffic signals involved and determine which driver caused the crash.
From there, many cases are also filed against the bus company. If the bus company’s employee – i.e., the bus driver – caused the crash while they were on duty working for the bus company, then you can typically sue the bus company along with their driver. The bus company could also share liability in a crash if their bus had maintenance or equipment issues, if the company violated driver training and certification regulations, or if the company committed hours of service violations.
Call Our Lakewood, NJ Bus Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one was injured in a bus accident in Lakewood, reach out to the bus accident lawyers at Legal Care New Jersey today by calling (732) 838-9769.