Buses are enormous and heavy vehicles, and accidents involving these vehicles can be disastrous and tragic. You may have legal options, including insurance claims and lawsuits, to get fair compensation for your injuries.
After a collision involving a bus, speak to an attorney about evaluating your damages, finding evidence, and filing a claim. What kind of claim you should file depends on your needs and what you want out of the case. Insurance claims often help injured drivers get financial compensation, but the terms of insurance policies might limit compensation. Injured drivers often file lawsuits in addition to insurance claims so that they get compensation covering the full scale and scope of their injuries and losses. Both options should be thoroughly discussed with an attorney before you get started.
Call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 to schedule an evaluation of your claims for no charge with our bus accident lawyers.
How to Prepare a Bus Accident Claim in Paterson, NJ
Depending on your situation, you might have several legal options, such as insurance claims and lawsuits, as discussed below. Preparing your claim will be challenging, and the process tends to be time-consuming and frustrating. However, properly prepared claims may make for much stronger cases.
Evaluate Your Damages and Injuries
One of the first steps you can take with our bus accident lawyers is to evaluate your damages. Your damages are the losses and injuries you sustained from the bus accident. These losses might look like money lost or spent because of the crash, such as high medical bills. They might also involve subjective experiences you endured, such as pain and suffering.
To fully prepare your claim, we must have an accurate idea of your overall damages and how much we believe they are worth. Overlooked or forgotten damages might be lost forever, and your overall compensation might be reduced.
Find Supporting Evidence
Once we have a good idea of what kind of damages your case involves, we need to find evidence that supports your claims so that you can get compensation for your damages. Evidence is often unique to each case, and the evidence you need might not be the same as evidence in another bus accident case. Even so, certain kinds of evidence are so ubiquitous that they are common across various cases and claims.
Evidence from the accident scene is a crucial piece of the puzzle. After a crash, you should take photos and record videos of the accident scene. Since these scenes are often cleared away by law enforcement relatively quickly, your photos and videos might be some of the only evidence of what the scene looked like immediately after the crash.
Records are also paramount to your case’s success. For example, the bus driver and bus company likely kept records of bus maintenance and how long the bus driver had been driving that day. These records may shed light on important issues, like whether the bus had been properly inspected or maintained before the accident. In addition, your medical records might be needed to explain the severity of your injuries to a jury.
File Your Claim
Once we have the necessary information, we can begin working on filing a claim. Exactly what kind of claim we file depends on how we approach the case. Many injured accident victims pursue insurance claims before filing lawsuits. Both courses of action are often necessary to get the most compensation possible.
When filing your claim, it is important to take note of any deadlines. Insurance companies and courts impose strict deadlines about when cases and claims should be filed. If we miss a deadline, your entire claim might be in jeopardy.
Should I File an Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit After a Bus Accident in Paterson, NJ?
The next logical question is whether filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim is the best option. There is no single right answer to this question, and the best decision for you depends on your case and what you need from it.
How to File an Insurance Claim
As said before, many people start their case with an insurance claim. In fact, under New Jersey’s no-fault insurance rules, injured drivers are often required to submit insurance claims before they can file lawsuits.
If you were a driver hit by a bus, you might have to file a claim through your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance as a first step in the legal process. The good thing here is that PIP insurance claims do not require any showing of fault, making it easier to get the compensation you need. The bad thing here is that your compensation may be limited by the terms of your insurance policy. This is highly likely in a bus accident case where injuries and damages can be extraordinary.
If you were a passenger on the bus during the accident, you might not need to file a claim through your own auto insurance. Instead, you might file a third-party claim with the bus driver and bus company’s insurance. You should talk to an attorney about your insurance situation before starting a claim.
How to File a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit requires preparing a formal legal complaint and filing it with the appropriate court, as discussed above. Not all courts are the same. The proper court with jurisdiction over your case often depends on the nature of your claims and the location of your accident. Many lawsuits tend to be filed in the county where the accident occurred.
Unlike an insurance claim, potential compensation in a lawsuit is not limited by the terms of a policy, and you have a chance to recover the full extent of your damages. However, getting to court is difficult under New Jersey’s insurance laws.
If you opted for a limited right to sue when purchasing your insurance policy, you might file a lawsuit after an accident only if you experienced a serious injury as defined by law. If you opted for an unlimited right to sue, usually a more expensive option, you do not need to meet any legal threshold to file your claim. If you were a passenger on the bus during the accident, this restriction might not apply to you at all, but you should still consult with a lawyer.
Call Our Paterson, NJ Bus Accident Lawyers for Assistance
Call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 to arrange an assessment of your case at no cost with our bus accident lawyers.