motor vehicle accidents

Bus Accident Attorney in Portland, OR

When you ride a bus, you pay your fare and place your trust in the driver and the bus company to get you to your destination safely. Passengers expect that the bus has been properly maintained and that the driver has been thoroughly trained and is following all of the safety rules applicable to bus drivers. Bus drivers and their companies must follow specialized safety rules, which mandate that the bus driver receive adequate sleep and only work a certain number of hours per week. When those safety rules are broken, or when drivers drive too fast in dangerous conditions, bus passengers are at risk of serious bodily injury, including spine injuries, paraplegic injuries, brain injuries and death.

Extensive Experience in Bus Crash Cases

At the Johnston Law Firm, our personal injury attorney is experienced in representing people injured in bus accidents. We handle bus accident cases and other major injury cases throughout the state of Oregon. A successful bus accident claim requires the attention of a lawyer who understands how to analyze the case and who will work aggressively to maximize the client’s compensation for injuries suffered in a bus accident.

The Johnston Law Firm has successfully represented bus accident victims against bus companies and other motor carriers. We offer an in-depth understanding of the law, a thorough investigation into the facts of the case and an exceptional ability to present a compelling argument to a jury.

One of the worst bus accidents in Oregon’s history occurred on December 30, 2012, just east of Pendleton, Oregon, in the Blue Mountains, in an area known as Deadman’s pass. Nine passengers died, and many more were injured. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigation found that driver Haeng Kyu Hwang had been on duty for 92 hours in the eight day stretch before the crash, exceeding the 70 hour federal limit. The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Free Consultation With an Experienced Bus Accident Lawyer

Call us today at 503-546-3167, or fill out our free confidential case evaluation form, before speaking to an insurance company on behalf of the bus company. We will pursue the maximum compensation you deserve for injuries and damages. Our unique and personalized approach to your case can successfully hold responsible parties accountable in cases involving:

  • Driving too fast for dangerous conditions
  • Fatigued bus drivers
  • Distracted bus drivers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Negligent hiring practices
  • Drivers with poor driving records or criminal records
  • Poor maintenance/improper inspections
  • Improper safety equipment
  • Defective vehicle parts and tires

Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accidents

What are the common causes of bus accidents?

Bus accidents are almost always preventable and, like the majority of other motor vehicle and commercial vehicle accidents, happen most commonly as a result of negligence. Common causes of bus accidents include an operator’s distraction, impairment, or failure to follow posted traffic signs; speeding; driving aggressively; and driving while fatigued. In addition to drivers’ errors, bus accidents may also be caused by unruly passengers on the bus, poor road conditions, bad weather, poor signage, a person stepping out in front of the bus, and vehicle defects.

What are common bus accident injuries?

The injuries that a person who is involved in a bus accident might face depends, in large part, on the type of bus accident. Ways in which people may be injured in a bus accident include:

  • A pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcyclist will likely be severely harmed if they are involved in an accident with a bus;
  • The occupants of another motor vehicle could be harmed if the motor vehicle and the bus collide;
  • A person could be injured while entering or exiting the bus (i.e. a slip and fall); or
  • Bus occupants could be injured if the bus hits another object, slips off the road, or rolls over.

Types of potential injuries that those involved in a bus accident could face include traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, crush injuries, soft tissue injuries, injuries to extremities, broken bones, lacerations, and psychological injuries.

Who’s liable for a bus accident?

Liability for a bus accident depends on fault. If a bus driver is to blame for a crash because they acted negligently, then the bus driver or the party who employs the bus driver, such as a school district or municipality or busing company, could be held liable for the damages that result. If another party causes the bus accident, such as another driver, then that driver may be held responsible, and may need to pay for damages that result through their liability insurance policy. In some cases, a municipality or another third party, such as a vehicle part manufacturer, is responsible for the crash and can be held liable.

What types of damages are recoverable in a bus accident claim?

When a person is involved in a bus accident, they may suffer serious injuries. In addition to the injuries listed above, they may also incur large medical expenses, lost wages, long-term healthcare costs, rehabilitation costs, and noneconomic losses, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. When you are injured and someone else is to blame, you can recover compensation for the full value of your losses. This includes compensation for all of your economic and noneconomic losses.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

In most personal injury cases, you have two years from the date of injury to bring forth a lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault party. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you breach the statute of limitations–i.e. If you file a lawsuit after two years from the date of your accident have passed–then you will be barred from bringing forth your claim and therefore barred from recovering damages. In a bus accident claim, the two-year statute of limitations applies to all claims against private parties.

If you are filing a lawsuit against a municipality, on the other hand, then the statute of limitations is different. For claims against the government–which may be the case if the bus driver is a government employee–notice of the claim must be filed within 180 days of the accident. If you breach this time limit, then you’ll be barred from recovery. Notice of claims for wrongful death must be filed within one year.

What will a Portland bus accident attorney do for me?

You don’t have to work with a Portland bus accident attorney after being involved in a crash, but doing so may improve the outcome of your claim. An attorney can assist you and help you to recover a settlement that fairly compensated you by:

  • Investigating your bus accident. Your attorney can open an investigation into the bus accident in order to make a determination about how it happened and who is responsible for the damages that have resulted. The investigation might include hiring accident reconstruction experts, talking to eyewitnesses, reviewing bus maintenance logs, visiting the scene of the accident, taking pictures and collecting evidence, and more.
  • Calculating your damages. Once your attorney knows who is at fault for your losses, and after you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), your attorney will begin to calculate the value of your losses. Again working with experts where necessary, your attorney will determine the value of your medical bills, your lost wages and projected lost wages, your future medical bills, the loss of your benefits over time, any property damage costs you have suffered, and the value of your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other non economic losses.
  • Preparing your claim and demand letter. Once an attorney knows how much your claim is worth and who should be held liable, they can send a demand letter to the responsible party (typically an insurance adjuster) along with supporting evidence and documents.
  • Reviewing and negotiating your settlement. Once the insurance adjuster has had time to review your case, they will offer you a settlement. The settlement offer that you get may be less than you deserve – this is why it’s so important to have the settlement reviewed by an experienced attorney. If your settlement offer is too low, your attorney can enter into negotiations on your behalf.
  • Filing a lawsuit. Most bus accident claims are settled out of court. Sometimes, though, negotiations fail and the only way to recover an award for damages is to file a lawsuit. If filing a lawsuit is your best option, our lawyers will prepare your case for court, handle the filing of all court documents, and represent you in trial. At the Johnston Law Firm, our Portland bus accident attorneys have trial experience.

The Johnston Law Firm, LLC proudly represents clients in all cities and counties in Oregon: Portland, Gresham, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, Tigard, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas.

Marc Johnston
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