McHenry County Bus Accident Lawyer

McHenry County Bus Accident Lawyer

Representing McHenry County Clients Injured in Bus Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of accidental deaths and injuries in McHenry County, IL, and throughout the United States. When most people think of motor vehicle accidents, they typically imagine crashes that involve standard passenger vehicles. However, it’s also possible for accidents to involve larger commercial transportation vehicles such as buses. Charter buses, touring buses, long-distance transit buses, and school buses can all experience severe accidents, and victims may not know what to do when it comes to securing compensation for their losses.

The attorneys at Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley have years of experience providing McHenry County clients with comprehensive legal counsel in a wide range of personal injury claims, including claims pertaining to bus accidents. We understand that liability isn’t always clear in these incidents, and some bus accidents involve multiple victims with substantial damages. Additionally, one or more parties may bear responsibility for a bus accident, complicating victims’ ability to secure compensation for their losses.

Why Do I Need a McHenry County Bus Accident Lawyer?

If you or a loved one suffered injuries and economic losses because of a bus accident that someone else caused, you are probably wondering what your options are in terms of legal recourse. Filing any civil claim is a daunting experience, especially if you have never filed a lawsuit before. Some people in this situation may believe their cases are straightforward enough that they do not need to hire legal counsel to secure compensation for their losses. However, it’s vital to understand that no matter how clear fault may seem for a bus accident, there are many ways you could jeopardize your claim if you do not have reliable legal counsel on your side.

If you do not hire legal counsel, you not only run the risk of making critical procedural errors that jeopardize your case but also potentially settling for much less than your claim is worth. While you may be able to calculate your immediate medical expenses, you may not know how to determine the cost of your likely future medical expenses. If you were forced to remain home from work while you recovered from your injuries, you might manage to total up your lost income during this time, but if your bus crash caused a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to your job, how would you calculate your lost earning potential?

An experienced McHenry County bus accident attorney is your best available resource for any bus accident claim. Your legal team can handle the procedural requirements of your case and ensure it unfolds according to Illinois state law, and they can help you accurately calculate the entire scope of the damages you are eligible to claim. Additionally, your bus accident could involve complex technical questions or uncertain liability. An experienced McHenry County bus accident lawyer will know how to gather the evidence you need to prove fault for your damages and may even consult with expert witnesses on your behalf, such as engineers, medical professionals, and accident reconstruction experts.

How Do Bus Accidents Happen?

Bus accidents occur for many of the same reasons as all other motor vehicle accidents, including:

  • Distracted driving. The leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the US is distracted driving. Common examples include texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating behind the wheel, and smoking—anything that requires using the driver’s hands, eyes, and concentration when they should be focused on driving is a distraction.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI). It is illegal for any driver to operate their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even some prescription medications. Therefore, if a driver causes a bus accident due to DUI, or if a bus driver causes an accident because of drinking on the job, the at-fault driver will likely face criminal prosecution in addition to civil liability for victims’ damages.
  • Moving violations. Drivers must abide by traffic signals, signs, and posted speed limits. When drivers fail to use turn signals where appropriate, fail to stop where required, or exceed posted speed limits, they create a dangerous situation for everyone around them.
  • Bus driver inexperience. Bus companies have a legal duty to ensure all the drivers they hire are competent, trained, and fully certified to operate their vehicles. If an inexperienced bus driver makes a critical error that causes an accident, their employer could absorb liability.

These are only a few possible examples of how bus accidents can happen in McHenry County and Illinois. When these incidents happen, injured victims need to know how to identify the responsible parties and accurately calculate their losses. In addition, depending on the type of bus involved in the accident, common carrier laws may come into play in the subsequent legal proceedings.

What Is a Common Carrier?

A common carrier is any company that offers transportation as a paid service to the public. Taxi companies, airlines, and many bus companies can qualify as common carriers. Special laws exist in every state that outline the unique responsibilities of common carriers and the duties they hold to their passengers. If you are involved in a bus accident in McHenry County, the term “common carrier” can arise during your legal proceedings. The employees of common carriers have a stricter duty of care when it comes to driving safely than individual vehicle drivers due to the nature of their work, meaning the law holds them to a higher standard when determining whether negligence caused an accident.

It’s important to note that some common carriers operate under state or federal authority. Government agencies manage most public transportation systems. This means that if you suffer injuries in a common carrier accident and a government agency controls the carrier, the process of collecting compensation for your losses will be very different from a claim against a private common carrier. You will face more restrictive deadlines in filing your claim for compensation, and applicable state or federal laws could limit the amount of compensation you could potentially receive.

Claimable Damages in a Bus Crash Claim

Bus accidents often cause injuries and economic losses to multiple victims. These victims could include passengers on the bus, occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident, pedestrians, or bicyclists. If you or a loved one is hurt in a bus accident, it’s vital to work with a McHenry County bus accident attorney to determine the full range of your claimable damages. The personal injury laws of Illinois allow a plaintiff to claim compensation for economic damages, including:

  • Medical expenses. An injured plaintiff can claim compensation for all medical costs they incur due to another party’s negligence. This includes immediate medical expenses like hospital bills and future medical costs if their injuries require long-term care, ongoing therapy, or multiple surgical treatments.
  • Lost income. When a plaintiff’s personal injury prevents them from working while they recover, they have the right to claim income lost during their recovery period. For example, a severe personal injury could leave the plaintiff with permanent medical complications that prevent them from returning to work. In this case, the plaintiff has the right to claim compensation for the income they would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had the injury not occurred.
  • Property damage. When a personal injury results in damage to the plaintiff’s personal property, they have the right to add repair or replacement costs to their claim.

In addition to these economic damages, plaintiffs also have the right to compensation for their pain and suffering. When a bus accident causes physical pain and psychological trauma, the victim’s attorney will help them calculate a reasonable figure to claim pain and suffering compensation. If the victim is likely to recover in the future, they could seek “per diem” compensation that provides a set amount of compensation each day until the victim reaches maximum possible recovery. Suppose the victim’s injuries caused permanent medical complications or disabilities. In that case, they are likely to secure significant pain and suffering compensation to reflect their diminished quality of life or loss of their ability to live independently.

Proving Liability for Your Bus Accident Damages

The legal cornerstone of every personal injury claim is negligence, a term used to describe a party’s failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. The plaintiff in a McHenry County bus accident claim must identify the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their losses, prove the responsible parties failed to act with reasonable care in the situation in question, and provide the court with a complete and accurate list of the damages they seek. Additionally, the plaintiff and their attorney must establish causation, meaning they must prove their claimed damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause.

One of the most challenging aspects of many bus accident claims is determining liability. In some bus accidents, the bus drivers are clearly at fault, but other accidents indicate liability falling to one or more other parties. For example, if a driver runs a red light and collides with a bus traveling through the intersection, they could potentially injure the bus driver and multiple passengers. The at-fault driver would absorb liability for all the victims’ damages.

What to Expect From Your McHenry County Bus Accident Attorney

Bus accident claims tend to be some of the most complex motor vehicle accident claims filed in McHenry County, and you’re likely to have many questions about your legal rights, but you can approach your bus accident lawsuit with confidence when you hire an experienced McHenry County bus accident lawyer to represent you. Your attorney will likely begin handling your case by reviewing the details of your accident. They will want to review the incident’s police report and gather evidence to establish liability for your damages. This evidence could include vehicle computer data, traffic camera footage, and eyewitness statements. For example, if a distracted driver was using a cell phone when they caused the bus accident, your attorney could file a subpoena to obtain their cell phone records.

Once your attorney has assisted you in establishing liability for your damages, they will help you calculate the full extent of your damages. You may be surprised to discover your claimable damages total more than you originally anticipated. An experienced McHenry County bus accident lawyer will walk you through calculating your immediate and anticipated future losses resulting from the incident and establish causation between your claimable damages and the defendant’s negligence.

In some bus accidents, establishing negligence is not easy. Therefore, it may be necessary for your attorney to consult expert witnesses to support your claim, and expert witnesses may also assist in proving the full scope of your damages in court. For example, your attorney may contact an accident reconstruction expert to help you prove exactly how the bus crash occurred. This can help with establishing liability for your damages. In addition, if you are claiming pain and suffering, your attorney could consult medical professionals who can help the court fully understand your accident’s physical and psychological effects.

Find Legal Counsel in McHenry County, IL, Today

Time is a critical factor in any personal injury claim. Illinois enforces a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, and this time limit begins on the date the injury occurred. Two years may seem like plenty of time for you to take legal action, but some bus accident claims can involve unpredictable factors, or you may not be able to immediately determine the full scope of your damages. Therefore, the sooner you hire an experienced McHenry County bus accident lawyer to handle your case, the better your chances will be of successfully obtaining compensation for your losses.

The attorneys of Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley have the legal resources, litigation skills, and professional experience you need on your side to approach your bus accident case with confidence. We can help you determine responsibility for your losses and guide you through the complex legal proceedings your claim will entail. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with a reliable McHenry County bus accident attorney, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.

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