The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates over 1,500 buses in the DC Metro area, covering 325 routes in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Thousands of commuters rely on these buses and trust they will provide safe riding between destinations. Unfortunately, driver error, poor maintenance, and other issues cause bus accidents to occur too frequently, resulting in devastating personal injuries for passengers and other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. Bus accident victims often require specialized care, including long-term physical and psychological treatment. Worse, claims against WMATA can be notoriously complex. You will need a Washington, DC bus accident lawyer to help you with the claim and get you the compensation you deserve following such an accident.
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Bus accident claims can be challenging to navigate on your own. Dealing with a government agency or an insurance company can be frustrating. They can easily reject your claim and blame you for the accident. If your claim is approved, you may only receive the bare minimum of what your claim is worth. You need a law firm with the experience needed to get you the compensation you deserve.
The Washington, DC bus accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC have the experience and resources to take on the WMATA or a private company. We understand the complexities of these types of personal injury lawsuits and will fight for your rights so you receive the maximum amount of compensation that your crash injury claim is worth.
Called by Washingtonian Magazine the “lawyer you call when you want to sue WMATA,” Senior Partner Patrick Regan has successfully handled hundreds of bus accident claims throughout the DMV. Our bus crash attorneys have won tens of millions of dollars in damages for their clients and understand the complexities of handling bus accident claims against the WMATA and private bus companies.
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Depending on the circumstances and the bus type involved, several parties may be liable for your accident injuries. Possible responsible parties for the bus accident may include:
If the driver of a DC Metrobus is at fault for your accident, then you may be able to hold WMATA accountable for your injuries and damages. This is generally the case when driver error or lack of maintenance on the vehicle causes an injury. There is a specific procedure the injury victim needs to follow to file a claim. For example, you must file a claim by a particular date, which must be filed with the right agency. Failure to do so could result in your claim being denied.
Because time is essential in a Metrobus accident case, it’s important to contact a bus accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long as soon as possible after the crash to get your claim started right away.
If your child was injured while riding a school bus, a school bus accident lawyer may be able to hold the school district liable for a school bus accident, including crashes caused by driver error. Poor maintenance, lack of proper training, or hiring negligent drivers are all causes of school bus accidents and result from negligence on behalf of the school district.
If a private company owns the coach that caused the bus accident, then that company’s insurance should cover your injuries and damages. For example, after a tour bus accident, you may be able to file a claim against the tour company for any injuries you may have sustained.
In some cases, the manufacturer may be liable for a bus crash caused by defects in the vehicle components. For example, faulty brakes prevent the bus from stopping, causing the driver to hit another car. The impact force causes you to fall and hit your head on the floor. The braking system had a design flaw, but the brake manufacturer did not fix the flaw before the coach was manufactured. In such a case, the manufacturer for producing a faulty product.
In some cases, another motorist may cause a crash. You may be able to collect compensation from that driver’s insurance policy, the motor coach company’s insurance policy, and your own.
Usually, bus accident victims do not know who caused the accident or what parties may be liable for the damages. Our Washington, DC bus accident lawyer can investigate the incident, determine the cause, and find all responsible parties.
One of the major causes of bus accidents in Washington, DC can be traced back to driver error. Too often, a crash could have been avoided if one or more parties had acted responsibly. The most prevalent causes of bus accidents in the DC metro area include:
Bus drivers need to be adequately trained to handle these large vehicles. But even the best-trained driver could easily ignore the rules of the road. Therefore, when a driver violates their duty of care and drives recklessly, you have cause to file a claim against the bus driver.
Examples of driver negligence include:
Like trucking companies, companies may cut corners and fail to maintain their buses regularly. A defective part can quickly endanger the public without regular maintenance to keep buses from running correctly.
The bus company may also be held responsible for how their employee acted before and after the accident. The company could be liable for the accident if the bus driver were not adequately trained.
Inclement weather can easily make driving dangerous for even the most experienced driver. For example, a sudden winter storm can turn the roadway into ice. Adequately trained drivers know they need to drive with caution in bad weather; however, many take chances to meet their schedules. This can easily result in a deadly accident.
The negligence of another driver can be the cause of a bus crash. Like bus drivers, other drivers must drive safely and follow the road rules. However, this is not always the case.
It’s the government’s responsibility to keep the roads maintained. But if the road was either poorly constructed or is not being maintained and the road conditions caused the accident, the government may be held liable for the accident.
For decades, our Washington, DC bus accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long PLLC has been helping victims and their families recover compensation after these types of negligence cause an accident to occur. We will go after the other party responsible and ensure you get the justice you deserve.
The personal injuries caused by a bus accident can be extensive and severe. First, buses or coaches are much larger and heavier than typical vehicles. If a bus crashes into a car, the car will likely sustain much more damage than the bus. The same is true of accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists.
Second, bus passengers typically do not wear seatbelts and may stand if the bus is crowded. In an impact, riders could fall or be thrown into seats, against windows, or other passengers.
Some of the most common types of bus accident injuries include:
Depending on the severity of the injuries and the circumstances surrounding the accident, bus accident victims could receive the following compensation for their accident:
It depends on many factors – where you live in the metro area and the parties responsible for the accident. If you are filing a claim with a lawyer against a private bus company, you have three years from the accident to file in DC.
However, if you were hit by a public transit bus, the time limits for a lawyer filing a claim against the WMATA differ. In Washington, DC, your lawyer must file the claim with the Office of Risk Management within six months of the injury.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you and your lawyer may be able to hold the at-fault driver and/or bus company liable for your injuries. In some cases, the bus owner or a third party could be held at fault for the accident.
If you lost a family member in a bus accident, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Depending on whether you’re a passenger on the bus, a pedestrian, or another driver, your first step is to remain calm and call 911 as possible. Then do the following:
If the bus company or its insurance company calls you before you can speak with a bus accident lawyer, keep the information about the accident to yourself. Do not agree to make a recorded statement, and do not sign any forms the company or insurance carrier sent to you. Instead, contact a DC bus accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long immediately to protect your case.
Like a truck accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the company’s insurance for your injuries. But your claim can be a little more complicated when you have a claim against the government.
When filing a claim against the WMATA, the doctrine of sovereign immunity may apply. Sovereign immunity prohibits your ability to sue the government in some instances.
To file a lawsuit, you must first file a Notice of Claim to the Office of Risk Management within six months. The notice must contain the following information:
It takes approximately five business days for WMATA to respond; however, depending on the complaint it may require additional time to investigate the accident.
Washington, DC is a no-fault state. What this means is your insurance company will pay for your injuries, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In a bus accident, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will cover medical expenses of up to $50,000.
However, PIP does not cover other damages, such as lost wages or pain and suffering. In addition, you are not required to purchase PIP insurance in Washington, DC. To pay for all expenses, you must file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
If you are a passenger on the bus at the time of the accident, the possibility of being responsible for the crash is unlikely. However, there are situations where you may have played a part in the personal injury. For example, let’s say you were being rowdy on the bus. You were sitting incorrectly on your seat and speaking to your friend sitting behind you. The driver stops short to avoid hitting a dog, causing you to fall. In this situation, the court may find you partially at fault for your accident since you were sitting incorrectly in your seat.
DC, Virginia, and Maryland all follow the contributory negligence fault system. This law states that if the plaintiff is found at fault by any degree for the accident, they will not be able to recover any damages.
To determine fault, the following elements must be present:
If the bus company or driver meets these four elements, they will be liable for your accident.
Our Washington, DC bus accident lawyer has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Backed by decades of experience fighting against the WMATA, our firm has an established reputation for pursuing legal excellence in complex bus accident cases.
As our client, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing that we will be protecting your legal rights from start to finish. Our bus accident lawyers will do everything in our power to secure the maximum compensation you need to pay for injury-related expenses, such as medical care and lost income, as well as full compensation for all of the physical and emotional consequences of your injuries.
Our DC personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, and we work on a contingency fee basis. Call a lawyer at (202) 960-4596 or contact a lawyer online today to discuss your legal options.