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 that they will provide safe riding between destinations. Unfortunately, driver error, poor maintenance, and other negligence 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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Called by Washingtonian Magazine the “lawyer you call when you want to sue WMATA,” Senior Attorney Partner Patrick Regan has successfully handled more than 25 bus accident lawyer cases and rail cases throughout the DMV. Lawyer Patrick Regan won tens of millions of dollars in damages for his lawyer clients and understands the complexities of handling bus accident claims against the WMATA and private bus companies. Lawyer Patrick Regan is a true bus accident attorney in Washington, DC.
Bus accident claims can be difficult to navigate. Dealing with a government agency or an insurance company can be frustrating on your own. They can easily reject your claim and place the blame for the accident on you. If your claim is approved, you may only receive the bare minimum of what your claim is worth. What you need is a law firm that has the experience needed to get you the compensation you deserve.
The Washington, DC injury accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC have the experience and the resources needed 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.
Depending on the circumstances and the type of bus involved, several different parties may be liable for your accident injuries. Possible responsible parties for the bus accident may include:
According to the latest statistics from the WMATA, there were 171 passenger injuries on Metrobuses in 2019. Of those injuries, 70 should have been prevented.
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 have to file a claim by a certain date and it needs to 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 Washington, DC bus accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long as soon as possible after the crash to get your claim started right away.
The School District
According to the National Safety Council, there were 13,000 injuries and 111 deaths in school bus-related crashes throughout the United States in 2019. Of these school bus accidents, 5,000 were passengers on the bus.
If your child was injured while riding a school bus, you 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 are the result of negligence on behalf of the school district.
The latest data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that there were 231 fatal accidents involving buses in 2019. The number of people that lost their lives in an accident involving a bus is 258.
If a private company owns the coach that caused the 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.
The Bus Manufacturer
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 force of the impact causes you to fall and hit your head on the floor. It turns out the braking system had a flaw in the design but the manufacturer of the brakes did not fix the flaw before the coach was manufactured. In a case such as this, 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, as well as 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.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 74,000 bus crashes in the United States in 2019. Of those crashes, 14,000 accidents result in an injury, and 232 involve a fatality. With so many accidents occurring throughout the United States, many may wonder what the common causes of bus accidents are. And the answer is usually driver error.
Too many times, 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.
Example of driver negligence includes:
Bus Company Negligence
Like trucking companies, companies may cut corners and fail to maintain their buses regularly. A defective part can quickly put the public in danger 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. If the bus driver was not properly trained, the company could be held liable for the accident.
Inclement weather can easily make driving dangerous for even the most experienced driver. For example, a sudden winter storm can turn the roadway into a sheet of ice. Properly 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 have a duty to 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 a accident to occur. We will go after the other party responsible and make sure 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:
Our lawyers in 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.
We serve our lawyer clients throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area, our lawyers serve residents of Maryland & Virginia. Our DC personal injury lawyers offers 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.
How Long Do I Have to File a Bus Accident Claim in the DC Metro Area?
It depends on many factors – where you live in the metro area and the parties that were responsible for the accident. If you are filing a claim with a lawyer against a private bus company, you have three years from the date of the accident to file in DC and Maryland and two years in Virginia where a lawyer from Regan Regan Zambri Long practices.
However, if you were hit by a public transit bus, the time limits for a lawyer filing a claim against the WMATA are different:
I Was Injured While Riding as a Passenger on the Bus. Who Can I Sue?
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 I Lost a Loved One in a Bus Accident, Can I File a Lawsuit with a lawyer?
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.
What Kind of Financial Recovery is Available for Accident Victims in Washington, DC?
Depending on the severity of the injuries and the circumstances surrounding the accident, bus accident victims could receive the following compensation for their accident:
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 have a chance to speak with a personal injury lawyer, make sure you keep the information about the accident to yourself. Do not agree to make a recorded statement and do not sign any forms sent to you by the company or insurance carrier. Instead, contact a DC bus accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long right away to protect your case.
Like a truck accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the company’s insurance for your injuries. But when you have a claim against the government, your claim can be a little more difficult.
When filing a claim against the WMATA, the doctrine of sovereign immunity may apply. Sovereign immunity prohibits your ability to sue the government in certain cases.
To file a lawsuit, you will need to first file a Notice of Claim within six months to the Office of Risk Management. 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 the medical expenses, 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 will need to 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 you were speaking to your friend sitting behind you. The driver stops short to avoid hitting a dog, causing you to fall. In a situation like this, 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. What this law states is 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, then they will be held liable for your accident.
If you live in the Washington, DC Metro area and were injured on a bus, know that you have rights. The Washington, DC bus accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long will help you recover the compensation that you need to get on the path of recovery. We work on a contingency basis so you do not have to worry about affording a personal injury lawyer until your claim is settled. If we are unsuccessful, then you do not owe us a fee.