ClickCease How Much Compensation Will I Get from a DC Bus Accident

How Much Compensation Will I Get from a DC Bus Accident?

How Much Could I Recieve For My Bus Accident Settlement?

If you live in Washington, DC, you likely use the bus system frequently. With heavy city traffic and difficulty navigating large buses, dangerous conditions can be created for passengers and pedestrians alike. Unfortunately, negligent actions from a bus company or bus driver can lead to serious injuries or even death.

While it is impossible to guess how much your bus accident settlement could be worth, the DC bus accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long will work to ensure you receive the highest compensation possible. We will help you through the claims process, including a lawsuit against the government agencies that run Washington, DC’s public transportation system.

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At Regan Zambri Long, our experienced injury lawyers are passionate about fighting for your rights and making sure you don’t foot the bill for someone else’s mistake. Call us for your free consultation so we can take charge of your case and recover the compensation you deserve.

Washington, DC Bus Systems

Our nation’s capital has the second busiest transit system (behind New York City) in the entire United States. There are two primary types of bus systems operating in the DC Metro Area. The first is the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The second is the DC Circulator.

DC Circulator

The DC Circulator has over 130 stops with a fleet of 81 buses. Every bus in the fleet is 30 to 40 feet long. The DC Circulator is operated by the Washington, DC Department of Transportation, the WMATA, and DC Surface Transit Inc., which is a private nonprofit organization.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

The WMATA operates over 1,500 buses, serves over 91 stations, and drives almost 350 routes every single day. The fleet consists of forty-foot and sixty-foot heavy-duty transit buses.

Most often, the Washington, DC bus system runs smoothly and on schedule. However, when things go wrong, substantial damages can occur. In July 2021 the New York Post reported a bus crash in Washington, DC that was declared a “mass casualty incident,” injuring over one dozen riders.

How Do I File a Bus Accident Claim Against the WMATA or the DC Circulator?

The WMATA is a government entity, which means a lawsuit against the agency is different from a lawsuit against another company. Although the DC Circulator is partially run by a private company, it is also a partnership involving two major government entities. The steps you have to take to file these claims must be done correctly and on time. Otherwise, you may forfeit the right to compensation for your injuries.

For WMATA accidents, the first thing you have to do is file a notice of injury claim with the proper government entity. In Washington, DC, you have six months from the date of the accident to file the claim. In Maryland and Virginia, you have one year from the date the injury occurred. After the claim is filed, the WMATA has 60 days to approve or deny the claim. If your claim is denied, you may still pursue a lawsuit against the agency.

Reach out to the bus accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long. We have extensive experience with these kinds of personal injury cases. We’ve made successful claims against the local, state, and federal governments. We will make sure your paperwork is filled out properly and submitted on time. While you focus on your recovery, we will focus on securing fair compensation for your injuries.

Other Bus Services in Washington, DC

Besides the WMATA and DC Circulator fleets, plenty of other buses operate in the DC Metro Area. While they all serve a purpose, the sheer size and weight of the vehicles can cause significant damage to a passenger car. If you are involved in a car accident with any one of the following vehicles, contact a Regan Zambri Long personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.

Different types of buses you will see in the DC Metro Area include:

  • Charter buses
  • School buses
  • Tour buses
  • Sightseeing buses
  • Airport shuttles
  • Commuter buses
  • Special operations buses

What Causes a Bus Accident?

Accidents can happen to anyone, at any time, for any reason. No one is immune to getting into an accident. However, one of the main reasons for a bus accident is negligence. Negligent behaviors can include distracted driving and speeding.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

While all these behaviors can lead to disastrous outcomes, driving under the influence is one of the most dangerous. In October 2022 a Washington, DC school bus driver injured nine children in an accident. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit at the time of the accident.

Drowsy driving

While many of us are guilty of driving while fatigued, it is especially dangerous when you are hauling multiple passengers at once. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving contributes to over 6,000 fatal crashes per year.

Poor bus maintenance

The companies who run the bus systems in the DC Metro Area have the responsibility to their passengers to keep their buses in top shape. Every rider should feel comfortable stepping onto the vehicle, knowing it’s been properly maintained throughout the year. However, in 2016, The Hill reported that DC Circulator buses had serious operational defects. An audit found that a whopping 95% of the buses in the fleet had an unacceptable safety problem including fuel leaks, cracked windshields, and emergency window defects.

You have the right to safety in the public bus system. If these companies failed you and caused you physical harm, you have the right to financial damages. Call Regan Zambri Long today to get the process started.

Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?

Bus accident claims in Washington, DC are complicated and tricky to navigate. While it’s easy to assume the driver is at fault for the accident, that is not always the case. You may even have a case where the driver is at fault, but so is the bus company, the municipality, and the other driver involved in the car accident. Talk to an experienced bus accident lawyer to discuss who could be held liable for your bus accident.

Common Carrier Liability

DC is subject to common carrier laws. A common carrier is a person or a commercial business that transports either passengers or goods for a fee and whose services are open to the public. Examples of common carriers in Washington, DC include airlines, ships, railroads, and, of course, buses.

A common carrier has the responsibility to ensure the safety of its passengers. Rules they have to follow include:

  • Providing safe, well-lit entries and exits.
  • Provide security (as necessary).
  • Thorough background checks of each driver.
  • Extensive training for their drivers.
  • Proper maintenance of the vehicles.

If the company fails to follow any of those rules, it could be held liable for your accident. As stated before, the bus companies in DC are common carriers that are at least partially government entities, which complicates your case. The Regan Zambri Long lawyers have successfully settled personal injury claims against government agencies and we are confident we can do the same for you.

How Do You Prove Negligence in Bus Accidents?

Washington DC Metro BusAfter we determine the responsible parties in the accident, we will build your case around their negligence. At Regan Zambri Long, we equip our clients with the knowledge and talk them through how we will win their case, step by step. Proving negligence in a bus accident can be difficult, but we will take the following steps to make sure you walk away with the highest compensation possible:

  • Duty: We will show that the wrongdoer owed a duty to the victim. For example, a bus driver is entrusted with the lives of his or her passengers while on the bus. Therefore, the bus driver has a duty to you, the passenger, to keep you as safe as possible.
  • Breach of Duty: Next, we will prove the liable party breached this duty of care. We’ll keep the bus driver as an example. Let’s say he was driving under the influence of alcohol or texting and driving, causing an accident. His recklessness would be a breach of the duty he owed to you, the passenger.
  • Direct cause: With claims involving personal injuries, you need to prove that your injury was a direct result of the accident. We will use medical records, accident footage, and witness testimony to prove your injuries were directly caused by the bus accident.
  • Damages: Finally, your Regan Zambri Long lawyer will determine the damages for the settlement.

Types of Damage Awards in a Bus Accident

The following are different forms of compensation you can collect from your bus accident settlement:

  • Woman in Neck BraceMedical expenses: Medical bills can pile up fast. If the accident left you with severe injuries that needed medical attention, the person responsible for the accident should pay the bill. Hospital stays, scans, surgeries, physical therapy, and emotional help for post-traumatic stress disorder can cost thousands of dollars. We will make sure you recover damages for your current bills and any future medical treatment you may need.
  • Property damages: If you were driving your personal vehicle and a bus struck you, you can seek compensation for your property damages. If you are able, take photos and video of the property damage at the site of the accident. Keep your receipts from the mechanic and keep a record of your insurance company’s response.
  • Lost wages: If the accident caused you to miss time at work, we will negotiate compensation. If your injury prevents you from returning to work at all, we will work to secure enough compensation that will make up for any future lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering is considered a non-economic damage. Tangible damages, like medical bills and lost wages, are a bit easier to calculate. Pain and suffering refers to any physical discomfort, emotional trauma, or mental anguish that you suffered from the bus accident. Because these damages don’t necessarily have a price attached, they can be more difficult to recover. We will make sure you receive the maximum compensation for any pain and suffering.
  • Wrongful death: Sadly, it is not uncommon for victims of bus accidents to succumb to their injuries. If your loved one was killed in a bus accident due to someone else’s negligence, you can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties. Wrongful death damages can help with funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, and lost wages. Our compassionate lawyers at Regan Zambri Long can help you and your family determine your legal rights in the event of your loved one’s untimely death.

Contributory Negligence in Bus Accidents

You should know that Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia practice Contributory Negligence laws. This law states that if you were at all responsible for the accident – even just ten percent of it – then you may not recover any compensation for your injuries.

t bone accident car crash - how long after a car accident can you sue?For example, let’s say a WMATA bus driver T-bones you at an intersection of South Capitol Street. While the driver may bear most of the fault, if you were speeding or not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, it may be argued that you contributed to your injuries. If the argument succeeds, you will not be able to collect financial damages for your injuries.

The lawyers at Regan Zambri Long have been practicing law in the DC Metro Area for over 30 years. We know the tactics of an insurance company, as well as the tactics of defense lawyers. We are well versed in proving the other party’s negligence, while fiercely defending our client’s innocence.

Common Bus Accident Injuries

There are many injuries a bus accident victim can sustain. One of the main injuries, however, is whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs from forceful and rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. Many times, the injury is overlooked, but it can be extremely painful and cause long-term problems and ailments for the victim.

Whiplash can affect the victim’s spine, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and disks between the bones. It can cause a lifetime of pain and necessary surgeries down the line. It is an extremely serious injury and should be treated as such.
doctor pointing something out in an xrayOther injuries victims can suffer from bus accidents are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injures
  • Concussions
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Burns
  • Lacerations and bruising
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Bus Accident Claims?

A statute of limitations is the time restriction victims have in filing their claims against negligent parties that caused their injuries. In Washington, DC, the statute of limitations is three years. While this may seem like a long time, if you do not file within the time restriction, you will lose the right to collect compensation.

As discussed before, suing a government entity adds many layers to your claim, including the time restriction for filing the claim. Be sure to speak with a Regan Zambri Long lawyer right away. There is truly no time to waste in bus accident cases. We will make sure your claim is filed properly and on time.

How Can a Lawyer Help with my DC Bus Accident Compensation Claim?

Pat Regan and Chris Regan seated at table discussing bus accident compensationIn any personal injury case, hiring a lawyer will help increase your settlement amount. Statistically speaking, victims are more successful when legal experts advocate for them the entire way. In bus accident cases, when the victim is going up against the WMATA and the DC Circulator insurance company, you will want a seasoned lawyer in your corner.

Our lawyers at Regan Zambri Long are local to the DC Metro area. We know the streets, the bus lines, and the danger. We are highly involved in our community and tirelessly fight to protect the rights of its citizens. Many of our case results have helped with policy change around Washington, DC. Your claim could help keep other residents safe.

Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay a dime throughout the entire claims process. We will only collect a fee if we win a settlement or verdict in your favor. Call today for your free consultation – you won’t be disappointed you did.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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