Buses are much larger, heavier, and less maneuverable than other vehicles on the road. This can present a danger to other drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bike riders when the bus driver is not paying attention, speeding, or is operating a defective bus. The damage caused by a bus can be greater than other vehicles, often trapping drivers and passengers in their vehicles, taking longer for injury victims to get help.
When a bus driver or the bus company violates traffic or safety laws or is negligent in causing an accident, the injury victim can file a claim for damages. Damages can help the injury victim recover medical bills, loss of income, future medical treatment, and pain and suffering. If you or someone you care about was injured in a bus accident in Denver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at accidentdenver.com for help.
Types of Bus Accidents in Denver
You may be familiar with a typical yellow school bus, the RTD buses around Denver, or intercity Greyhound buses. However, there are a lot of other buses on the road that may be chartered for an event, running skiers to resorts, or taking tourists around the state. A claim against a bus driver or bus company may be different depending on who owns and operates the bus line.
RTD Bus Accidents
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates most of the public transportation buses and light rail in the Denver-metro area. This is part of a government agency and as a government agency, there may be different rules that apply if a passenger, pedestrian, or the driver of another vehicle is involved in a bus accident.
Government agencies have limited governmental immunity for damage caused by negligence. However, immunity is waived for certain injuries and accidents, including for the operation of a motor vehicle owned or leased by a public entity, operated by a public employee while in the course of employment. Generally, if you are injured in a bus accident with an RTD bus, you can recover damages if the bus driver was responsible for causing the accident.
However, in claims against the government, including against RTD, there are shorter time limits to file a claim and limits to the maximum amount of damages recoverable for an accident. See the time limits below for the shorter amount of time to file a claim.
Charter Bus Accidents
There are a number of charter buses and private bus operators in Colorado. Many of these buses are taking tourists around some of the attractions of the state, or taking skiers and snowboarders to the mountains. Other private buses are operating to drive people to and from wedding venues, sporting events, or casinos.
Unfortunately, some of these bus companies put profits above safety. These buses may operate without proper inspections or upkeep of the vehicles, overdue maintenance, lack of proper training for drivers, and drivers who spend too long on the road without enough rest. When the bus driver or bus company is negligent in causing an accident, the bus company may be liable for damages.
School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents may be a special case because sovereign immunity is not always waived. Some school bus accidents may not be subject to personal injury claims. However, private schools generally cannot claim sovereign immunity. It may depend on the category of school to determine if the school is liable for damages caused by the bus driver.
Other school bus accidents may also be subject to a personal injury claim if the accident was caused by a defective part, defective tires, defective brakes, or lack of proper maintenance. If your child was injured in a school bus accident, talk to your Denver accident attorney to find out if you can recover damages and how to make sure you are compensated for your losses.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Colorado
Like other vehicle accidents, there are a number of possible causes of bus accidents in Colorado. Some bus drivers may be under stress, sleep-deprived, or distracted by the passengers. Anything that takes the driver's attention away from the road can be dangerous.
Impaired Bus Drivers
It is against the law for bus drivers to operate while impaired but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Some bus drivers may also be operating while impaired by stimulant drugs to help keep them awake. However, stimulants can also impair a bus driver's ability to drive safely.
Speeding is a common factor in bus accidents. Bus drivers may be running behind schedule and speed up to make their destination time. However, with the mass of a bus, it takes longer to stop at higher speeds, making it more dangerous if traffic suddenly stops ahead, increasing the chance of a rear-end accident.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Drivers in Colorado are familiar with the challenging road and weather conditions. The weather can change in an instant, from bright sun to snowstorm. Buses are also high-profile vehicles, making them challenging to handle in high winds. Along with snow, icy roads, and steep and winding curves, driving a bus in Colorado can be dangerous when the driver is not giving their undivided attention to the road ahead.
Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accident injuries can be more serious because passengers are often unbuckled at the time of the accident. Accidents like rollover crashes can be especially dangerous, as occupants are thrown about inside the bus, causing multiple impacts against multiple parts of the body. Another problem with bus accidents is that they often involve multiple victims, with a serious bus accident leaving dozens of people in need of emergency medical care.
Time to File a Claim After a Bus Accident
There is a limited amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit after a bus accident. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” In most motor vehicle accidents in Colorado, the statute of limitations is three years of the date of the accident. Failure to file within 3 years will likely result in dismissal of your case.
There are some exceptions to the 3-year time limit. In claims against a government entity (like RTD), there is a notice requirement. Under Colorado Revised Statutes §24-10-109, any person claiming to have suffered an injury by a public entity or employee shall file a written notice within 182 days after the date of the discovery of the injury. The notice has to include certain basic, information, including:
- The name and address of the claimant and the name and address of his attorney, if any;
- A concise statement of the factual basis of the claim, including the date, time, place, and circumstances of the act, omission, or event complained of;
- The name and address of any public employee involved, if known;
- A concise statement of the nature and the extent of the injury claimed to have been suffered; and
- A statement of the amount of monetary damages that is being requested.
If you were injured in a bus accident that may have involved a government agency or government employee, call your Denver accident lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your claim is filed in time.
In a fatal bus accident, there is a different statute of limitations that applies. The time limit for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death.
Damages in a Colorado Bus Accident
In a personal injury lawsuit, the injury victim can recover compensation from the negligent party. Damages are supposed to cover all the losses and expenses associated with the accident, including:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of support
- Property damage
Talk to an Experienced Denver Bus Accident Lawyer
When a bus driver or the bus company is responsible for your injuries, you deserve compensation for your losses. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident in the greater Denver metropolitan area, do not hesitate to contact accidentdenver.com today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation.