I-465 around Indianapolis is famously unkind to unfamiliar travelers. If you’re staying in downtown Indianapolis, though, you may find yourself forgoing the infamous Spaghetti Bowl in favor of local transportation. While the convenience of local transportation is one of its biggest draws, there are still some dangers to which you can fall prey.
Bus drivers who behave negligently behind the wheel, fail to train for roadway driving, or deliberately endanger themselves can cause multi-vehicle accidents. These accidents can leave you with significant injuries and bills. Fortunately, you can bring a bus driver’s negligence to Vaughan & Vaughan’s Indianapolis bus accident attorneys.
Who to Hold Liable for Indianapolis Bus Accidents
The question of bus accident liability determines who you can lay the blame on after you consider the full extent of your losses. You need to establish bus accident liability and then back that claim with evidence if you want to demand damages equivalent to or exceeding the value of your case.
Unfortunately, there are several external factors that can complicate your efforts to establish bus accident liability in a personal injury claim. Our Indianapolis bus accident lawyers have to consider the role contracts can have in your pursuit of justice.
With that in mind, the parties that you may have the right to hold responsible for a recent bus accident can include:
An Independent Bus Driver
Some bus drivers operate as independent contractors through larger institutions. These drivers do not benefit from the same protections that employees on a 1099 do. Instead, independently-employed bus drivers are expected to represent their own interests in civil court, as their relationship with a bussing agency is specifically client-provider.
This means that if you get into an accident with a bus driver working on an independent contract, you cannot hold that bus driver’s client liable for your losses. You must instead communicate your losses with that individual and their applicable insurance provider.
A Bus Company
If the bus driver who causes your accident does work as a full-time employee within a larger company, then that driver’s employer may be liable for your losses. You need to assess the specific nature of a bus driver’s contract, however, before you file your claim with a civil judge.
Corporations hiring bus drivers or parties in similar positions often have an in-house legal team that they can turn to in the face of civil claims. You should prepare to negotiate with this party upon filing your claim. You may even come into contact with the team before your claim goes to court, should the company make you a settlement offer.
Our bus accident attorneys in Indianapolis know how to address a corporate legal team and can advocate for your fair treatment throughout the negotiating process.
The Local Government
Indianapolis representatives are responsible for maintaining local roads, encouraging safe roadway behavior, and responding to dangerous conditions in a reasonable amount of time. Officials who fail to uphold their responsibilities to Indianapolis residents can find themselves responsible for local bus accidents.
Similarly, government officials who head Indianapolis’s public transit system may see themselves held responsible for the behavior of a negligent bus driver after an accident.
However, many government officials and their related bodies benefit from qualified immunity. This means that it may be more difficult than you initially anticipated to bring a complaint against the party responsible for your accident. Fortunately, our team can break down an at-fault party’s qualified immunity and take appropriate responsive action.
How to Argue for Bus Accident Compensation
When you move to name another party liable for your bus accident losses, you need to present evidence to back your assertion of fault alongside your civil claim. This evidence must indicate that the named party violated the duty of care owed to you at the time of your accident. Viable forms of evidence that you can use to establish liability can include:
- Video footage of an accident
- Photos of an accident
- Social media posts discussing your accident
- Physical debris and damaged property from the scene
- Bystander input
- Expert witness statements
This same evidence can come in handy when you move to argue for the financial support you deserve in the face of your losses. You can calculate an estimate of your total-owed compensation with an attorney during your pre-trial conversations. So long as we can defend your request for financial support, you can argue for your right to coverage.
You’ll want to work with an attorney to establish an estimate of your case’s total value early into your pursuit of compensation. Knowing the value of your case makes it easier for you to shoot down insufficient settlement offers. It also gives you a negotiating point to start from, should you want to try and resolve your case outside of court.
When to File a Bus Accident Civil Claim
Indiana Code §34-11-2-4 dictates the timeline on which bus accident survivors must bring their complaints forward to a civil judge. You have two years from the anniversary of your accident to tact. If you don’t act within this timeline, you may lose your right to financial support as awarded through the Indiana civil court system.
That said, factors including the identity of the party liable for your accident can change how long you have to bring a bus accident complaint before a civil judge. You can talk with a bus accident lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, to factor any additional limitations on your time into your effort to fight for compensation.
Vaughan & Vaughan Supports Bus Accident Survivors
In the end, it doesn’t matter if a bus driver operates independently, works for the city, or is employed by a private company. If a bus driver’s negligence resulted in an accident and your subsequent losses, you can take civil action against that offending party. Our Indianapolis bus accident lawyers can give you the legal advice you need to move a claim forward.
Contact our office for more information about how Vaughan & Vaughan can put its several decades of combined legal experience to use for you. We’re available to schedule a free consultation over the phone or through our online contact form.