Bus drivers and the companies that employ them are responsible for safely operating and maintaining their fleet to avoid injury to others. When the unthinkable happens, and a bus collides with a driver, the results are often catastrophic. Those injured in these accidents may face lifelong injuries, permanent disabilities, and a new way of life. If you suffered injuries in a bus accident, it’s important to remember that you have a right to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. Read on to learn more about what compensation you are entitled to after a bus accident lawsuit and how a Gulfport bus accident attorney can help you.
What Can I Recover After a Bus Accident?
Mississippi permits injured victims to recover compensatory damages through economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include losses that are readily calculable, including:
- Present and future medical expenses, including needs for rehabilitative care, hospital expenses, and home modification costs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earnings due to your inability to work the same job; and
- Property damage.
Documentations like invoices, bills, and pay stubs support your demand for economic damages and are used by your Gulfport bus accident lawyer to calculate these damages with certainty.
Non-economic damages represent the non-monetary consequences of an injury and include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Permanent disability or disfigurement,
- Loss of consortium,
- Wrongful death, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Non-economic damages compensate injured victims for losses that are not readily calculable based on receipts or other documentation. Regardless, these losses often significantly impact your daily life. Mississippi limits non-economic damage awards to a maximum of $1,000,000 in civil cases. But without an experienced bus accident attorney in Gulfport, non-economic damages are challenging to prove and recover.
Some grossly negligent or reckless conduct may result in an award of punitive damages. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are meant to compensate for your losses, punitive damages punish the defendant for their particularly wrongful conduct.
Mississippi places a cap on punitive damage awards amounting to 2% to 4% of the defendant’s net worth, whether that party is a company or an individual.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Due to the sheer size and weight difference between a bus and a car, a bus accident commonly has severe and sometimes fatal results. Determining the cause of your bus accident can assist in clearly determining who is responsible for your harm.
The most common causes of bus accidents include the following:
- Inadequate training of bus drivers;
- Bus drivers operating while fatigued;
- Bus drivers operating while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol;
- Distract driver;
- Reckless driving;
- Poor maintenance of bus fleets;
- Inclement weather conditions;
- Failing to adhere to traffic signals, including stop signs and stop lights; and
- Speeding, tailgating, or merging without checking blind spots.
Multiple defendants may be responsible for your injuries and losses in bus accidents. Holding all the right parties accountable for their negligence maximizes the financial payout you may receive.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Mississippi operates under the theory of pure comparative negligence. Under this system, an injured victim may still recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, even if they are determined to be partially at fault for the accident. For instance, under this theory, if you are found to be 80% at fault for causing the accident, you may still recover 20% of your total damages demand. A bus accident attorney in Gulfport minimizes any finding of responsibility on your part to maximize your compensation.
How Can a Gulfport Bus Accident Attorney Help Me?
A bus accident lawyer in Gulfport can help you in myriad ways after a collision. As you focus on your recovery and in more catastrophic collisions, adapting to a new way of life, a Gulfport bus accident lawyer prepares a strong case on your behalf. Their sole goal is to secure the best possible outcome. A lawyer brings the advantage of understanding the complexity of personal injury laws and how to hold the right party or parties responsible for your harm. The most common ways an attorney can assist you include:
- Investigating the cause and events leading up to the accident to determine liability;
- Interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and obtaining police accident reports that provide relevant information about the collision;
- Negotiating with insurance companies to ensure a fair settlement;
- Representing you in court if settlement negotiations fail and litigation is required;
- Ensuring that all procedural and statutory deadlines are met; and
- Keeping you informed through every step of the process.
A lawyer can do all these things for you and more.
Calculating Fair Compensation
Through the evidence gathered, your attorney reviews other important details to calculate the value of your case. Ensuring you receive the best possible outcome requires an analysis of how the accident has negatively impacted your life, both physically and emotionally. The key factors include the following:
- The extent, severity, and permanence of your injuries;
- Your earning capacity and ability to work;
- Your age and how many people are financially dependent on you; and
- Insurance coverage policies and availability of funds.
Insurance and bus companies have skilled attorneys to defend and minimize their client’s exposure. Their legal team may push you to accept a measly settlement to avoid the headache of a long, drawn-out personal injury case. Attempting to handle your case on your own without an attorney’s expertise could mean the difference between obtaining the compensation you need or ending up with medical bills you cannot pay down the road.
Smith & Holder, PLLC, is a trial and appellate law firm known for providing excellent legal representation to clients through close communication and effective strategies. We ensure our clients gain a clear understanding of their legal rights. If you have a compensation claim, we work tirelessly to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Our legal team has years of experience representing personal injury clients throughout the Gulfport and Biloxi areas. We ensure the parties responsible for your injuries and losses are held financially accountable. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.