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Colburn Law

Bellevue Bus Accident Attorney

Many Bellevue residents rely on buses as a safe, efficient mode of transportation. However, severe collisions can occur on a bus, leading to serious injuries and devastating losses. If you are involved in a Bellevue bus accident, you have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the responsible party—and Colburn Law can help. Our Bellevue bus accident attorney will fight diligently for your right to compensation and help you secure the settlement you deserve.

Why Choose Colburn Law?

  • Our firm holds years of experience representing injured plaintiffs across Washington, including bus accident victims. We have secured millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients.
  • Our Bellevue personal injury attorneys prioritizes open, consistent communication from consultation to settlement. You will always have the opportunity to ask questions and receive important updates about your case.
  • We will not charge any fees unless we secure compensation on your behalf. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis to limit your out-of-pocket expenses and eliminate barriers to legal representation.

Washington State Common Carrier Laws

According to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, a common carrier refers to any company or person that transports passengers and property—other than household goods—for money in the state of Washington. A common carrier can be an airport shuttle, train, or public bus. Typically, common carriers are governed by a regulatory body; Metro Transit and Sound Transit are two of the agencies that provide public transportation services in Bellevue.

Common carriers have a duty to provide the highest degree of care and diligence as possible to ensure the safety of their passengers. This means that common carrier drivers, transportation companies and other parties must follow all applicable rules, laws, and regulations set forth by the federal government, state of Washington, and regulatory bodies.

Bellevue Bus Accident Injuries

When a large bus is involved in an accident, the consequences can be severe. Passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and any other person in the vicinity can suffer from very painful injuries that require emergency medical attention and, in many cases, long-term care.

Some of the most common bus accident injuries include the following.

  • Broken bones: Bus accidents can generate significant amounts of force, causing bones to break due to the impact. Common fractures in bus accidents include the wrists, legs, ankles, arms, and facial bones.
  • Spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting messages between the brain and the body. During a bus accident, the spinal cord can become severed, compressed, or otherwise injured. In many cases, spinal cord injuries lead to paralysis below the injury site.
  • Head and brain injuries: During a bus accident, you may hit your head on an object, have an object collide into you, or experience debris puncturing your skull. These incidents can cause severe head and brain injuries, which may lead to long-term complications.
  • Cuts and lacerations: Contact with the road, debris such as glass, and other sharp objects can lead to cuts and lacerations on your body during a bus accident. Depending on the severity of the cut, you may require stitches.
  • Internal organ damage: Blunt force trauma, cuts and lacerations, and other conditions during a bus accident can severely damage your internal organs. Without prompt medical attention, these injuries can be fatal.

If you are involved in a bus accident in Bellevue, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not feel injured. You may have internal injuries that you are not aware of, or shock may be numbing the pain. In any case, it is important to have a doctor examine you as soon as possible. Not only will you receive the care you need, but your medical records will also serve as valuable evidence in your future case.

Common Causes of Bellevue Bus Accidents

Bus accidents can happen for several reasons. In many cases, negligence on the part of the bus driver or another motorist is responsible for these collisions. In others, the actions of a bus company, a government agency, or maintenance personnel cause the accident. Defective auto parts and poorly installed vehicle components may also contribute to a bus accident.

Some of the most common causes of Bellevue bus accidents include the following.

  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving over the speed limit
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Defective automobile parts
  • Hiring unlicensed or untrained drivers
  • Failing to maintain or inspect vehicles
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded buses
  • Improperly installed vehicle components
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Inclement weather

Liability in Bellevue Bus Accidents

If you are injured in an accident involving a common carrier, you have the right to recover compensation for your losses. You can file a lawsuit or an insurance claim to hold the at-fault party accountable for these damages. Depending on the cause of your accident, you could file a bus driver, transportation company, or even the bus manufacturer may be liable for your collision.

  • The bus driver: If the driver’s actions led to your collision, such as driving under the influence, you could file a lawsuit against him or her directly. You can only file lawsuits against drivers who work for private bus companies; government employees are subject to different rules.
  • The bus driver’s employer: A private bus company is liable for the actions of its employees. If the accident occurred due to the company’s negligence, such as hiring unlicensed drivers or failing to maintain its fleet, you could file a lawsuit against the company directly.
  • A government agency: If a government agency hired the bus driver, it would be liable for any accidents that occur on the bus, as long as the driver’s actions caused the accident.
  • A manufacturer: If the accident occurred due to a defective bus, defective bus parts, or any other mechanical issues, the manufacturer of the bus would be liable for your accident. You could file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and any other entity along the chain of distribution.
  • The maintenance personnel: If a bus accident occurred due to improper maintenance and upkeep, the person or company responsible for maintaining the bus would be liable for the accident.
  • Another driver: If another driver’s actions caused the bus accident, you would file a lawsuit or insurance claim against that driver directly. Neither the bus driver nor company would be liable for your damages.

Your Bellevue bus accident attorney from Colburn Law can help you identify the at-fault party and understand your options for compensation. Our firm will launch an in-depth investigation into your collision and help you identify who is liable for your injuries.

What Is Bellevue’s Comparative Negligence Law?

When filing a bus accident claim, you are holding the at-fault party accountable for the losses you sustained in your collision. At the conclusion of your case, the insurance company or court will decide whether you qualify for compensation, and the amount that you should receive. If you can prove that the at-fault party’s actions caused your accident, you can recover this compensation.

However, the at-fault party may claim that you are partially responsible for the accident and are not eligible for compensation. If the insurance company accepts this claim, it could deny or reduce your settlement. If the court accepts this argument, Washington’s pure comparative negligence laws will apply.

Under these rules, the court will reduce your award by the percentage of liability you share, even if you are 99 percent at fault for the accident. For example, say that you are injured when a bus runs a red light and collides into your vehicle. The court finds that you were texting and driving at the time of the accident and assigns you 20% of the liability. If you ask for a $100,000 award, you will only receive $80,000.

Compensation for Bus Accident Claims

Through a bus accident lawsuit or insurance claim, you have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for two categories of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages involve your tangible, financial losses, such as medical bills or lost wages. On the other hand, non-economic damages involve the physical and emotional pain and suffering you endured due to the collision.

Potentially Recoverable Damages

Common types of damages available in a Bellevue bus accident claim include the following.

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Property damage
  • Disability accommodations, such as mobility equipment or live-in care
  • Specialized medical treatment, like rehabilitation or physical therapy
  • Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Chronic pain
  • Permanent disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Your attorney from Colburn Law can help you identify which forms of compensation you qualify for and gather the evidence you need to prove your right to damages.

Washington Statute of Limitations in a Bus Accident Case

If you plan on filing a bus accident lawsuit in Bellevue, it is important to act quickly. Under Washington’s statute of limitations, you have a limited amount of time to file your claim following your collision. If you do not file within the appropriate timeframe, the court will dismiss your case.

In most bus accident cases, you have three years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit against a driver, private bus company, manufacturer, or individual involved in the collision. There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, but these circumstances are not always common in bus accident claims.

For example, if the at-fault party leaves the state of Washington for a period of time after the accident, the state will not count his or her absence against your statute of limitations. The clock will stop when the at-fault party leaves Washington and begin running once he or she returns to the state.

If your case involves a government agency, you will need to follow a different statute of limitations rules for state, local, and county agencies. For example, if you are filing a lawsuit against a Washington state government agency, you must file a notice with the agency within three years of your accident. During the next 60 days, the state will decide whether or not to approve your claim and provide you with a settlement. If the state denies your claim, you can then file your lawsuit in civil court.

Speak to a lawyer at Colburn Law as soon as possible to identify your appropriate filing deadline and protect your right to compensation.

Why Do I Need a Bus Accident Lawyer?

When filing a bus accident claim, you need an attorney on your side. A Bellevue bus accident lawyer from Colburn Law has the skills, experience, and knowledge you need to navigate your claim, delivering important benefits to support your case. Some key advantages of hiring a bus accident attorney include the following.

  • The bus accident claims process can be complicated and difficult to navigate, especially after a recent injury. Your lawyer will guide you through this process and help you prepare for each stage. He or she will also handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on healing, not complex litigation.
  • Your attorney will have the resources and skills to fully investigate your accident, helping you gather important pieces of evidence and identify the at-fault party in complex collisions.
  • You may not understand the full extent of your injuries and damages. Your lawyer can evaluate your case and accurately calculate your estimated settlement, helping you avoid an insufficient award offer.
  • You may need to negotiate with insurance representatives throughout your claim. Your attorney will have the skills and experience to navigate these discussions on your behalf, advocating aggressively for your best interests during each stage of your case.
  • Your bus accident claim may go to trial if negotiations are unsuccessful. Your lawyer will have significant courtroom experience and will be able to craft a compelling case in your favor, helping prove to the court that you deserve compensation.

Contact a Bellevue Bus Accident Attorney

If you are injured in a Bellevue bus crash, you deserve justice—and Colburn Law can help. Our Bellevue bus accident attorney will guide you through the claims process and advocate aggressively for your right to maximum recovery. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and discuss your optimal path to compensation.