You may take public transportation to and from work or your college classes. Perhaps you join friends or family now and then for a trip on a motor coach.
The vast majority of bus trips are safe trips. However, accidents do happen. Here are four steps to take if you are aboard a bus that is in an accident.
1. Seek medical treatment
Even if you feel fine or think your injuries are minor, see a doctor as soon as possible. A medical evaluation is important to discover if you have unknown injuries, such as a concussion or fracture. Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash or back strain, may have delayed symptoms which are felt a day or two later. Timely medical treatment is also important for legal purposes, to establish the connection between the injury and the bus crash.
2. Get information and pictures
The bus will have a number. Take that down along with the license plate number. Get the contact information not only for the bus driver but also for the company that owns the vehicle; both can be liable for any injuries the passengers sustain. Use your cellphone to take pictures of the accident scene and the damage to the bus. In addition, take photos of the area of the bus in which you were sitting when the crash occurred.
3. Record your experience
While events are still fresh in your mind, write down details you recall about the accident or make a voice recording on your phone. Include events that happened before and after the crash. You may not recall the events perfectly, but it will be easier to record details while they are still fresh.
4. Follow through on treatment and maintain records
Keep records of your medical expenses and any others, such as lost wages due to your injuries or property damage, such as a damage to your laptop or smartphone from the impact of the collision. These records will be useful to your personal injury attorney in seeking full financial compensation on your behalf.
One more step … talk to an attorney soon
Filing a personal injury claim against a public entity such as WMATA (Metrobus) or the Maryland Transit Authority is different from a typical auto accident. An attorney can help you understand your rights and make sure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations.
There could be many causes behind a bus crash, including speeding, brake failure or a bus driver who is distracted or fatigued. It’s also possible that a third party, such as another driver or a construction contractor, shares liability for the accident. You can be thankful that you survived and that you have an advocate to manage the legalities and see that you receive a full and fair settlement.