Early on the morning of December 3, 2018, a charter bus carrying an Orange Mound youth all-star football team ran off the road and overturned in a ditch after the bus driver lost control. A third-grade child died and at least 45 other children and chaperones were injured. Two passengers had to be airlifted from the scene. The bus was owned by Scott Shuttle Service out of Somerville, Tennessee. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, speak to a Joplin personal injury lawyer for advice to determine whether you may have a claim.
The Dangers of Bus Crashes
While fatal bus crashes are not that common, the dangers of long-distance driving on interstates cannot be overstated. While it was not immediately determined why the bus driver lost control, there are a few common causes of bus accidents like this one, including:
- Driving too fast for road or weather conditions
- Driving too fast around curves
- Fatigue or inattentiveness
- Braking issues
- Tire malfunctions
Most of the time, the accidents could have been prevented. Factors such as heavy traffic, weather conditions, fatigue, and inattention or distraction commonly play a role in these accidents, but the negligence of the driver could possibly be the ultimate cause.
Determining Liability in an Accident
For a Joplin personal injury lawyer to help you recover for injuries in an auto accident, the first step is to determine who is at fault. Liability must first be established by determining who caused the accident or whose negligence resulted in your injuries. If the accident was serious and your injuries were severe, then there may be substantial repair costs and medical expenses. The person or persons determined to be at fault are the ones who will be held responsible for compensating the victim for their damages.
Individuals Other than the Driver May Be Liable
If you have been injured in an accident, determining who is responsible for your injuries can be complicated, but if you start with these common defendants, you are more likely to consider everyone who could possibly be liable:
- the driver of the vehicle
- the owner of the vehicle
- the person or company that leased the vehicle from the owner
- the manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other equipment that may have caused the accident, or made it more severe
Consulting with a Joplin personal injury lawyer who is experienced in accident cases is the best decision to make.
Why Determining Liability is So Crucial
The issue of fault is the most important component of a lawsuit. If you cannot determine the appropriate person to sue you will be unable to file a lawsuit. If more than one party is accused of liability, determining who is at fault requires identifying the levels of fault. In other words, each party will only be responsible for the amount of damages that can be attributed to his or her actions. Your Joplin personal injury lawyer can review your case and help you determine who the appropriate defendants should be.
Investigating and Gathering Evidence to Prove Liability
Proving fault in the legal context involves discovering and offering evidence. The evidence you will typically need to gather in an auto accident will include photos of the accident scene and injuries, eyewitness testimony and police reports. Depending on the applicable legal standard in your state, fault can be established either proven beyond any reasonable doubt or through clear and convincing evidence. Either way, the standard of proof is relatively low as the allegations of fault do not have to be indisputable.
How Much Can You Recover for Damages?
The purpose of a damages award in a personal injury case is to make the victim “whole.” This basically means compensating the victim for everything was lost as a result of the accident or injury. The only way to accomplish that is through a monetary award. The amount of compensation you may recover after an accident depends on the type of damages you suffered. Each claim is different, both factually and with regard to which laws apply to your claim. The most important element used in determining the value of an accident claim is the nature and seriousness of your injuries.
If you have questions regarding bus accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 616-6356.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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