You may be able to make a bus accident claim for compensation if you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault.
Bus passengers often get injured in road traffic accidents because they can be thrown around the bus, largely due to the fact that there are often no seatbelts. Some common injuries during bus accidents are bruises, cuts, fractures, whiplash injuries and head injuries.
Passengers that are injured in a collision on a coach or a bus can claim compensation for their personal injuries where the RTA was due to carelessness or negligence on somebody else’s part. Personal injury compensation serves to compensate the passenger or bus driver for their suffering and pain as well as for other expenses that occurred because of the accident – for example prescription costs, treatment costs and lost earnings from not being able to work.
It is always a good idea to seek advice from a road traffic accident solicitor as they will be able to tell you how likely it is for your bus accident claim to be successful and will be able to tell you how to proceed in your compensation claim.
Making a bus accident claim
If you suffer injuries in a bus accident, whatever the reason, you need to have evidence to support your case. Strong evidence will strengthen your bus accident claim. Examples of evidence include:
- Noting down the date and time the accident occurred as well as the location, bus number and bus driver’s details
- Reporting the accident to the police
- Reporting the accident to the bus company
- A written record of the bus accidents in detail – make sure that you do this as soon as possible so that you don’t forget important details
- Contact information from bystanders or other bus passengers so that they can be used as witnesses if necessary
- Noting down of vehicle details if there were 3rd parties involved in the accident
- Photographic evidence of the scene
- Photographs of any injuries you sustained, if they are visible
- Medical reports
- CCTV footage or dashcam footage
The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be.
Theoretically, it should be straightforward to claim compensation for an injury that occurred in a bus accident. Sadly, it can be quite challenging in reality. This is because there are a huge number of variables. For example, if you bumped your head on a bus seat, this might have happened because of poor road conditions rather than careless driving. Perhaps you had whiplash as a result of an emergency stop because of a pedestrian walking in front of the bus.
How much compensation could I claim for a bus accident?
When a solicitor calculates the compensation for your bus accident injuries, they will take two factors into account – special damages and general damages.
Special damages are paid for financial losses that a bus accident has caused. This could be prescription costs or loss of income from being unable to work, for example.
General damages are paid for suffering and pain caused by the injury. The solicitor will, therefore, take the following into account:
- How severe your physical injuries are
- Whether or not you have experienced emotional distress and trauma
- The cost of your immediate medical treatment and longer-term medical treatment, as well as medication costs
- Travel costs from having to attend medical appointments
- Loss of income if you are unable to work
- Loss of financial benefits like promotions or bonuses
- Expenses for things like rehabilitation devices and structural changes in your home
You should rest assured that a personal injury solicitor will endeavour to claim compensation for all that you are entitled to.
Get advice for your bus accident compensation claim
Lots of personal injury solicitors offer free consultations where you can get free advice and many also work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. With a no win, no fee agreement, you are able to make a bus accident claim without having to pay anything upfront and if you don’t win, you won’t have to cover any legal fee costs yourself. This means that solicitors might only take on bus accident compensation claims when they have a really strong case and are likely to win.
Bus accident claims FAQ’s
Who do you claim compensation from?
This depends entirely on your unique case. It depends on who was a fault for the bus accident. For example:
Accidents on board a bus/coach with other vehicles involved
When a coach or bus crashes, there are often other parties at risk of personal injury. Other road users like pedestrians, car drivers, motorbike riders and cyclists are also at risk of harm. If you have been involved in an accident that has been caused by a bus driver, then you might be able to claim compensation. Just like every driver of a motor vehicle, bus drivers have to be insured in case they have an accident. If you make a claim for compensation, it will be the driver or the driver’s employer whose policy will be used.
Bus accidents due to bad road conditions
If the bus accident that caused the injury happened because of bad road conditions then it would almost certainly be the responsibility of the Local Authority. The Highways Act of 1980 contains all of the relevant legislation regarding road upkeep. Local Authorities have to keep roads safe. They need to repair damage to the roads, remove any obstructions and treat ice and snow.
To show that a Local Authority has acted negligently, you will need to show that they have been aware of a problem and had sufficient time to rectify it. For this, it might be necessary to make a request with the Freedom of Information Act to find out how often road inspections have taken place and to see if any problems had been noted. If necessary, you can request CCTV recordings of the accident. It’s also worth noting that the vast majority of buses are fitted with CCTV cameras, according to the Department for Transport.
What are bus companies legal obligations?
The media often portrays claiming compensation for an RTA in an unusual way – the case examples they show often focus on egregious or unusual cases with clients and solicitors trying to take advantage. In reality, the nature of ‘no win no fee’ claims means that solicitors will in most cases only take on a bus accident claim if you have a very good chance of succeeding. For a bus accident, the circumstances are usually due to the fact that you place trust in a bus driver or company and they behaved negligently, thus abusing that trust and resulting in your personal injury.
People who run bus companies have to have a PSV (Public Service Vehicle) Operators licence and they have to abide by various Acts and Regulations including the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981.
This licence is a requirement for all vehicles that take nine or more paying passengers and to obtain the licence the driver or company needs to carry out the following tasks:
- Check tachographs for calibration and malfunction
- Keep records of tachograph charts, timetables and rotas
- Check speed limiters
- Check that all of the drivers have a driving licence, a professional competence certificate, a smart card and suitable training
- Check MOT details and dates
- Make sure that the insurance details are all up to date
- Check that weight limits for the vehicle are complied with when carrying passengers
- Check that the vehicle meets passenger safety needs i.e. it complies with legislation like the Disability Discrimination Act
- Maintain records of safety inspections and maintenance repairs
Since these obligations are numerous, any personal injury that is caused by the failure to meet them or by other negligence is highly serious and the injured party could claim compensation.