Mississippi Bus Accident Lawyers
When we hop on a bus, we don’t anticipate it ending in disaster. Buses are a great method of transportation for those who don’t have a car to get around or choose not to travel in cars. If you’re reading this today, however, you have most likely been involved in an accident involving this form of public transportation. We are so sorry that you have to deal with the damages. Suffering an accident like this can be traumatic. Our Mississippi bus accident lawyer wants to stand for your justice. We can help you deal with your case head-on and manage any obstacles that come your way. We fight for your rights to justice tirelessly. If you are looking for legal representation to win your claim, please call our office today to set up a free first consultation.
How Bus Accident Claims Work
To preface, we understand that a bus accident could mean that you were already on the bus when an accident occurred or you were getting on a bus when an accident occurred. Either way, your claim is going to look pretty similar. Here is a guideline to how each claim roughly looks, understanding that everything in litigation is going to vary from case to case.
You are considered the plaintiff after being involved in a bus accident. Immediately following the bus accident, you need to report your incident. You must make an accident report. That might mean talking to the bus driver or it could mean calling the authorities. There needs to be an official record of you being on that bus and being injured on that bus. You also want to collect evidence, such as witness contact information and photos and videos from the scene of the accident.
Bus accident claims are brought against the liable party. With a bus accident claim, there might be an individual who was personally responsible for causing the accident or you might be bringing your claim against the municipality. Your Mississippi bus accident lawyer will help you determine who you are bringing the claim against and how. In order to have a liable party, you need to prove that they indeed caused the accident and, had they acted differently, you would not have been harmed.
As soon as you have a liable party, you and your Mississippi bus accident lawyer should get to work immediately to bring your claim against them. This liable party is going to be represented by their insurance company, which is financially responsible for compensating you for your damages.
From here, your Mississippi bus accident lawyer will build a strong case for you and fight tirelessly to get the results that you deserve. If that means going to trial, then that will happen. We don’t settle for low settlement offers if we feel that they don’t fully and fairly reflect the damages that you have suffered. We will take your case all the way to trial to hold these liable parties responsible for all of the suffering you’ve had to endure.
Our Mississippi bus accident lawyer has handled cases like yours successfully in the past, delivering results that are not only full but also fair.
Tips for a Successful Bus Accident Claim
Here are some useful tips that you should utilize if you have been involved in a bus accident:
First and foremost, when you are involved in an accident, you are dealing with the insurance company that wants nothing more than to get rid of your case so they can save money. They have a tool that allows them to back you into a corner and get you to ruin your own case— a recorded statement. They reach out to you shortly after your accident, regardless of whether or not you are in the hospital under sedation, and they see if you will give them a recorded statement. You have no legal obligation to them and you should never give them a recorded statement because they are trained to ask you questions that force you to answer in a way that benefits them, not you. You should let your Mississippi bus accident lawyer handle communications with the insurance company on your behalf.
Everything that you need to do needs to be done with urgency. You need to get yourself to an emergency room or an urgent care facility as soon as you possibly can. You don’t want to delay reaching out to a Mississippi bus accident lawyer to see what justice you are entitled to. If there is any chance that you can collect evidence at the scene, you want to do it right away because it gets cleaned up and disappears before you even know it.
Personal injury cases are extremely time sensitive. The sooner you get in contact with a lawyer, the better off you will be.
How a Mississippi Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Most people who have been involved in a bus accident likely don’t know what it takes to make a case successful because they’ve never had to think about it before. A successful case comes from having knowledge of Mississippi state laws as well as federal laws pertaining specifically to bus accidents. Most people have never had to concern themselves with this kind of knowledge, and expecting victims who are already in a spot where everything is changed because of their injuries to know how to successfully litigate their own case is improbable and unfair.
We would never expect for you to basically learn an entire profession in the time that you would need to have someone by your side with that scope of knowledge. That’s why when you hire a Mississippi bus accident lawyer you are letting go of all of this pressure. You let them do what they know how to do and what they do on a daily basis. It makes everything easier to have a lawyer guide you through things instead of stumbling through them for the first time ever by yourself.
Our Mississippi bus accident lawyer knows how to anticipate every obstacle that you will have to navigate through and will do it with ease for you, instead of you figuring it out in the moment by yourself.
The Value of Your Claim
The value of a claim cannot be known during your first consultation with a lawyer. If a lawyer is telling you they know how much they can get you in compensation in your first meeting, that’s not the lawyer for you. Putting a value on a claim is a complex matter and it requires having a lot of knowledge and information about your case. With a bus accident and most other personal injury cases, we need to know what your maximum medical recovery is going to be. We need to know how much you are expected to recover and in what time period.
When we look at what the value of a claim is, we take a look at how your life has changed since you have been involved in this bus accident.
You can be compensated in two ways: non-economic compensation and economic compensation.
Taking a look at non-economic compensation means seeing how your life is different physically, emotionally, and mentally after a bus accident. Say you were a caretaker for young children and while you’re recovering, you are unable to get off the couch. That’s a big impact on your life. If you suffered anxiety and depression during your recovery, that is a non-economic damage as well. Non-economic damages also encompass the pain and suffering you’ve had to endure. It is sort of a subjective type of damage that requires care and consideration when putting a value on it.
Economic damages are more tactile. We can look at your medical bills and put them together to create the sum of how much it has personally cost you to be involved in this accident and care for your injuries. We can also look at any wages that you might have missed out on having been involved in an incident like this. Economic damages are anything that cost you money out of your own pocket because you were involved in an accident.
Our Mississippi bus accident lawyer carefully and deliberately considers how much your case is worth based on those factors.
Frequently Asked Bus Accident Questions
What should I do if I was injured as a passenger on a bus?
If you or a loved one find yourself in a situation where you’ve been injured as a passenger on a bus here in Mississippi, there’s a few things that I can recommend that you do that would not only be in your best interest, but that also may help you or your legal counsel later down the road. First of all, get the medical help that you need. The first thought on your mind shouldn’t be the legal claim, it should be getting medical attention if you’ve been injured. Get the help you need, get the treatment, do what the doctors tell you, and, most importantly, do the follow-up treatment. If they tell you to go to rehab, go to rehab. If they tell you to come in for a follow-up, come in for a follow-up. If they tell you to go see a specialist, go see a specialist. Focus on your health and getting better because ultimately that’s what it’s all about. If you don’t have your health, you really don’t have anything, as the saying goes. Get better, and get treated. Focus on your health first.
There are also legal benefits to people who get the medical treatment they need and who follow the doctor’s orders on all of the follow-up during their treatment and recovery process. A legal benefit to that is that we end up with a good, clean, consistent record of that person’s injury, their diagnosis, their treatment, and how all of that impacted their life throughout the timeline of that injury treatment and recovery. That has tremendous value later on down the line when we’re pursuing the legal claim that eventually will come. It has tremendous value from an evidentiary standpoint because we’re able to show those details and show the consistency of the treatment, but also it helps eliminate the gaps in records that we sometimes see that can cause or create problems. Medical treatment first; that’s the most important thing.
After you’ve taken care of yourself, don’t try to talk to the adjusters on your own. Don’t try to deal with the bus company or their insurance company on your own. You’re going to need legal representation if you’ve been in a bus wreck. Point blank, there’s no way around it. You are going to need legal representation if you were injured in a bus accident.
The quicker that you get that representation, once you realize you’re injured and that there’s going to be a claim, the more that your legal representation can do to protect your interests and rights to maximize the value of your claim and make sure that you are fully compensated and that you are paid the fair amount on your claim. This involves everything from documenting the site of the crash to getting experts involved early on, so they can do their work and documentation that’s going to help with your claim down the road, to dealing with the bus company, the insurance company, the adjuster, because you don’t need to be doing that on a claim like this. Getting legal representation involved early in the process is important.
Cases is which there are really catastrophic injuries or death bring out the attorneys that will just show up at your door and come knocking. Folks that you’ve never heard of, folks from three states over, show up knocking on victim’s doors. Try to avoid that. It doesn’t matter how many cases like that they’ve handled or what they tell you in terms of their competence, you should really just be wary and try to avoid attorneys like that.
The other sort of extreme, in terms of selecting counsel, involves reaching out perhaps to an attorney that the victim or their family already knows but in a different context— for instance, an attorney who did a deed for them or an attorney who handled their divorce, or the attorney who handled their speeding tickets. They may be good folks and they may have done a great job on the other work, but if you or a loved one have been involved in a bus accident, or some other type of major catastrophic personal injury event like that, you really need an attorney to represent you who does personal injury litigation day in and day out. You need someone who is not afraid to litigate the case, who’s not learning on the go, and someone who handles personal injury claims on a daily basis and is prepared to step right in and handle that litigation. It should not be someone who dabbles a little bit in this, a little bit in that, or who’s primary practice is something else. That’s no slight on anyone, it’s just good solid advice. If you were on trial for murder charges, you probably wouldn’t want to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you on that. You would want someone who’s up to speed on criminal trials and criminal representation. It’s the same thing with this – you want someone who deals with these particular cases day in, day out.
Those are the biggest pieces of advice in terms of what will get you on a path to recovery, protect your interests, and put you in the best position long-term if you or a loved one have been involved in a bus crash. Get the medical attention that you need, don’t in any way try to handle the claim on your own, get legal counsel involved early, and get appropriate competent legal counsel that handles personal injury claims on a daily basis and who will litigate your claim to get you maximum value and a fair payment.
If you have any additional questions about a bus wreck claim or any other type of personal injury claim, my name is Brad Morris. I’m here with Brad Morris Law Firm, PLLC. Just know that we’re available to answer your questions. There’s no charge for a consult of any kind. Just reach out to us through our website or give us a call, and we’ll try to get you whatever information you need, get you pointed in the right direction, and, most importantly, try to get you the help that you need and deserve on your claim. Again, my name is Brad Morris and I appreciate you taking the time to watch this.
What are common mistakes people make after a bus accident?
When it comes to claims for bus accidents, some of the common mistakes that people make that I see here in my practice in Mississippi, are not getting treatment or following up on medical treatment if it’s situation where it’s less than a catastrophic injury. When buses are involved in wrecks, unfortunately the injuries involved are typically more severe – catastrophic injury, death, or pretty severe injury – so most folks in that situation are going to get emergency medical treatment. Common across all personal injury claims, just a mistake that people frequently make is not getting follow-up treatment and not following doctor’s directions. I have to raise that point as something that you don’t want a victim to do. Not getting the medical treatment that you need is a mistake you want to avoid.
Secondly, I think probably the biggest mistake people make, in terms of bus wreck claims or bus accident claims, is that, invariably, when a bus wreck happens, it makes the news, and there are lawyers out there – and I’ll say without commenting on the practice, but there are lawyers out there who show up at the doorstep or send people knocking on the door of victims and their families trying to sign up the case. To the other extreme, victims and their families sometimes look to attorneys with whom they have an existing relationship— maybe they’ve done a will for them or they’ve done some real estate deeds, or handled a bankruptcy or handled their divorce. The reality is what a victim of a bus wreck really needs is competent legal representation by an attorney and firm that litigates personal injury cases every day and that hopefully doesn’t have to go knocking on doors to get them. I think a common mistake is either putting trust into an attorney or representation that is a complete stranger that just shows up or, on the other hand, trusting in an attorney and representation that you may have a relationship with, that may be very effective counsel on other matters for you, but who just doesn’t have experience and doesn’t work daily in personal injury litigation.
Bus wrecks tend to be complex cases involving multiple parties. Most often, more than one person is injured, there are multiple high-value claims, and there are typically significant amounts of money at stake, both in terms of the personal injury claims and potentially punitive claims, etc. Bus cases, just by nature, are complex cases on litigation because there’s multiple angles on showing liability, both from a corporate perspective, driver perspective, other vehicles involved, and proving the case in terms of liability is just a different animal than a run-of-the-mill car wreck and is certainly very different from other areas of practice like bankruptcy, divorce, or criminal law.
Working up a complex personal injury litigation, specifically a bus wreck case, is going to involve certain types of experts, too, so it’s complex litigation that you just don’t want attorneys who are learning it on the fly. You need representation from an attorney who has been involved in complex litigation, who regularly litigates personal injury cases, who is not afraid to work up the case the right way and make the investment for the experts that you need and the investigations, and who will dig in and demand fair value for the claim on behalf of that client. That’s probably the single biggest mistake – rushing into representation or not putting some time and thought into who you choose to represent on the claim.
A bus wreck claim is not a claim anyone should try to handle themselves or have a family member just deal directly with the bus carrier or the company or their insurance company or that adjuster. It doesn’t matter how big or small the claim is, that’s just a claim that you can’t do on your own. You need legal representation, and you need to put some thought and consideration into who you hire to do that.
Those are the biggest mistakes I see people make with regards to these types of claims, be they a bus wreck or an 18-wheeler wreck. To the extent that you can avoid those mistakes, you’re doing yourself or your loved one a favor.
Here at Brad Morris Law Firm, we will do our best to answer your questions. We don’t charge anything for consults. The personal injury cases that we work on are strictly on a contingency fee basis, so you have nothing to lose reaching out to us. We will do everything in our power to try to get you pointed in the right direction and make sure you get the help that you need.
Should I talk to the insurance company after a bus accident?
I’ve been asked the question whether I think it’s a good idea, if you’ve been involved in a bus crash in Mississippi, to try to talk to the insurance company of the bus carrier on your own. Let me just tell you, whether you are in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, or wherever, anywhere in the country, it is never a good idea, if you’ve been injured in a bus wreck, a car wreck, any other kind of wreck or injury, to try to talk to the insurance company for the responsible party on your own. Please, just don’t do it.
You start out that conversation at a disadvantage. What I mean by that is that insurance adjuster you’re going to be talking to spends every day working on claims like that. They spend every day adjusting claims, and they come into that conversation with a lot more knowledge than people who don’t work on claims like that every day. They have special training. They have policies and procedures in their organization that are all built around investigating that claim and looking for ways to reduce the value of your claim or to figure out a way to deny liability on that claim altogether. They’re good at their jobs because they have training, and they have practice, and if you don’t do it on a daily basis, you’re automatically starting out at a disadvantage with them. Please, for your own sake, don’t do that.
I really do truly believe, and it is sound advice, if you have been in a bus crash in Mississippi or anywhere else, that’s just not a claim that you need to even for a moment entertain handling on your own. You need legal representation. The things that you should look for in seeking out an attorney to represent you on a claim is someone who does personal injury litigation on a daily basis, has experience litigating claims, and has experience litigating complex personal injury claims like bus crashes and 18-wheeler wrecks. These bigger catastrophic injury and death claims are very different than than other cases. By hiring an attorney with the right experience, the likelihood of you getting a fair settlement is going to be much better, much higher. The likelihood of you saying or doing something inadvertently that gives the insurance company or that defendant’s company an advantage over you in your claim, is going to be much lower, as well, because you will have someone involved from day one who knows how to litigate the claim, avoid the pitfalls and can help you maximize the value of your claim and get fair value.
Whether you’re in Mississippi or anywhere else, know that if you’ve been in a bus accident, you should not be dealing with the insurance company or the bus carrier on your own. At the Brad Morris Law Firm, we have had a good deal of success for clients on these cases, representing them in catastrophic injury and death litigation, including complex litigation involving commercial vehicles. If you or a loved one have been involved in a bus crash and you have questions, or you just want to sit down for a free consult to discuss your case, reach out to us by our website or give us a call. We will do our best to get you the help that you need.
Should I take the first settlement offer from the insurance company after a bus accident?
I’ve been asked, in the context of a bus accident, whether I think it’s a good idea to take the insurance company’s first offer here in Mississippi. Really, whether you’re in Mississippi or anywhere else, first and foremost, I want to encourage you, if you or a loved one have been involved in a bus crash and have been injured, to not try to do that on your own. If you’re not an attorney doing claims adjusting on a daily basis, there are just so many pitfalls that people can fall into trying to talk to an insurance adjuster for the other side and handle the claim themselves, particularly on complex commercial vehicle litigation, which a bus crash would fall into.
When there are catastrophic injuries or potentially death involved, and there are multiple parties involved, there are also high stakes, in terms of the amount of money involved. That’s not a situation where anybody should be trying to do it on their own and represent themselves. Don’t do that. The reason I’m going through and explaining that is because most of the time, if that question is coming up – should I take the first offer from the insurance – it’s within the context of someone trying to do it on their own. That’s why it’s worth explaining why you should not be trying to negotiate on your own.
Without getting into any kind of trade secrets or how we do business or what have you, in any negotiation there are a lot of factors and strategy that go into it. I guess the point I want to make is, if you’re involved in a claim that’s arising from a bus crash or some other form of complex commercial vehicle litigation, you can rest assured the insurance adjuster on the other side and the risk manager of that company aren’t newcomers to these cases. These are the folks who do it on a regular basis, have been doing it awhile, and are used to dealing in big claims. A lot of times, once they realize they have liability and they’re going to be on the hook for that wreck and for the injuries that are arising from it, their next immediate strategy is to just try to get it resolved fast and cheap. Part of that strategy is, if they can swoop in and talk directly to the family, they know can probably get it resolved for a fraction of what the claim is worth. Just knowing that alone should give you ammunition and reason not to do it yourself or try to do it on your own.
For any claim, whether it’s a car wreck claim or medical malpractice, there is some truth to the notion that you never get the best offer upfront. You don’t get that on a car lot when you’re going to buy a car. They never make you the best offer as the first thing out of their mouth. You don’t do it in any other context of negotiation, so it’s pretty fair to say you’re probably not going to get that in legal negotiation, either. Again, without going into great detail of how we negotiate, I will tell you the secret that’s not really a secret. The people, the victims, the claimants, the plaintiffs who bring claims who get fair value and who get maximum value for their claims are the people who, one, have the facts on their side and liability, but, two, have counsel who work up that claim and prepare for trial and prepare for litigation in a way where the other side knows, and there’s no question about it, that they’ve done the work, done the preparation, and they’re prepared to get top dollar for that claim, whether it be through negotiation or whether it be at trial.
Again, this is the reason why seeking out the right representation that’s a fit for your claim is important, and why looking to someone who has a track record of experience litigating personal injury claims, track record of success with complex commercial injury claims such as bus accidents is important. You need to have the confidence that they’re going to work up that claim for you and be prepared so that the other side will see that and you will be more likely to get full value and fair value for that claim.
We’ve had success with complex commercial vehicle injury litigation here at the Brad Morris Law Firm. If you or a family member have been injured in a bus crash or some similar type of commercial vehicle incident, we’re here to answer your questions. Our goal is to get maximum value for our clients, to make sure that our clients get fair value, and what we have learned is the way to do that is to put in the hard work, invest in the cases, investigate the cases, do discovery, and to work up those cases in a way where we’re prepared to get full value and where the other side sees that we’re prepared. If you have a case rising out of a bus crash or a similar incident and want to discuss it, we offer free consults. If you just have questions, if you just need some questions answered about your bus wreck case, reach out to us on our website or give us a call. Our goal is to get you pointed in the right direction, to try to get you the help that you need.
How long will it take to resolve my bus accident claim?
We often get asked, “How long will it take to resolve my bus wreck claim here in Mississippi?” Bus wrecks happen all over the country. The buses are regulated by federal law, they’re large vehicles, and the people who drive them have a commercial driver’s license. On multiple levels, claims that arise from bus wrecks are complex litigation, and that affects the timing of the claims.
Almost invariably, when there’s a bus accident, there are multiple claims involved. If you think about it, it makes sense because buses are made to carry people, so almost always when there’s a bus wreck, there are a lot of people on the bus. The way those vehicles are designed and laid out, if it turns over or flips, people are just prone to more serious injury or death, and the sheer number of people on board just means there’s statistically more people in play to have a serious injury or death. Because of what’s involved, both the extent of injuries and the risk and exposure that the bus company’s insurance carrier has from claims arising from bus wrecks, those claims are typically hotly litigated. That means the bus company and their insurance carrier are going to fight on liability, they’re going to fight on the value of the claims, so you have to be prepared for that.
Typically, if liability is clear and the damages are clear in terms of there not being a lot of questions about future medical treatment, or the extent of the injuries are not really at question and there’s clear liability, and the bus company and their insurance carrier wants to get it resolved at a fair amount, there’s always potential, as with any personal injury case, that a bus wreck claim could resolve in three to six months of hiring counsel and do so without the need to file a lawsuit. That is not the likely scenario, though, and you need to be prepared for that going in.
Oftentimes, depending on the situation, those types of claims really justify filing suit earlier and immediately for that victim. That moves the process a little bit, but it also means that litigation is almost a certainty, taking typically 12 to 18 months. Depending on the complexity of issues involved, bus wreck cases can sometimes go longer than other litigation.
The most important thing in those types of cases, because there usually is so much at stake and because the injuries and the impact are so severe, is not being in a rush and getting it done quickly. It’s better to get it done right. It’s about being committed to getting fair value for those claims, and that means working up those cases and claims the right way. It means a commitment to going to trial, if you need to, because ultimately the client is only going to get fair value if the insurance company on the other side, the defense attorneys on the other side know you’re willing to try the case and know that you’re covering all the different details and checking all the boxes on working that case up the right way. To do that sometimes means not rushing to conclusion, but actually walking through the steps to get it done right and to maximize value for that client.
While a normal personal injury case may be 12 to 18 months, fully litigating to verdict, a bus case can take longer. They can be done in that time period, but they can take longer, depending on the complexities of the individual case. The commitment has got to be to doing it right and to getting full value for that client. If you have any questions about bus wreck claims, if you or a family member or loved one have been involved in a bus wreck and need legal assistance with the claim, we’re here to answer your questions at the Brad Morris Law Firm. We’re available for free consults. We will try to get you pointed in the right direction and, most importantly, get you the help that you need. Call or reach out to us through the website and we’ll be glad to help.
How do you determine the value of my bus accident claim?
When we talk about bus accident claims, a question we get a lot is, “How do I value my claim here in Mississippi, particularly, for instance, on a bus wreck case?” The basic types of damages are going to be similar on a bus wreck as they would be on, for instance, a car wreck or a wreck involving an 18-wheeler or other forms of personal injury cases. The way that we work up and prove a bus wreck case, though, would be very different because the vehicle itself involved is so different.
There are different layers of regulation involved that you have to think about, and there is a different standard of driver’s license for that driver. In terms of the injured person’s damages, here in Mississippi – and this is going to be similar in most states – the broad categories of damages are economic damages and non-economic damages. There are also punitive damages that can regularly become involved in significant cases like a bus wreck case, since the industry is highly regulated and we don’t want bus wrecks regularly. We want to discourage behavior that would lead to crashes, so punitive damages sometimes come into play on a case like that more frequently and in larger amounts than in other cases. Let’s look at each of those real quick.
Using the example of a bus wreck, an injured person’s economic damages are the damages that we can put a dollar amount next to, that show actual economic loss of that victim. The actual economic loss, for instance, could be past medical bills, any future medical bills or medical treatment the victim is going to need, lost wages in the past, lost wages in the future – and that could be from not being able to work at all. For instance, in the situation of a catastrophic injury, if we’re talking a wrongful death case, that person’s obviously not going to be able to work again if they’re deceased, so the wrongdoer has to compensate for that lost income in the future. For others, perhaps there’s an injury or some type of permanent disability that happened as a result of the injury. That means they may be able to work, but they may not be able to do what they once did or what they would’ve been doing had it not been for the injury. In that situation, economic damages would include lost earning capacity, which doesn’t mean you completely lose all income in the future, but the party that caused and is responsible for that injury should have to pay that difference between what you would’ve made and what you’re going to make now. Obviously, any property damage might come up, but all of these things are actual economic damages that we can show dollar amounts and prove what the value is.
Non-economic damages are the damages that relate more to mental and emotional pain – the damages that we all know are real, that the law recognizes as compensable, but that don’t tie into a specific economic loss. These include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium with a husband or a wife or sons or daughters, the loss of or the impact on that relationship, whether it be because of the injury, and certainly in situations where there’s death that comes into play. All of those come into play, particularly when you’re talking in the context of something as severe as a bus wreck, where serious injury or death is likely, then usually those numbers can be significant.
Finally, the punitive damages that I mentioned is a category of damages related to driver conduct. If it’s shown that, for instance, the bus company or the operator had engaged in conduct that just goes beyond the pale that sort of shocks the conscience, they would be responsible for punitive damages. In Mississippi the standard for punitive damages is what we call willful, wanton or reckless conduct with disregard for the safety of others. In other states, that threshold is defined differently, but most of them follow some similar pattern indicating willful conduct or reckless conduct that really endangers the public or shocks the conscience. Those come into play to the point of holding the wrongdoer accountable, but, more than that, really punishing them for this outrageous conduct and making an example of them so that other bus carriers, other people in trust in that position don’t’ repeat that conduct, so others are not injured in the future as a result of similar conduct. It’s really for a deterrent, for a punishment, to help protect the public. In these types of cases where we’re talking about something as catastrophic as a bus wreck, oftentimes punitive damages come into play, whereas they may not come into play in other cases.
Those briefly summarize all the different forms of damages that can come into play in a bus accident or an injury arising from a bus accident. The important thing is that anyone with a potential claim arising from a bus wreck really needs a competent experienced trial counsel. You need representation by an attorney with experience on personal injury claims, experience with these types of claims, who knows how to pursue and document every aspect of damages so that nothing is overlooked, and who’s also prepared to litigate the case, to build the case to get full value for that client.
We here at Brad Morris Law Firm, PLLC litigate personal injury cases every day. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus wreck, we’re here to answer your questions. Just reach out to us by our website or by phone, and we will do our best to get you pointed in the right direction and, most importantly, to get you the help that you need.
How do I choose the right bus accident injury attorney?
If you or a loved one have been involved in a bus accident here in Mississippi, there are several things that you should consider when looking for an attorney to represent you on those claims. One is, almost without exception, if there is an injury involving a bus wreck, it typically involves pretty serious injuries, oftentimes death, so there is almost always a lot at stake. The nature of a bus wreck also means that there are likely multiple claims involved because a bus, by design, is built to carry multiple people. When a bus is involved in a wreck, it almost always means that there’s a lot of people on the bus just through numbers and also by setup and design of those vehicles.
There are usually multiple injuries, often involving serious injury or death, so there’s a lot at stake in these claims, not just for the individuals who were harmed, but also for that bus company and the insurance carriers who cover them. Because there’s a lot at stake, typically the damages in those cases are highly contested, and liability becomes contested. There are complex issues, in terms of regulation of motor carriers and business, even when used by a single business or even when rented for private use. Those vehicles are specially regulated, the drivers have special licenses, and the size of those vehicles creates a unique set of facts.
Those cases tend to be more complex and they tend to be higher value with a lot more at stake. As such, it is really essential when choosing an attorney for a claim like that to look to someone who has a solid record of working on personal injury claims. This is not the type of case for a Johnny-come-lately attorney on a personal injury claim. It’s just not the type of case that you want your divorce lawyer or your misdemeanor traffic defense attorney or your bankruptcy attorney representing you on. A bus wreck claim really necessitates a personal injury attorney— someone who litigates personal injury cases regularly, on a daily basis, who understands litigation of personal injury claims, who ideally has had some involvement in motor carrier or large commercial vehicle litigation so that they understand the ins and outs of what lies ahead on that particular claim.
You also want someone with a willingness to go to trial, a willingness to work up a case for trial— someone with a track record of getting solid results for clients and a track record of success on litigating personal injury cases. Here at Brad Morris Law Firm, we have a proven record of success in litigating personal injury cases for our clients. We are available to assist with catastrophic injuries and deaths that arise from bus accidents. If you, a family member or loved one have been involved in a bus wreck, we’re here to answer your questions. Just reach out to us by phone or through our website, and we will work to get you the help that you need in that case. Call us if we can help.
How are bus accident claims different from car accident claims?
I was asked the question, “How is a bus accident claim any different from a car wreck claim here in Mississippi?” By way of analogy, I would compare a typical car wreck claim to a bus wreck claim the way that I would compare flying a little regional twin-prop airplane from one airport to an airport a few hundred miles away to riding a spaceship to the International Space Station or the moon. Are they similar? Yeah. They both involve flight, both involve some complex learning and skills, and you need a specialized person involved in both, but the complexity and the stakes are very different from one scenario to the other.
A typical car wreck claim can involve some tremendous catastrophic injuries. All of us know that there are deaths that result from car wrecks, and those are catastrophic to the people involved, both the victim and their families who are victims as well. The complexity of piecing together what happened— the injuries, the reconstruction of all the evidence, etc.— is just different when a large commercial vehicle is involved, particularly a commercial passenger vehicle, such as a bus. There are many additional layers of regulation, along with corporate oversight, corporate involvement, and corporate supervision. Almost always when there’s a bus or tractor trailer involved, for instance, you’re dealing with not only a commercial driver with a commercial driver’s license, but also with a corporate entity with multiple layers of management.
The areas that you have to delve into on a bus crash case are much more complex, as a result, than a typical car wreck claim. You’re going to need to look into the corporate defendants— look into their hiring, their training and supervision practices. You’ve got to look into all the different areas that are regulated by state or federal law, in terms of operation of that vehicle to see if those things were complied with and, if not, did any of that noncompliance contribute to this crash. You also need to look at the extent and severity of damages that happen. Also, by nature in a bus crash, you’re almost always going to have multiple defendants. You’re almost always going to have multiple plaintiffs, where you have multiple parties who were injured, who are involved in the litigation. The insurance companies involved are more specialized, the policies are generally higher and greater, and there’s more money at stake, which kind of raises the game and the stakes for everyone.
The way you investigate those cases is different from a car wreck. The reconstructionists, the experts that you need who are going to testify and comment and prove up the case in terms of liability, will be higher in number and they will be doing more complex work than on a car case. Anytime there’s a bus wreck case, any person who is the victim of a bus wreck, who’s been injured in a bus wreck or who has a family member or a loved one who’s been injured, needs to understand the complexity of that case is so much more than a typical car wreck case. It’s just imperative that you have legal counsel who deals with personal injury litigation regularly and doesn’t just process claims.
On a car wreck case, a lot of times you’re just talking to the adjuster, and you may have to work up the case for litigation. My firm, for instance, we regularly litigate car wreck cases to make sure that our clients get what they deserve, but the way you work up a car wreck case and the adjusters that you’re dealing with are very different from big complex commercial vehicle litigation. To handle it effectively, you need to have some experience in that. The powers that be got to know that you’re willing to litigate. They’ve got to know that you’re going to work up that case in the right way. Victims and their families need to look for representation from attorneys that have experience in this type of complex litigation and who are going to work it up in the right way and put in the resources that are needed to get the job done and get them fair value for that claim.
We are Brad Morris Law Firm. If you have any questions about an injury of yourself or of a family member or loved one that arises from a bus crash, reach out to us. You can reach us through our website or you can call us on the phone. We’ll be happy to do a free consult with you to answer your questions, point you in the right direction, and get you the help that you need on that claim. Reach out to us if you have further questions or if we can help you out in any way.
Can I sue the school if my child was injured on a school bus?
When we discuss bus wrecks, sometimes that conversation shifts to claims related to school buses, so not just commercial vehicles but transportation vehicles for schools or other public entities. I just recently had an inquiry from someone whose child had been injured on a school bus. They wanted to know if it was even possible in Mississippi to hold the school bus operator, the school district, or the school liable for injury on a school bus. The answer to that question is yes. In a bus wreck involving a commercial operator, thoses cases involve more personal injury claims just by their nature.
A case involving a school bus, on the other hand, is actually even more complex than that. In addition to all the other considerations that go into a bus accident claim involving commercial carriers, there’s an added level of issues that have to be worked through on a school bus. Most of that arises from a concept that we call sovereign immunity, an ancient legal doctrine passed down into the American legal system from our ties with England. This doctrine states the “sovereign”— i.e. the crown or, in our case, the government— cannot be sued or held accountable except for things that the government agrees to be held accountable for. As contrarian as that may seem to a lot of fundamental American concepts and values, that doctrine has been included in our law.
I think pretty much every state has some form of this to different degrees, even the federal government has a form of this in place. In Mississippi, we have the doctrine of sovereign immunity embedded in our laws. You can only bring lawsuits against the state of Mississippi or state and local governments, including cities, counties, the state government and any entities or subsidiaries under them. For instance, a public utility that’s wholly owned by a city or a county is going to have certain protections under sovereign immunity, as well. Within the last 10 to 15 years, Mississippi has had a major sub-state supreme court ruling come down that helped redefine how we approach sovereign immunity in this state. You often hear terms about managerial discretion, and different forms of discretionary immunity are official immunity. All of that comes into play in terms of how our courts interpret whether or not sovereign immunity applies in all cases where a government entity is involved. The question is, is there some form of exception that’s been carved out by the legislature that allows for lawsuits on that issue?
We’re in a period right now in Mississippi in which there is a lot of discussion about which claims may be brought and compensated and which claims cannot be brought and compensated. Some of this is covered and codified in what we call the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, which is the statute that sets forth and allows certain claims to be brought against state and local government here. When we layer in recent supreme court rulings, all that comes into play on claims brought against public entities.
As such, injuries arising from a passenger on a school bus in Mississippi are also going to have that added level of complexity and analysis whereby we have to take into consideration sovereign immunity. In general, yes, claims can be brought based on injuries on school buses. The extent of that, though, is going to depend on the causes of the injuries. Was it a crash? Was it a crash involving the school bus driver? Was it a crash involving a third party? Was it an injury that had nothing to do with a wreck but some other form of injury? All that’s going to come into play, and there are tons of legal issues that have to be worked through. The practical advice that really needs to get through to you is there is no way to navigate a potential claim arising from an injury on a school bus in Mississippi without legal counsel. What’s more, it needs to be legal counsel that does personal injury litigation regularly. It needs to be legal counsel that has experience in claims against city, state, local governments in Mississippi specifically, as well.
A big, big difference in Mississippi between a regular bus crash and a school bus crash, or injury arising on a bus versus an injury arising on a school bus, is the statute of limitations. Our general statute of limitations is three years, which would apply to most bus crashes. If a school bus is involved, understand that timeline goes down to one year. There are potentially some ways to extend that, when minors are involved, but understand that that is a specific example of how a school bus being involved has a huge impact on the law that may be involved in the case, on how the case needs to be worked up, and how the case needs to be approached. It’s only through competent counsel with experience, not only in personal injury litigation but complex commercial vehicle litigation, that your claim will be handled correctly and you will get fair value for that claim.
If you have any questions about injuries on school buses, feel free to reach out to my firm. We’re the Brad Morris Law Firm. We’ll be happy to try to answer your questions and get you the help that you need. Give us a call.
Call Our Mississippi Bus Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been involved in a bus accident in Mississippi and you were left seriously harmed, we want you to know that you should reach out as soon as you possibly can. You are entitled to justice and we know how to fight for you. We want to guide you through your case every step of the way so you always know what is to be expected. We will be fierce advocates for you and stand up to the liable party to hold them accountable for what they have done to you. We will take care of everything so that you can focus on yourself and your family and your recovery. Please reach out to us as soon as you possibly can to get started on the path to justice. Set up your free consultation today.