A guide to making a No Win No Fee bus or coach accident claim
Accidents with buses can be very serious, with Department of Transport figures revealing 71 fatal accidents in 2011 involving buses or coaches in the UK.
In June 2015, a coach trip for British schoolchildren in Belgium ended in disaster when the bus crashed and overturned, killing the driver and seriously injuring several others.
Fortunately not all injury cases involving buses are as serious. However the majority of buses still do not carry seat belts and therefore the risk of injury still remains high.
The most common causes of bus and coach accidents
Bus and coach accidents can be caused by a variety of situations, including the following:
- The driver loses his concentration and hits another vehicle or stationary object
- The driver closes the bus doors before someone is able to get on or off the bus
- A passenger slips on a spilt liquid or rubbish in the aisle, causing a fall
- The driver moves off and accelerates while a passenger is making their way to a seat
- A passenger bangs their head on the seat in front when the brakes are applied abruptly
- A person standing at a bus stop is hit by the bus
- Another motorist causes an obstruction, resulting in the bus driver veering off course
- A passenger is injured by faulty or damaged equipment on the bus itself
- Someone who is standing because of a lack of seats is thrown off balance by the acceleration of the bus or unexpected braking
- A person is hit by a bus as they cross the road
Who is responsible for bus and coach accidents?
Whilst it is expected that you use a bus safely and heed the warning signs on when to stand and how to get on and off the bus, the duty of the bus driver and company they work for is to take you on your journey in a safe manner, delivering you unharmed to your destination.
A bus driver owes a duty to his or her passengers and to drive in a safe manner at all times. Often claims involve passengers who have been injured where the bus driver has driven in an unsafe manner causing injury where there has not been a collision with another vehicle.
It could be that another motorist has caused a collision, or distracted the driver in a way that risks passenger safety. It is also possible for a bus accident to be caused by a defective road surface, such as potholes.
Many buses now carry CCTV cameras which are helpful to both parties. They can prove you were travelling on the bus at the time of an accident and show how the driver acted, especially useful in showing who was at fault for an accident.
Can you claim compensation for a bus or coach accident?
If you have been injured by a bus whether as a passenger, pedestrian or in a vehicle colliding with one, in the last 3 years (or longer if you are claiming on behalf of a child) and the accident was not your fault you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries and any other losses.
What should you do if you have been injured in or by a bus?
Seeking medical attention is the first priority.
Thereafter, if you were a passenger, you should report the matter to the Police and to the bus company. The following will also help:
- keep proof that you were a passenger on the bus, so keep your ticket or pass if you have one
- Keep a record of when, where and how the accident occurred
- If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident - this can validate your account of events
If after your accident you wish to pursue your claim for personal injury, the medical records will help form the basis of your claim. You will still have to attend a further medical as part of the personal injury claims process.
How soon should you contact a solicitor?
As soon as you are able you should contact an expert solicitor. This will help as you will be able to provide the information needed when it is fresh in your mind, as well as your solicitor being better placed to make the necessary enquiries before issues arise, such as CCTV being wiped after a set period of time.
You have until 3 years after the accident to make a claim, so it does not stop you if you have already let time slip by, but the quicker you act the better your chances of a successful claim.
What if you did not get the driver's name or number?
After an accident it is accepted that you will be in shock. You will not be expected to have had the presence of mind to have obtained the driver's details at the time of the accident. It is usually sufficient to provide whatever details you know e.g. the bus route or service number, the time you got on it and where you got on. Your solicitor will use the information you do have to collate the necessary evidence.
How compensation could help you
Financial compensation is not an adequate substitute for a road traffic accident. Personal injury law has, as a fundamental principle, the notion that compensation should aim to return a person to the position they would have been in if the accident or illness had never happened. An award or settlement cannot change the past, but it should have a positive impact on your present circumstances and future recovery.
The Courts recognise that a bus or coach accident can have a life-changing impact. Compensation may be awarded:
- for any pain and suffering
- to reimburse any medical expenses such as physiotherapy
- to reimburse any other expenses or damage to personal property
- to cover any loss of earnings including those anticipated in the future
What have we done to help your claim?
Our solicitors appreciate that many potential Claimants have questions they would like to ask before starting their claim. Our panel of solicitors will answer these, addressing any additional points you wish to raise.
We have helped Claimants successfully claim compensation claims for bus or coach accidents and most cases are settled out of Court. Insurers prefer to avoid drawn-out legal action.
How much compensation can you claim for a bus accident?
Guidelines for awards are set by the Judicial College (formerly the Judicial Studies Board). Compensation awards are proposed with reference to an injury's extent and nature. Duration and likelihood of recovery will also be considered. Recommended compensation amounts consist of minimum and maximum figures for injuries.
These ranges are not set in stone but they are widely adopted and adhered to by the Courts as well as the majority of insurers. Quittance's enhanced Compensation Claims Calculator predicts the amount of compensation you could receive by referring to these guidelines as well as a number of other factors specific to your accident or illness.
Further to the figure recommended for general damages, it is also possible to claim special damages for costs you have incurred during treatment and ongoing care.
Guaranteed No Win, No Fee - No Catch
A no win no fee agreement ( known as a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement) is agreed between the claimant and a personal injury lawyer.
A no win no fee agreement is in essence the terms and conditions under which the solicitor is instructed by the client.
It outlines what the solicitors will do and how he is rewarded if your compensation claim is won.
If you decide to choose Quittance for your bus or coach accident compensation claim there are no additional fees , nothing to pay up-front and the reassurance that you wont be out of pocket.
Free Compensation Claim Report
If you a still researching your options, you may not feel ready to make a decision yet. Many potential Claimants feel more comfortable doing their own research before starting a claim, but getting the information you need to make a decision can be challenging. We created the Compensation Claim Report (CCR) to answer those questions.
A Compensation Claim Report will consider:
- the claim's chance of succeeding
- the length of time the negotiations or legal process could take
- the amount of compensation that could be awarded
The Compensation Claim Report gives a detailed assessment and compensation calculation. Get your Report here.
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