Bus accident injury compensation claims
This guide sets out everything you need to know about making a successful bus or coach accident compensation claim.
Bus accident statistics
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.
Between 2007 and 2015 accidents involving buses claimed one life every 3 weeks in London.
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.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
A bus or coach injury claim should be possible if you were injured:
- in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and
- someone (e.g. the driver, bus company, other road user etc) else was to blame.
Even if you qualify, however, some solicitors may not take on your claim for other reasons.
Our panel of personal injury solicitors have assisted in numerous bus accident claims, with circumstances including:
- The driver lost concentration and hit another vehicle
- The driver closed the bus doors before the passenger was able to get off the bus
- A passenger slipped on a spilt liquid in the aisle
- The driver moved off and accelerated while a passenger was making their way to a seat
- A passenger banged their head on the seat in front when the driver braked abruptly
- A person standing at a bus stop was hit by the bus
- Another motorist caused an obstruction, resulting in the bus driver veering off course
- A passenger was injured by faulty equipment on the bus
- A standing passenger was thrown off balance by unexpected braking
- A pedestrian was hit by a bus when crossing the road
Who is responsible?
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.
However, the bus driver and company have a duty of care for your safety, delivering you unharmed to your destination.
Often there is no collision and the claim relates to passengers injured solely because the bus driver has driven in an unsafe manner causing injury.
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.
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:
- Get the driver's name and number
- 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
- Get the contact details of any witnesses
If after your accident you wish to pursue your claim for personal injury, the medical records will help form the basis of your claim.
How soon after the accident should you contact a solicitor?
As soon as you are able you should contact a personal injury solicitor.
This will help as you will be able to provide the information needed when it is fresh in your mind. Your solicitor will also be able 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 you will probably 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 build a case.
How compensation could help you
Financial compensation is not an adequate substitute for an injury.
Personal injury law aims, as a fundamental principle, to return a person to the position they would have been in if the accident or illness had not happened.
Compensation 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
Your compensation settlement will be based on:
- General damages are awarded for “pain, suffering and loss of amenity”. General damages will be calculated based on the severity of your injury, and the specific impact that your injuries have had on your life.
- Special damages are awarded for any other costs or losses. These could include lost wages, the cost of medical treatment (e.g. physiotherapy or osteopathy) and any financial losses or expenses incurred.
Unless you are self-funding, claims solicitors now work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
No Win No Fee is an agreement (technically known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') which is entered into between the injured person and the personal injury solicitor.
No Win No Fee means that if your bus accident claim is not successful then you would pay no legal fees at all.
If you do win your case, a success fee will be deducted from the compensation award and paid to the solicitor.
How can Quittance help?
Quittance is a panel of highly experienced personal injury solicitors. Our solicitors have an excellent track record of winning bus and coach injury claims and will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.
To speak to us about your claim, without obligation, call 0800 612 7456 or click here to arrange a callback.
Meet the team
Quittance's nationwide network of solicitors handle all types of road accident claims and have a wealth of experience in fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Our lawyers are selected for their knowledge and expertise and their track record in winning cases.