If you ride public transportation, you should have a plan if something bad happens. Here’s the steps you should take after a bus accident to protect yourself.
We’re all taught what to do when our vehicle suddenly decides to spontaneously combust, but what should we do if the public transportation vehicle we’re in (say, a bus) suddenly takes an unforeseen detour off the side of the road?
What are the passengers supposed to do after a bus accident?
Americans board some kind of public transportation 35 million times each weekday, and yet many don’t know the answer to this question. Do you?
Read on to find out.
How Often Do Accidents Occur?
You may have heard about the 32 Chinese tourists and four North Koreans who were killed when a bus fell off a bridge near Pyongyang recently. Or perhaps you saw the school bus that plunged off a mountain in India, resulting in the deaths of 23 children and four adults.
It seems like these things happen often, but in America, the numbers show otherwise.
On average, about 63,000 buses are in accidents each year. Of those, only about .5% lead to fatalities.
However, they aren’t exactly rare. The number of bus accidents per one million miles driven is comparable to the number of car accidents per one million driven miles. So it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
Bus accidents are frightening not only due to the sheer mass of the vehicle but also because of the number of people involved.
If you are in an accident, be sure to take the following steps.
1. Make Sure Help Is on the Way
You’ll most likely be in shock, but keep an eye on the driver and staff members. It is their responsibility to call for accident help if a crash occurs.
However, if company members are injured or killed, that responsibility will fall upon you.
Whatever happens, it is vital that emergency personnel know to come.
2. Seek Medical Attention
This isn’t the time to act macho and refuse an examination or medical treatment. Yes, that’s true even if you’re in a minor accident.
When your body experiences a trauma, it will send rushes of adrenaline and endorphins (yes, those things that make you happy) throughout your body.
It’s like sticking a band-aid on a boo-boo. You could be injured, but you may not realize it immediately.
Furthermore, there are common injuries that take time to develop:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck injuries
- Brain injuries
- Back injuries
And finally, there is the important fact that, if you were harmed and did not seek medical treatment within a specified time frame, you may not be able to file a future claim.
Dr. Harry W. Brown’s Arrowhead Clinic writes, “The human body is not meant to endure that kind of impact, therefore usually leading to a serious injury. Even in low-speed car accidents that cause little to no damage, injuries are still common and even likely.
3. Gather Documentation
If you are not hurt, gather as much evidence as you can about the scene. Ask outside witnesses for their information, then ask for the same from the other victims of the crash.
Next, take photos on your cell phone. Accident photos can be useful in providing additional evidence for any future claims. Likewise, write down (or save in your cell) any information you can remember from the series of events surrounding the crash.
Finally, when the police officers arrive be sure to get the name and phone number of the head officer. If he has a business card, request one.
4. Be Careful What You Say
It’s perfectly fine to see if the driver or any other staff member needs assistance, but avoid saying anything that can affect your claim later. Companies will ask for a detailed report from all of their employees, and they will not hesitate to use anything they can to reduce your compensation
So when you feel like saying, “I’m fine” or “I’m not hurt,” stop yourself.
In a similar manner, be very careful if you post anything on social media about the accident. Investigations into social media are not uncommon, especially if the company being sued is trying to claim your injuries are fake.
5. Seek Help From an Attorney
The accident happened and it’s all behind you now. Right?
Unfortunately, this may not be the case. Laws vary by state, but you must submit your case within a specified time frame. If you do not file by this period, you cannot receive compensation for any injuries or trauma.
So the first step after recovery is to check your state’s statute of limitations.
Most of the time, public transportation is operated by the government. This means the laws and regulations surrounding an accident claim are intricate, to say the least. It also means you’re going to want some help.
Contact a local attorney at USAttorneys and discuss your personal circumstances. He or she will guide you down the correct path.
Other Helpful Tips
There are other things to consider after being involved in a bus accident:
- Shortly after the accident, you may be offered a settlement from the agency responsible. Discuss the settlement with a lawyer before accepting it, as it may be much lower than you deserve.
- Keep copies of all medical records that occurred after the crash.
- Do not discard any evidence you collected the day of the accident. Keep it all in a safe and secure location.
- Know your state’s Good Samaritan Act before performing medical care on victims of the crash, as you may be sued if their condition worsens. The majority of these laws do extend protection over civilians if the victim’s life is at stake and the individual makes reasonable efforts to save it, but some only extend protection to medical professionals.
Did You Know?
Did you know what steps to take in the event of a bus accident?
Car crashes may not require an accident attorney, but any collision involving public transportation certainly does. Know what to do if danger comes knocking at your door.
Interested in more life answers? Take a look at our article on the five most common driving hazards and keep those unwelcome knocks far away for the foreseeable future.