Bus Accident Claims *
The public transport system in the Republic of Ireland maintains a high level of health and safety standards each year. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) released the statistic that buses are the safest form of public transport within the country. However, when accidents * do occur, they can have a calamitous effect due to the size of the vehicle and a number of passengers on board. The most high profile bus accident of recent years is when a Dublin Bus collided with the Red Line Luas on O’Connell Street, which left twenty-one people with personal injuries *. A claim against the Dublin Bus claims department takes into account who was liable for the accident and the potentially life-long consequences that the injury which occurred can have on the quality of life of the victim.
What do you do if you are in a bus accident?
The first priority taken immediately after a bus accident should be for your own health and safety along with the other victims. If the emergency services have yet to be called, ring the Gardai no matter how minor the accident is. It is important that, if you have suffered a personal injury * that you book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible after the road traffic accident, regardless of how minor you think the injuries are, in some cases these minor injuries can develop rapidly into more serious threat to your health. If any more examinations or medical advice are required be sure to keep all receipts for any out of pocket expenditure. It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:
- Details of another driver(s) / people involved: name, address, contact information, vehicle registration number and vehicle insurance information. You can also offer your own information to the others involved in the accident if confident to do so,
- Name and contact details of any emergency service workers at the scene, paramedic/ Garda/Fire brigade,
- Take a picture of the scene, from different angles; this will help your solicitor understand how the accident happened,
- Time and Date of the accident,
- Weather conditions at the time.
It is important to note that liability is a big factor when pursuing a claim against the bus company. Bus crash compensation can only be claimed if the driver is proved to be liable for the accident. If the driver is liable, there are usually other passengers that can give witness reports for a compensation claim *.
Common types of injuries
The most frequently seen personal injury * due to a bus accident is whiplash. This is an injury caused by a severe jerk to the head when two objects collide together. You are more likely to receive a worse injury in a bus accident rather than a car due to the power and momentum of the bus. Head injuries are usually a result of the bus coming to an abrupt halt. Other types of injuries that arise as a result of bus accidents include:
- Exiting a bus and having an accident due to the driver’s positioning of the bus,
- Injuries caused as a result of the poor driving of the bus driver,
- Tripping or falling whilst,
- Minor injuries to kids in a school bus accident,
- Collision with other vehicles resulting in injury to passengers,
- Being involved in a collision with a bus.
The settlement of a road accident claim * will vary as each case will be different. Generally, the settlement procedure would work as follows (of course, this is subject to change and your solicitor will keep you informed at each stage of the process):
- Your solicitor will submit your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment
- The Injuries Board assess your case and revert with a suggested compensation amount
- You then decide whether to accept the amount suggested or to reject and move the next stage of the process
- If both parties accept the compensation suggest, then your case will be settled at this point.
- If one of both parties decline the suggested settlement amount then you move to the next stage of the settlement process
- In cases where the Injuries Board assessment is not agreed to, then legal proceedings are issued and your case moves forward to a court hearing.
- Before the court hearing, settlement talks do take place. In most cases, a case is resolved, settled and compensation agreed at the settlement talks before having to step foot into a courtroom.
- If your case is not settled at the settlement talks stage then your case moves to a court hearing where a Judge will make a decision on your case.
Settlement talks are a good opportunity for your legal team to talk to the other side’s legal team to settle any disagreements on what costs are to be awarded. Costs awarded usually consist of an amount for the injury itself and added expenses you may have incurred, these claims are called damages:
General Damages: Non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following the injury.
Special Damages: Out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury, for example, loss of earnings (if you were out of work), bills for treatment, and added travel costs as a result of the injury, for example, travel to and from the hospital.
As well as a figure for the individual injury, the following may be taken into account when assessing how much of a settlement you may receive:
- Impact the injury has on your quality of life
- Earnings you have lost, if you are absent from work
- Future earnings lost as a result of the injury
- Medical cost for nerve damage treatment
- Future medical costs, if long-term treatment is needed
- Out of pocket expenses, like travel costs
- Psychological injuries
Legal time limits
The legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim vary depending on the situation. The general rule for all personal injury cases * is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the bus accident * to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
If you have suffered a personal injury * from a road traffic accident *, such as a bus accident, our team of local personal injury solicitors * in Dublin are available to answer any queries you may have. For a confidential discussion, please call Tracey Solicitors on 01 649 9900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your case.
With 30 years’ experience as specialist personal injury solicitors *, Tracey Solicitors, ensure not to overwhelm you with legal jargon and can provide you with legal advice and guidance with your best interest at heart, in a language that you can understand.