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What Happens if a Bus Hits Your Car?

Published on Aug 11, 2023 by Thomas Law Offices.

What Happens if a Bus Hits Your Car
Each year, countless individuals take buses for a wide variety of reasons, including as a mode of transportation to get to work or running everyday errands in lieu of a car, en route to school, or when traveling on a trip of some distance. Thus, encountering a bus isn’t likely all that uncommon if you live here in Louisville, especially around Kentucky Derby season when droves of tourists come flowing into our city.

Data compiled in the Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts 2021 Report shows that of the 196,738 vehicles involved in collisions in our state that year, the following amount involved buses:

  • School buses: 278 involved in crashes, which equated to 0.14% of overall accidents that year and resulted in 1 death
  • Other types of buses: 741 involved in collisions, which equated to 0.38% of the total number of crashes for that year and caused 5 deaths

To put things in perspective, while there were 1,019 total buses involved in crashes in Kentucky in the most recently profiled year (2021), there were far more passenger cars (176,712) and truck (10,105) involved in accidents. While you may have a general idea of how to handle another similarly sized vehicle striking yours, what should happen if a bus strikes your car? We’ll address that (and more) below.

Potential Outcomes if a Bus Strikes Your Car

Bus accidents can leave behind serious injuries. Some of the more notable ones include:

  • Blunt force trauma injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Bruises
  • Compression injuries requiring surgery or amputations
  • Burns
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries

Factors such as the speed and angle at which the crash occurs may dictate the severity of injuries that vehicle occupants sustain.

The reason why injuries stemming from a bus accident tend to be so catastrophic or often fatal is because buses can weigh anywhere from 25,000 pounds when empty to 48,000 pounds when full. Passenger cars, as a point of reference, only weigh between 2,500 to at most 6,000 pounds, so buses aren’t just larger in length and width than passenger cars, they can reach 10 times a passenger car’s weight.

What Options Do You Have When Your Car Is Struck by a Bus?

There are a few critical actions you should take if you’re involved in any accident, including after being hit by a bus. Those include:

  • Stop, call the police, and request for an ambulance to be sent to the bus crash scene if you’re hurt
  • Exchange contact and insurance information between yourself and the bus driver, whether independently or as facilitated by the police
  • Take photographs of the accident scene and your passenger car and the bus
  • Secure witness names and contact information
  • Seek immediate medical attention to assess if you didn’t request for paramedics to come to the crash scene
  • Report the accident to your insurance company

It’s important that you call the police to create a report and seek medical attention to ensure an injury hasn’t occurred that just hasn’t yet become evident first before moving on to reporting your incident to an insurer. Additionally, read the following information about liability before calling your crash in.

What To Know About Liability for Kentucky Bus Accidents

Kentucky is a no-fault state. Therefore, generally, you’d file a claim with your insurance carrier to recover up to the mandatory minimum insurance limits of $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident. However, Kentucky is a choice no-fault state that allows drivers to opt out of the no-fault system. Therefore, passenger car drivers injured in bus accidents can pursue the negligent bus driver or other responsible parties if their damages exceed their PIP policy limits or there was a no-fault opt-out.

It’s important to explain how this impacts the handling of your case. It’s important that, whether you’re speaking with the police at the accident scene, your insurer or the bus driver’s, or anyone else aside from legal counsel, you do so cautiously. You don’t want to inadvertently say or do anything that could potentially affect liability determinations in your case, as this could affect how much you can recover in your case.

Why Bus Accident Victims Often Work With Attorneys To File Claims

Motorists who are injured in collisions with buses often reach out to legal counsel to help them in forwarding their claims. Why? They do it because, in addition to what you say and do potentially affecting your ability to recover just compensation, lawyers also impact cases in other ways, such as:

  • Knowing the statute of limitations that applies to cases: While the statute of limitations is generally two years from the time the bus accident occurs, incidents in which there’s a delayed onset of injuries, victims are minors, and more may affect when that statute of limitations begins and ends.
  • Help in identifying all potential liable parties: While it’s often the case that a single person is responsible for a crash because they were distracted or speeding, for example, it’s certainly possible that multiple parties can be responsible for a collision too—especially when truck or bus accidents are involved—and an attorney can help you identify and file claims with all liable parties.
  • Serving as a buffer for communication with insurers: Insurance company calls may become overly burdensome, especially as you’re trying to juggle newfound doctors’ appointments and your recovery. An attorney can step in and interact with these parties on your behalf so that you can remain de-stressed and focused on recovery.

Where To Get Guidance in Dealing With Your Bus Accident Case

Although bus accidents are rare compared to other types of crashes, as outlined above, if you’ve been involved in one, it may give you some peace of mind knowing there’s help available for those who get hurt.

Any wreck between two starkly different-sized vehicles, whether it’s an 18-wheeler and passenger car or one between a smaller vehicle and a bus, can result in significant injuries and even sometimes prove fatal. Let our Louisville bus accident lawyers at Thomas Law Offices lend a helping hand as you navigate the claims process to ensure you receive just compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other bills you may have already amassed and ones you may incur in the future if you were involved in a bus crash.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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