Introduction to Bus Injury Compensation
Should you sustain injuries as a passenger on a bus, as a car driver whose vehicle is hit a bus or as a cyclist or pedestrian who is not seen by a bus driver, you may be able to pursue bus injury compensation claims.
In the following article, you will find an outline of the elements involved in pursuing a bus accident compensation claim after you have suffered an injury as a result of a bus accident in which you were not the negligent party. However, kindly take note that is merely a guideline and is by no means a substitute for the expert legal advice you would receive from a personal injury* solicitor.
Passenger in Bus Accidents
Claims are normally made against the bus company in bus injury compensation claims – if the driver is to blame for the accident – or against another road user if the driver of another vehicle is the negligent party responsible for causing an accident. Bus passengers are normally completely innocent in these situations.
In most circumstances there will be many other witnesses to support your claim, usually fellow passengers who were also injured in the same crash. Therefore, it is advantageous to exchange contact details with the other injured passengers, as well as collecting the details of the negligent party, when making a claim for bus accident compensation.
Car Drivers in Bus Accidents
In any traffic accident scenario, car drivers who have been injured would usually exchange contact and insurance details with the other parties involved. If you have sustained injuries in a bus accident – either as a car driver, cyclist or pedestrian –you should also take note of the date and time of the accident, the name of the bus company, the route number and the registration number of the bus.
Remember that your first priority should always be your health and the health of any other passengers travelling with you, and you should never risk further injury by collecting data or taking photographs at the scene of the accident, even if you have sustained seemingly minor injuries. The Gardai will take care of gathering information if the accident is a serious one.
Making Medical Treatment Your Priority
A valid reason for not gathering evidence of negligence to support claims for bus injury compensation in the immediate aftermath of an accident, even if it seems like the best opportunity to do so, is that if you contribute to the deterioration of your injuries because of your own lack of care, the final settlement of your bus accident compensation claim could be significantly reduced.
It is recommended, therefore, that you seek medical attention for any injuries sustained prior to carrying out any kind of personal investigation. If the injuries sustained in the accident are relatively minor, and an ambulance is not called, you should still have visited the nearest hospital’s Accident and Emergency department or the very least, your family GP as you will then be ensured that your presence at hospital or the doctor’s surgery will be noted in your medical records, along with confirmation that your injuries were diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
Making a Claim for Bus Injury Compensation
To make a claim for bus injury compensation you must apply for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland using Form A (or the online application), which should be submitted with Form B – your doctor’s medical evaluation – and any receipts for any expenses you have acquired or proof of loss of earnings.
Even if the Gardai bring criminal charges against the bus driver, claims for bus accidents are made against the bus company, not the driver him or herself. Once the Injuries Board have received your application, they will write to the bus company with a request for consent to advance your assessment and, when that consent is acknowledged, they may ask for you to have a further medical examination to measure the extent of your injury and its healing progress. You may be requested to undergo a psychiatric evaluation if you are seeking compensation for emotional trauma.
The Value of Compensation for Bus Injuries
Injury claims for bus accidents are measured against the Book of Quantum; a publication that lists specific types of injuries which are accompanied by financial values according to the severity and permanence of the injury. Your age, general state of health before the accident and in some cases, your sex, will then be taken into account to determine the value of bus injury claims.
It is worth noting that bus injury compensation can vary significantly from person to person, even if they receive identical injuries in the same bus accident. This is because an injury for one person may have a worse outcome on their quality of life than for another. This factor of compensation claims for bus accidents is known as “loss of amenity”, and is related to any social or leisure activities that you participated in prior to your accident but can no longer enjoy because of your injury.
Bus Injury Claims and Court Action
You may have to resolve your bus accident compensation claim through court action or by direct negotiation with the negligent party’s insurance company if they do not give their permission for the Injuries Board to assess your application, if the Injuries Board assessment is less than you anticipated, or if it is more than the negligent party’s insurers are willing to pay.
The Injuries Board will issue you with an “Authorisation” in order to initiate court action once they have been formally advised that consent has been retained or that their assessment has been declined. Even if direct negotiations are taking place with the negligent party’s insurance company, solicitors will recommend their clients to submit an application for assessment to the Injuries Board. The reason behind this is, should negotiations fail, you will need the “Authorisation” to pursue your compensation claim for bus accident compensation through the courts.
An Insurance Company’s Role in Compensation Claims for Bus Accidents
In many cases, the negligent party’s insurance company will approach an accident victim directly with an unsolicited settlement offer of their potential claim for compensation for bus injuries – sometimes even before the full extent of the injuries is known. Though the offer may seem appealing, it is not advisable to accept an offer like this without first consulting a solicitor experienced in bus accident compensation claims.
The aim of the insurance company is to keep their costs as low as possible and increase their profits, and the methods they engage in to do so are perfectly legal. They will approach the person injured in the accident for which their policyholder was to blame when the injured party is at their most vulnerable, in order to offer a compensation value that will more than likely be much lower than they would receive from an Injuries Board assessment or through the courts. Once an accident victim accepts a settlement from an insurance company, they can never return to ask for more, even if the amount later proves to be inappropriate at the time.
Compensation for Bus Injuries – Advice from a Reliable Source
You are always well advised to seek professional legal advice from a solicitor at the first practical moment when considering making a compensation claim for injuries sustained in a bus accident.
A solicitor is in a position to assist you with the gathering of police reports, witness statements and proceeding with settlement negotiations, and he or she will also be of great benefit to you when submitting your application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland – making sure that each component of your claim for bus accident compensation is accounted for. The solicitor can also advise you on how to react to the Injuries Board assessment; that is, whether you should accept it or whether your compensation claim for a bus accident injury should be pursued through negation with the negligent party’s insurers or court action.
A high number of solicitors in Ireland will offer free bus injury compensation advice in the initial stages of your claim, to evaluate whether you have a viable case and, in many situations, any costs you incur in the pursuit of legal action as part of your compensation claim for bus injuries will be reimbursed with the help of a qualified solicitor.
Bus Accident Compensation: A Summary
- You should make claims for injuries sustained in a traffic accident involving a bus you were travelling in against the bus company, as they have a legal duty of care towards their passengers.
- When the negligent party is not the bus driver but another road user, the bus accident claim for compensation should be made against the person(s) responsible for your injuries.
- Passengers who were travelling on the same bus at the time of the accident can act as witnesses on your behalf to support your claim.
- Medical treatment should be sought immediately after an accident and it must take precedence over any other action, including gathering evidence at the scene of the accident.
- The amount of compensation you are eligible to receive depends on the severity of your injuries and any special expenses you acquire due to your injuries.
- Always seek advice from a reliable source, especially before considering accepting an offer of bus injury compensation from the negligent party’s insurance company.
Remember that no two claims for bus accidents are alike. If you have been involved in a bus accident as a passenger in which you sustained injuries and believe that you have a potential claim for bus injury compensation, you are recommended to discuss the issues raised in this article with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.