Every year, too many individuals are harmed in South Carolina because of the negligent actions of a bus driver or a bus company. In fact, no matter why or how this type of accident occurs, the results are often the same: horrific and debilitating injuries, astronomical medical expenses, a significant amount of stress, and an increasing number of questions and concerns.
At the Hughey Law Firm, we understand that you are dealing with a lot after a bus accident, including extreme pain and uncertainty about what the future holds for you and your family. However, we also know that you do not have to go through the challenging ordeal on your own. When you work with one of our South Carolina bus accident attorneys, we could help ensure that you get the help you need, the answers you want, and go after the justice and compensation you deserve.
The Hughey Law Firm—Who We Are
Our South Carolina personal injury lawyers have the dedication it takes to handle hundreds of civil cases, take on challenging litigation, and argue cases before the South Carolina Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.
Since our founding, we have advocated for victims’ rights, especially those who suffered an injury or death because of another person’s wrongful actions. That is why other firms frequently retain us to take on complex personal injury cases. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of clients go after the compensation they needed, and have won over $190 million in settlement and jury verdicts.
While we guarantee no results, contact Hughey Law Firm today to see if we can help you.
Common South Carolina Bus Accident Injuries
Just as is the case in any other motor vehicle accident, bus accidents can result in various injuries.
However, some of the more common bus accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Deep lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Bus accidents are not very frequent. However, because of their unique construction, which includes a high center of gravity, making it more prone to rollovers and a lack of safety restraints and seat belts. Bus accidents often result in catastrophic injuries that are far worse than a typical car collision.
South Carolina Bus Accident Liability – Who Is at Fault?
Unlike motor vehicle accidents, which usually include two parties.
A bus accident has many moving parts, and as a result, there can be many individuals or entities liable for the bus accident, including:
- The bus driver
- The bus driver’s employer
- The bus driver’s supervisor
- A school bus operator
- A tour bus operator
- Other motorists
- Bus manufacturers
- Bus owners
- Bus maintenance companies
- Governmental agencies
- Bus part manufacturers
As a result, working with a bus accident lawyer could be critical for your claim. Our lawyers could not only figure out which parties were responsible for your accident, but also go after all parties that may be liable for your injuries.
South Carolina Bus Accident Causes
Even the most experienced bus drivers are not immune to accidents or disastrous collisions. In truth, all it takes is one glance away from the steering wheel for a catastrophic bussing accident to happen.
Typically, in South Carolina, these bus accidents result from:
- Distracted driving, such as the bus driver texting and driving or eating while driving.
- A bus driver or another motorist driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Poor road conditions, such as potholes or road construction issues.
- Bus defects or other maintenance issues.
- Aggressive bus drivers.
- Bus drivers not abiding by traffic laws, not yielding to the right of way, not stopping at red lights or stop signs.
- Fatigued bus drivers.
- Unqualified bus drivers.
When you work with the Hughey Law Firm, our attorneys can quickly get to work investigating the accident and gathering critical evidence that could help prove not only what happened but who was at fault for the accident.
How Do You Prove Fault in a South Carolina Bus Accident?
In most South Carolina bus accident cases, if you were harmed and want to bring a claim, you would need to show that the other party intentionally caused the accident or their negligence resulted in the bus crash.
To prove this negligence, you would need to show that:
- The liable party owed you a duty of care;
- The liable party breached this duty of care; and
- This breach resulted in your injuries and damages.
There are many federal and state laws that regulate common carriers. These common carriers are any individual or business licensed to transport passengers for a fee, such as busses. These regulations make sure to hold these common carriers to a high duty of care, helping ensure that their passengers are protected and kept safe.
Some of these duties of care include:
- Making sure that the buses’ exits and entryways are safe, including making them clear of obstructions, providing adequate lighting, and securing handrails.
- Making sure that qualified bus drivers are hired.
- Making sure that the bus is well maintained, including the engines, breaks, and motors.
- Making sure to correct any bus design flaws.
When a bus driver or bus company violates this duty of care, they could be found responsible for failing to keep their passengers safe. However, because of the potential number of parties involved in a South Carolina bus accident, it can be complicated to show negligence and hold the liable party at fault for the accident. That is why you need to promptly contact an attorney, like those at the Hughey Law Firm, following your bus crash.
Our bus accident attorneys can quickly get to work obtaining evidence that could prove you were owed a duty of care, that the liable party breached this duty, and as a result, caused you to endure numerous injuries and harm.
Types of Damages Available Following a South Carolina Bus Accident
No amount of compensation can truly take away all the pain and suffering a bus accident victim has to endure following their accident. However, monetary damages could help ease some of the financial burdens involved with these horrific crashes. In South Carolina, you may be entitled to certain damages following a bus accident, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are the verifiable losses that a victim endures because of the accident.
- Medical expenses including past, current, and future bills.
- Lost wages including past, current, and future lost wages.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Rehabilitative services including occupational and physical therapy.
- At-home nursing care.
- Medical devices such as wheelchairs.
- Household replacement services.
- Personal property damages.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses.
Non-economic damages are subjective losses that are not easy to quantify.
They typically include:
- Pain and Suffering.
- Emotional Anguish.
- Loss of Companionship.
- Loss of Consortium.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life and Activities.
- Loss of a Limb.
- Loss of Reputation.
- Physical Disfigurement.
Punitive damages are damages intended to punish the wrongdoer for their egregious and wrongful actions. Unlike the other compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the victim, punitive damages are rarely awarded. The victim has to prove with clear and convincing evidence that the harm resulted from the defendant’s wanton, willful, or reckless conduct.
Filing a Claim Against the Government in South Carolina
Even though most governmental agencies are responsible for public transportation, governments in the United States are typically protected from prosecution.
Luckily, in South Carolina, you could file an injury claim against a transportation provider even if they are a governmental agency. However, these governmental injury claims are made under the rules of the South Carolina Tort Claim Act. These regulations allow individuals to recover damages for any tort committed by an employee of a governmental entity. However, this Act also mandates that these injury claims require particular forms, firm deadlines, compensation limits, and numerous exceptions.
For these reasons, if you believe your bus accident was the fault of a governmental agency. You should contact the Hughey Law Firm immediately. Our attorneys could not only determine if you have a viable governmental injury claim, but we could also help ensure that you meet all the required steps to bring this claim.
Statute of Limitations for a South Carolina Bus Accident
In South Carolina, you have three years from a bus accident date to bring a claim for your injuries. If you do not bring a claim within this time, you may be barred from collecting compensation for your damages. However, there are many exceptions to this rule that can shorten or extend the amount of time you have to file.
For instance, if you pursue legal action against a governmental entity, the statute of limitations is decreased to two years. For these reasons, you should not wait to talk to our attorneys about your case. Our lawyers could quickly figure out how much time you have to file your claim and help ensure that all the required motions are filed correctly and on time.
In general, you should not wait too long to file a bus accident claim. This is because the longer you wait, the higher the likelihood is of evidence disappearing, witnesses can no longer testify, and memories of the accident fading. As a result, any of these factors can hinder your chance of succeeding in your claim.
Actions to Take After a South Carolina Bus Accident
When a bus accident occurs, the situation is often quite chaotic and stressful for everyone involved. However, to help ensure that you stay safe and your legal rights are protected, you should make sure that you take specific steps following your bus accident.
These actions include the following:
- Contact the police: Following a bus accident, you need to call 911 immediately. Not only will Emergency Medical Services get to the scene quickly, but they can provide medical help for all those who need it. In addition, once the police arrive, they can investigate what happened and create an official report of the accident. This report could provide you with vital information if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
- Get medical help: Even if you do not need immediate medical help following a bus accident, you still need to get to a doctor and get examined. Serious injuries can remain hidden, without symptoms, and get worse over time. Consequently, these undisclosed injuries can result in debilitating damages or even death if they are not treated. That is why it can be imperative to get checked over by a medical professional. Furthermore, these doctors can also write up their findings in their medical reports, which could provide you with valuable evidence that proves and calculates your damages.
- Gather evidence: If it is safe, try to collect as much evidence from the accident scene as you can. Take pictures and videos of your visible injuries, the vehicles involved in the accident, any skid marks on the road, any traffic signs near the accident scene, weather conditions at the time of the crash, and any dangerous conditions.
- Speak to witnesses: If any people at the accident scene saw what happened, make sure to get their name and contact information. Their statements and pictures could provide you with essential evidence that could help show what happened and who was at fault.
- Driver information: Following the accident, get the bus driver’s name, contact information, bus number identification, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
- Contact a South Carolina bus accident lawyer immediately: Following your bus accident, you need to promptly contact a bus accident lawyer. These attorneys can quickly start investigating the accident, figuring out what happened, who was at fault, and going after all those liable for your injuries.
South Carolina Bus Accident FAQs
Bus accidents are extraordinarily catastrophic and because of the complexities involved in these types of accidents, victims are often left with numerous questions and significant worries. Even worse, these victims usually have no idea who they can turn to for help, or they receive wrong information from friends or family about what actions they need to take next.
That is why the Hughey Law Firm wants to help you get the information you need. Through the below frequently asked questions, we want to answer some of the concerns you may have following a South Carolina bus accident, clarify what steps you need to take next, and explain how our legal team can assist you through this whole legal process.
1. How can I show that I was injured in a South Carolina bus accident?
To receive compensation following a bus accident, you need to prove damages. Specifically, you need to show how you were injured and the extent of these injuries. The best way to show these damages is through medical records. That is why, even if you do not think your injuries are serious, you need to see a medical professional.
The medical records that these doctors create can provide you with the evidence you need to show that you were injured because of the bus accident, the extent of these injuries, as well as the type of treatments you will need now and in the future. In addition, this report can be extremely valuable if the other side tries to argue that you received your injuries in a subsequent event and not from the bus accident.
2. If I was a passenger in another vehicle that was in a South Carolina bus accident, can I sue?
Following an accident in South Carolina, you could sue any party that was potentially at fault for your accident. That means if you were involved in a bus accident, the potential at-fault parties you can pursue legal action against can include the driver of the vehicle you are in, motorists of other vehicles involved in the crash, the bus driver, the bus company, or any other person or entity that was responsible for the accident and your injuries. Contact an attorney today to see if you can make a claim.
3. If I am a bus passenger in South Carolina, does the bus owe me any special protections?
When an individual is performing an activity for which they have training or special skills, they are held to a higher standard of care; specifically, one that requires them to act as a reasonable person would with their practice or abilities. Additionally, these special duties of care apply when there is a special relationship between the individual that owes the duty of care and the individual that benefits from this duty. Consequently, because busses are considered common carriers, they owe passengers a higher duty of care.
4. If I was walking in a crosswalk and hit by a bus in South Carolina, do I have any rights?
As a pedestrian in South Carolina, you have a right to claim any injuries you suffered because of another person’s intentional actions or negligence. This means if you were hit by a bus as you were crossing the road, you could pursue legal action against that bus driver, the bus company, or any other liable party or entity that was responsible for your accident and your injuries.
5. How much money could I collect, following a South Carolina bus accident?
Unfortunately, too many factors go into determining the value of a South Carolina bus accident claim. As a result, no attorney can tell you exactly how much money you can collect following your accident.
Some of these factors include:
- The extent of the victim’s injuries (for example, if the injuries included a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury).
- The types of treatments required.
- Whether future medical treatments are needed.
- Whether there is a permanent disability.
- Whether the victim can work following the accident.
- Whether the victim can ever return to work following the accident.
- The amount of lost wages.
- The amount of pain and suffering the victim has suffered.
- Whether the victim can perform everyday routine daily tasks or activities.
- Whether the victim missed out on important moments in their life because of the injuries they suffered.
- Whether the victim now needs additional services such as child care help because they can no longer handle these activities on their own.
When you work with the Hughey Law Firm, our attorneys could go over all of these factors, figure out which ones can impact your claim, and prepare a case in response—going after maximum damages.
6. If I am involved in a South Carolina bus accident, who pays for my medical bills?
In South Carolina, if you have been injured in an accident, the liable party’s insurance company would generally owe you the total cost of all your accident-related medical care. However, because a settlement with the insurance company can take quite a long time, you can also have your health insurance cover your injuries after a bus crash. Just know that you will still be responsible for any copays or deductibles, but the health insurance company can cover the rest of the costs depending on your specific plan. The liable party’s insurance company could reimburse you
for these medical costs once you settle with them.
Because of South Carolina’s subrogation laws, if the health insurance company paid for your medical costs, they most likely will have you pay these expenses back once you receive any settlement from the insurance company. This subrogation law explicitly prevents victims from receiving compensation twice for one loss.
Working with the Hughey Law Firm during this process can help you tremendously. Our attorneys could not only help you figure out who can pay for your medical bills, but we could also walk you through this subrogation process and, in some instances, even negotiate down how much you have to repay. This may mean a larger payout for you.
7. If the insurance company is calling me, following my South Carolina bus accident, should I talk to them?
Many people assume that following an accident, the insurance company wants to help them. Unfortunately, these assumptions are not necessarily true. Insurance companies are businesses that want to make a profit. Consequently, insurance adjusters may try any tactic they can to get you to admit to any fault for the accident so that they can deny your claim or reduce the amount of money they offer you.
That is why if the insurance company is calling, it is in your best interest to provide them with only basic details and let them know that any future conversations will be through your attorney. Once the Hughey Law Firm takes over these discussions, our lawyers can help ensure that you do not say anything that could hurt your case, as we go after compensation that is fair to you.
8. If the insurance company is offering me a settlement amount, should I accept it?
Following an accident, any compensation may feel like a blessing, especially as the medical bills continue to pile up. However, it can be essential to realize that when the insurance company offers you a settlement amount shortly after your bus accident, they may be trying to get the matter resolved as quickly as possible and for as little money as they can.
Remember, if you accept the first settlement amount, you do not get to fight for additional compensation in the future. That is the case, even if this amount does not cover all of your current medical expenses, future medical costs, or other damages you may not even realize you have.
If the insurance company offers you a settlement amount, make sure to talk to the Hughey Law Firm before accepting anything. Our attorneys could help you determine if this amount is fair to you, and if it is not, we could fight for a settlement amount that is.
9. Is the school district liable for my child’s South Carolina school bus accident injuries?
If your child was injured in a school bus accident, the school may be liable for your child’s injuries. Generally, the school has a burden of caring for the children entrusted to them during the school day. This includes transportation on a school bus to and from the school.
More specifically, a school has a duty to:
- Follow state regulations regarding the transportation of their students.
- Provide transportation that is safe for all of their students.
- Staff busses with qualified drivers that can care for the students on the bus.
- Make sure to maintain the school busses in good condition, as well as inspect them regularly.
- Ensure that bus drivers check the bus regularly, ensuring that the bus is safe to transport children and that safety equipment is in working order.
However, determining that a school may be held vicariously liable for their employee’s (bus driver) negligence requires a thorough understanding of these specific South Carolina laws. That is why working with the Hughey Law Firm can be an effective way of figuring out if you could hold a school liable for your child’s school bus accident injuries.
10. What if I do not know how the South Carolina bus accident happened?
Quite often, following a bus accident, victims have no idea what happened or who caused the accident. In truth, many times following a bus accident, victims are quickly rushed off to a hospital before they can even begin gathering any evidence from the accident scene, talking to witnesses, or getting driver information. That is why determining fault following a bus accident can require a thorough investigation by a bus accident attorney.
At the Hughey Law Firm, our attorneys know what type of evidence is required to prove liability following these types of accidents. That is why once retained, we can get to work obtaining critical reports such as medical or police reports that can show what happened and who was at fault. Our lawyers can also interview others involved in the crash, such as other motorists, eyewitnesses, or passengers that could help us determine who was responsible for the accident.
If the bus accident resulted from a faulty part or a mechanical failure, we can also bring in an expert to conduct the investigation and figure out if certain entities were responsible for the defects and, consequently, the bus crash.
11. Why should I call the Hughey Law Firm, following my South Carolina bus accident?
Bus accident lawsuits are incredibly complicated, require detailed evidence and a thorough understanding of South Carolina’s laws. However, with the Hughey Law Firm’s help, you do not have to tackle these challenging legal procedures yourself.
Our lawyers could:
- Discuss what happened, answer any question you have, and go over your legal options.
- Conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, gather critical evidence, and interview relevant witnesses that can help show liability and damages.
- Bring in the experts, including accident reconstructionists, engineers, economists, and doctors who can recreate the accident, show what happened, and strengthen your claim.
- Handle the negotiation process with the insurance company, ensuring that your case is treated fairly.
- If the other side is unwilling to negotiate, take your case to trial and fight for maximum compensation.
Call the Hughey Law Firm’s South Carolina Bus Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a family member was injured in a South Carolina bus accident, do not wait any longer; contact the Hughey Law Firm today and let our personal injury attorneys fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. You can reach us for your free consultation at (843) 881-8644 or by writing us through our online contact page.
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