Bus accidents in Nebraska are tragically impactful for victims and their families. Victims of these accidents have legal rights, including the ability to seek compensation through lawsuits or insurance claims. A skilled bus accident lawyer can guide victims through the legal process to obtain compensation and justice. Below, Liberty Law Group explains important information about bus accidents, including types and causes, legal options for victims, the process of bringing an insurance claim or lawsuit, and the role of a bus accident lawyer.

Nebraska Bus Accident Lawsuits

The lawyers at Liberty Law Group are dedicated to providing support for personal injury claims. Our firm is experienced in handling numerous personal injury cases on behalf of injury victims in Nebraska and Iowa.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, contact our firm at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

Bus Accidents in Nebraska

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Types of Bus Accidents

The first major type of bus accident involves collisions between a bus and another vehicle. These collisions often occur at intersections or on highways and can result in significant damage and injuries due to the large size and mass of buses. Another common type is bus rollovers, which can be particularly dangerous. Rollovers may occur due to sharp turns at high speeds, poor road conditions, or when a bus driver loses control. Pedestrian-involved bus accidents are another category, often occurring in populated areas. These accidents can be especially tragic and may involve children near school buses or commuters crossing streets. Finally, single-vehicle bus accidents, where the bus hits a stationary object or veers off the road, can result from driver error or mechanical issues.

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Major Causes of Bus Accidents

Driver error is a significant cause of bus accidents. This includes factors like distracted driving, fatigue, speeding, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Mechanical failures, such as brake problems, tire blowouts, or steering issues, are also major contributors. These can be due to a lack of proper maintenance or manufacturing defects. Weather conditions play a role too, with ice, snow, and rain creating hazardous driving conditions and reducing visibility. Road conditions in Nebraska, such as potholes, uneven surfaces, or lack of clear road signs, can also lead to accidents. Lastly, issues like inadequate driver training or safety measures can contribute to the likelihood of bus accidents.

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Bus Accidents in Nebraska

In Nebraska, larger cities like Omaha and Lincoln are high-risk areas due to heavy traffic and frequent interactions between buses and other vehicles, as well as pedestrians. School zones are also common sites for accidents, especially during peak times when children are being picked up or dropped off. Nebraska’s highways, such as Interstate 80, see a significant number of bus accidents involving both local and long-distance buses. This is due to the high speeds and long distances traveled, which can lead to driver fatigue. In rural areas of Nebraska, while the frequency of bus accidents might be lower, the outcomes can be severe due to higher speed limits, problematic roads, and potentially longer response times for emergency services.

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Determining Who is Liable in Bus Accident Cases

One of the primary parties that can be held liable for a bus accident is the bus driver. If the accident was a result of the driver’s negligence, such as distracted driving, driving under the influence, or not following traffic laws, the driver can be held responsible. In addition to the driver, the bus company itself can be liable, especially if the accident was due to issues like inadequate driver training, poor bus maintenance, or failure to comply with safety regulations. This can include situations where the company may have pushed drivers to work beyond regulated hours.

Another potentially liable party is the bus manufacturer. If a defect in the bus or any of its components contributed to the accident, the manufacturer might be responsible. This includes cases where a design flaw or a manufacturing error led to mechanical failure. In some cases, liability can even extend to government entities, especially if poor road conditions, such as unmarked construction zones, poorly maintained roads, or inadequate signs, played a significant role in the accident.

If another vehicle was involved in the accident, the driver of that vehicle could also be held liable. This is particularly the case if their negligence, such as reckless driving or failure to obey traffic laws, was a contributing factor. Additionally, in situations involving school buses, the school districts might be responsible, especially if the accident occurred due to inadequate hiring or supervision.

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Filing a Lawsuit or Insurance Claim Due to a Bus Accident

Bus accident victims typically begin by filing an insurance claim against the insurer of the party at fault. This could be the bus company’s insurance, the driver’s personal insurance, or the insurance of another involved vehicle’s driver. If the bus is owned by a government entity, like a city’s public transportation system, the process may involve specific governmental claim procedures, which often have different rules and shorter deadlines than other types of claims.
If the insurance claim does not provide reasonable compensation or is denied, the next step could be filing a lawsuit. This legal action can be against any of the potentially liable parties: the bus driver, the bus company, the bus manufacturer, other drivers involved in the accident, or government entities. The goal of the lawsuit is to prove negligence or fault and obtain compensation for damages suffered as a result of the accident.

Nebraska Revised Statute 25-207 sets a four-year statute of limitations for lawsuits arising from bus accidents. This means that individuals who have suffered injuries in a bus accident have a four-year window from the date of the accident to initiate legal proceedings. Failure to file a lawsuit within this timeframe generally leads to the case being dismissed, preventing the injured party from claiming compensation for their injuries.

Also, under Nebraska Revised Statutes 30-809 and 30-810, families can pursue wrongful death claims if a loved one dies in a bus accident due to someone else’s fault or negligence. These claims must be filed within two years of the death and are typically initiated by the deceased person’s legal representative, such as the executor of their estate. The purpose of these lawsuits is to provide financial compensation to the surviving spouse and family members to address lost income, funeral expenses, and the emotional impact of their loss.

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Types of Damages in Bus Accident Cases

In bus accident cases, victims can seek compensation, called damages, for the losses they have suffered. Medical expenses are a major type of damage. This includes costs for immediate medical care, hospital stays, surgeries, and any ongoing treatments or rehabilitation. Lost wages are another significant type of damages, compensating victims for the money they would have earned had the accident not occurred. This can also include loss of future earning capacity if the victim is unable to return to work or must take a lower-paying job due to their injuries.

Pain and suffering damages are sought for the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident. This includes compensation for chronic pain, emotional trauma, and the overall decrease in quality of life. In cases where the victim has suffered severe, life-altering injuries, loss of consortium damages might be pursued by the victim’s family, compensating them for the loss of companionship and support.

Property damage is also a common type of damage claimed, especially if the victim’s personal belongings were damaged or destroyed in the accident. Lastly, in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or intentional, punitive damages may be awarded.

In Nebraska, it’s important to keep in mind that when someone involved in a bus accident files a lawsuit for damages and is partially responsible for the incident, Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21,185.09 comes into play. This law applies the principle of comparative fault. For instance, if an individual is found to be 30% at fault in a bus accident, they would be eligible to receive only 70% of the total damages awarded. If their level of fault is equal to or exceeds that of the other party, they are not entitled to receive any damages.

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How a Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help

A lawyer plays a big role in helping a victim navigate the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident such as a bus accident. They start by investigating the accident to determine liability, and collecting evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and camera footage. They also assess the full extent of damages, ensuring that all potential areas of compensation are considered, including current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

The lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of the victim. This is vital as insurance companies often try to minimize payouts. An experienced lawyer knows how to counter lowball offers and can advocate effectively for fair compensation. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the lawyer is prepared to represent the victim in court, presenting the case and arguing for the victim’s rights.

Throughout this process, the lawyer provides legal advice and guidance. This includes explaining the victim’s rights, the legal process, and what to expect at each stage. They also handle all the legal paperwork and deadlines, allowing the victim to focus on recovery. By hiring a bus accident lawyer, victims have someone who is dedicated to securing the best possible outcome for their case.

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What to Do Following a Bus Accident

After a bus accident, immediate actions are crucial for the safety and legal rights of those involved. Safety comes first; if possible, move to a safe location away from traffic. Seeking medical attention should be the next step, even for those who feel unharmed, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Notifying the police is also essential; a police report provides an official account of the accident, which is valuable for any legal or insurance claims.

Documenting the accident scene is advisable if it can be done safely. This includes taking photos of the bus, other vehicles involved, and the surrounding area. Gathering contact information from witnesses and other passengers can also be helpful. Those involved should avoid discussing fault or making detailed statements at the scene, as these can be misinterpreted later.
Lastly, contacting a lawyer experienced in bus accident cases is a key step. A lawyer can offer advice on legal rights and how to proceed with insurance claims or potential legal action.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are common causes of bus accidents in Nebraska?

Bus accidents in Nebraska often result from driver error, mechanical failure, and adverse weather conditions.

Who can be held liable in a bus accident?

Liability in bus accidents may fall on the driver, bus company, maintenance providers, or manufacturers.

What types of compensation are available in bus accident cases?

Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.

Is there a time limit to file a bus accident lawsuit in Nebraska?

Yes, Nebraska imposes a four-year statute of limitations for bringing most personal injury lawsuits, starting from the accident date.

Can I still receive compensation if I was partly at fault?

Nebraska’s comparative negligence law allows compensation if you are less than 50% at fault.

How is fault determined in a bus accident?

Fault is determined by examining evidence, witness statements, and sometimes accident reconstruction.

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Hiring a Bus Accident Injury Lawyer | Liberty Law Group

At Liberty Law Group, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in filing and litigating personal injury lawsuits, oftentimes all the way through trial. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and believe a lawsuit might be the solution for getting the compensation you deserve, contact our office at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury lawyer. Our firm proudly represents the communities of Omaha in Douglas County, Lincoln in Lancaster County, Papillion in Sarpy County, plus the surrounding Nebraska counties of Dodge, Washington, Saunders, and Cass. We also represent those in Iowa courts including the communities of Council Bluffs in Pattawattamie plus the surrounding counties of Harrison and Mills.

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