13
Apr

What Can I Expect During a Wrongful Termination Case?

April 13, 2020

If you or someone you love was fired for illegal reasons, you may be eligible for compensation in a wrongful termination case.

Working With an Experienced Employment Attorney

Proving wrongful termination is one of the most difficult types of lawsuits. That being said, working with an attorney experienced with wrongful termination can ensure that your case is strong and that you receive the full amount of compensation for which you qualify.

Types of Wrongful Termination

Among the most common types of wrongful termination is discrimination. If you can prove that the reason you were fired had something to do with your gender (including the fact that you were pregnant or became a mother), race, disability, or religion, then the courts are going to take your claim very seriously.

Secondly, if your employer broke a contract, whether written, verbal, or implied, your firing also qualifies as wrongful termination. If the contract was implied or verbal, this can be challenging to prove, but it is doable with the help of an attorney.

Thirdly, your employer is not allowed to fire you because you refused an order that would have forced you to do something illegal. Similarly, employers can’t keep you from making the right decision legally, even if it puts them in a difficult position. This is known as the public policy exception, and you are protected for obeying the law.

Lastly, another common reason for wrongful termination occurs when an employer retaliates against an employee who files for workers’ compensation or is involved in any whistleblowing activity. All employers are entitled to workers’ comp after an accident at work that leaves them unable to return to work for some time.

Indiana Is an At-Will Employment State

In the face of your wrongful termination claim, your employer will most likely point to the fact that Indiana is an at-will employment state. That means that both you and the employer may end the working relationship at any time for no reason.

However, your case is not that your employer fired you for no reason or “just cause.” Rather, your case is that your employer violated one of the clear prohibitions listed above according to wrongful termination law in Indiana.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Termination Claims

The time limit under which you must file your wrongful termination claim varies by the type of violation. In most scenarios, you have about six months from when you were terminated. If your wrongful termination case involved discrimination, you have three hundred days from the discriminatory actions to file your claim.

Wrongful Termination Settlements

In many cases, your employer will offer you a cash settlement to keep your case from going to trial. While it is convenient to avoid the cost and time commitment involved in a wrongful termination lawsuit, not all settlements are fair.

Make sure that you understand the full amount of damages that you are owed as a result of the wrongful termination. It should include any lost wages, lost benefits, lost commissions and even pain and suffering. You were most likely inconvenienced by having to find a new job. You may even suffer from depression and other negative effects resulting from being terminated under such terrible circumstances.

If your case goes to trial and you can prove that your employer wrongfully terminated you, you will most likely receive far more in damages. And if the employer’s behavior was bad enough, you may even qualify for punitive damages.

How Long Do Wrongful Termination Lawsuits Take?

This is always a difficult question to answer. You should prepare yourself for the process to take at least one year. Many wrongful termination cases often take a couple of years or more, but every case is different.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your wrongful termination case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

30
Mar

How Can I Prove That My Employer Fired Me Illegally?

March 30, 2020

People depend on their jobs. It’s an inevitable fact. It takes up an overwhelming amount of their time each week, provides food on the table and allows them to save for retirement.

The shock of losing a job is disconcerting for several reasons. What is even more troubling is if you feel like you got fired under questionable circumstances. How can you prove that your employer fired you illegally?

Indiana, like other states in the country, has laws that protect workers from their employers. Whether you were fired illegally or believe that the employer acted out of retaliation or discrimination, you deserve someone willing to stand up for you.

Common Reasons for Illegal Job Terminations 

No one wants to get called into the office of the boss to learn he/she is being terminated. While many job terminations are valid and for a justifiable cause, there are also plenty of questionable ones.

Every year 150,000 workers are wrongfully terminated in the country. Here are some of the most common reasons people get wrongfully fired from their job:

  • The employer violated written or implied promises. Several jobs have a specified length of time during which you can’t get fired. Violating an implied or written promise in a contract is an illegal termination.
  • You were a victim of discrimination. You are not allowed to be discriminated at work because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and/or national origin.
  •  There was a breach of good faith and fair dealing. An example is an employee that gets terminated because the company wouldn’t have to pay a sales commission.
  • The employer violated public policy. An employer cannot fire you for taking time off to vote, for jury duty or service in the military.
  • The employer retaliated against you. An employer cannot fire you for being a whistleblower. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) protects individuals who report health or safety concerns.
  • The employer committed fraud. A company cannot fire you for tricking you into using bad information and then forcing a resignation after the fact.
  • The employee was defamed. If your reputation or good standing in the workplace is jeopardized because of defamation, you can claim a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Keep in mind that the laws regarding wrongful termination vary from state to state. Federal laws are also in place to protect workers’ rights.

Wrongful Termination Laws

Fortunately, some laws were created in the United States to protect workers from getting fired from their job illegally. Some of the most common federal laws that may help you receive a favorable outcome in a wrongful termination lawsuit include:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964: The landmark legislation prohibits discrimination at work based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It includes protection both during the hiring process and after you get hired.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: The act prohibits age discrimination of people between the ages of 40-65. It protects seniors who may be forced to resign before they would like to stop working.
  • Civil Service Reform Act of 1978: The legislation prohibits discrimination by federal employers based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, political affiliation and sexual orientation.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: The legislation makes it illegal to discriminate against qualified individuals that have disabilities.

How to Protect Your Job From an Illegal Firing 

 Most jobs in the United States are “at-will” which means the employer may terminate an employee at almost any time for almost any reason. Most jobs not under a union contract are considered “at-will” which does produce some complications for a former employee.

However, there are still ways that people get fired which are considered illegal, like retaliation or discrimination. Those that suspect or know they have been terminated because of illegal reasons should contact an experienced lawyer. 

Regardless, if you seek to get your job back or want fair compensation in a settlement, pushing back against illegal firings is your best defense. Your integrity is on the line as well as your future.

Even if the actions of the termination are not considered illegal, former employees may still go after employers for acting unfairly and unethically. If you have been fired unexpectedly, laid off, forced to retire, or otherwise compelled to resign, contact a knowledgeable lawyer for an initial consultation.

Prepare Your Defense

In the state of Indiana, wrongful termination claims may get filed in one of two ways:

(1) Through a government agency that enforces labor laws.

(2) Through a private lawsuit. 

While you prepare to speak to an lawyer, you can take a few steps to prepare for a potential lawsuit.

First, collect your employment records. You have the right to contact your former employer and request documentation, including official matters related to your termination. You can also collect reports, reviews and records from your personal file that summarize your history with the company.

Secondly, make notes while the circumstances involving the wrongful termination are fresh in your memory. Be sure to record dates, names and locations of people that were involved in the situation. It is important to document events like performance reviews, salary increases (or decreases), reprimands or commendations.

Finally, speak with a lawyer. Our qualified lawyers personally examine the details of your case, and you don’t owe us a penny until a settlement is reached. We can help you receive back pay, punitive damages, compensatory damages or job reinstatement.  

Contact us today at (800) 33-33-LAW or visit GetStewart.com.

24
Mar

Stewart & Stewart Attorneys COVID-19 Update

March 24, 2020

Stewart & Stewart Attorneys remains open to accept new cases and resolve pending cases during the COVID–19 pandemic. As the consequences of this worldwide threat continue to impact nearly every aspect of our lives, we want to assure you that we are committed to providing uninterrupted service to our clients regarding all aspects of their case.

Over the years, we have invested in technology for the benefit of our clients. As a result, our law offices are prepared for the current crisis, allowing our attorneys and staff to work at full capacity from their homes around the clock. The only thing that we have decided to put a pause on is our ability to meet face–to–face.

Please, feel free to call, email, text and videoconference us as usual. For thirty–eight years, our mission has been to serve, and we are proud to be able to do that no matter the circumstances.

23
Mar

3 Questions to Ask Before Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

March 23, 2020

It is always hard to lose a loved one. However, it is especially tragic to lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligence. If you have lost a spouse, parent, or child because another person was negligent, you may be eligible to recover all costs associated with your loved one’s death in a wrongful death claim.

Since every state has its own set of wrongful death laws, it is important to understand how Indiana works under these circumstances. Here are 3 important questions to ask to properly file a wrongful death claim in Indiana.

What Exactly Constitutes Wrongful Death?

The full legal code for wrongful death claims in Indiana can be found in Title 34, Article 23, Chapter 1. For most people, the legal jargon within Indiana law can be difficult to understand. That’s why it’s always important to consult a wrongful death attorney before making any decisions concerning a wrongful death claim. 

Thankfully, experienced attorneys at Stewart & Stewart will discuss your case for free in an initial consultation.

The first reason that someone can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one is if the accident causing death occurred by way of “wrongful act.” The act could have been malicious or otherwise. In many cases, the wrongful act was an inappropriate response to a situation, a gross example of negligence. 

A second reason that one may file a wrongful death claim in Indiana is if the accident and/or death was the result of someone not administering reasonable care to prevent an accident or death. This is a more common example of negligence that can lead to the death of a loved one. 

If the injury and death of your loved one merits a wrongful death claim, you have two years from the time of death to file your claim.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana?

The official title of the person who files a wrongful death claim is known as the deceased’s personal representative. For a deceased adult, the widow, children, and/or dependents are eligible to receive damages in a wrongful death claim. According to Indiana law,

A parent or child who wishes to recover damages under this section has the burden of proving that the parent or child had a genuine, substantial, and ongoing relationship with the adult person before the parent or child may recover damages. 

In other words, children estranged from their deceased parent may not be eligible to file and claim damages in a wrongful death case. The same is true in a case where parents lose an adult child. They must be able to demonstrate that they had a “genuine, substantial, and ongoing relationship” with the deceased child. 

When children die in an accident where there was clear negligence, parents or legal guardians may initiate a wrongful death claim and receive damages.

What Is Included in Wrongful Death Damages?

Though a personal representative may not attempt to financially quantify their grief in damages, there are substantial costs that are typically included in those damages. For example, any hospitalization, emergency response, and/or other medical expenses before death should be included in the final damages amount. 

Also, all costs associated with a funeral and burial are included in damages. Your attorney will be able to help you include noneconomic damages, such as the surviving loved one’s loss of companionship and affection. Noneconomic damages are especially appropriate if the deceased left young children behind that he/she had been raising and supporting financially. This is known as “loss of consortium.” 

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your wrongful death case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

 

16
Mar

Can I Sue for a Car Accident I Caused?

March 16, 2020

In most cases, you are liable for accidents that you cause; however, since Indiana is a comparative negligence state, you may be able to sue the other driver even though you caused the accident.

How Comparative Negligence Works in Indiana

In Indiana, more than one driver can be held responsible for an accident. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident for which you’ve been faulted, you may be able to prove that the other driver was also negligent and contributed to any damage or injuries.

This is known as comparative negligence. Each negligent driver is assigned a percentage according to their degree of fault. This can be proven and assigned by insurance companies as well as in a personal injury claim. If your comparative negligence is less than 50%, you are eligible to seek compensation for damage and injuries.

Make sure to discuss the details of your case with an experienced car accident attorney. The more evidence you have, the better chance you have to prove that the other driver was the greater contributor. And while your evidence may release you from fault altogether, those cases are rare. Most likely, your only option for suing the other driver is in a case of comparative negligence.

Were You Injured?

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident that you caused, the severity of the injuries might have been caused by the other driver’s actions. Because insurance limits can force you to have to pay some of your medical bills out of pocket, it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury claim for damages to the degree that the other driver was negligent.

In a personal injury lawsuit where there is comparative negligence, you receive damages in the amount you claimed up to the percentage that the other driver was named at fault. This means that if your total damages were set at $50,000, you receive $30,000 if the other driver’s comparative negligence was 60% (60% of $50,000). Remember, if your comparative negligence exceeds 50%, you may not sue the other driver.

What to Do After an Accident That You Caused

Regardless of who was at fault, you should immediately stop and find out if anyone was hurt in the accident. All involved drivers should try to move their vehicles out of the way of traffic and attend to anyone who has been injured.

Once all parties are safe from harm, you need to report the accident to the police. Do not admit fault, and certainly refrain from discussing your narrative with the other drivers. Take whatever pictures you can of the scene, including damage to property, injuries, and the spot where the accident occurred. If any witnesses are willing to assist you, make sure to collect their names and contact information.

If you feel that someone else was responsible for the accident even though you were faulted, you should speak with a personal injury attorney right away. In many cases, there is evidence of comparative fault that will hold the other driver(s) accountable for some of the damage and injuries.

As noted above, there are some cases where a careful review of the evidence shows that another driver is more at fault than the initially-faulted driver. That is why it’s always important that you gather as much evidence as possible to support your case.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you after an accident for which you’ve been faulted, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

9
Mar

Do I Need a Witness for My Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?

March 09, 2020

Strictly speaking, if no one besides yourself can confirm that the other party in an accident was at fault, then you do not have a case in your personal injury claim. While having a witness can help your claim, it is not necessary that a third party (not involved in the accident) confirm your version of events related to the accident.

There are many different witnesses who naturally respond to a car accident. These witnesses exist to confirm who was responsible for the accident and the severity of your injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the state of Indiana, it is vital that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you collect witness testimony.

Witnesses on the Scene

If anyone has been injured in a car wreck, there will be witnesses. Some are required by law to respond to injuries in an accident, and others may volunteer assistance and provide observations regarding the cause of the accident.

Third Party Observers

In Indiana, people who witness a car accident are not required to stop and assist unless they are directly involved in the accident. However, many third party individuals who witness an accident will stop by their own accord and try to assist anyone injured on the scene. They may even take it upon themselves to give a statement to the police when they arrive. 

If you notice non-involved, third party observers volunteering to help those who have been injured, it is a good idea to ask for their names and contact information. Having witnesses who can testify that the other party was at fault for the accident can help your personal injury claim.

Drivers Involved

Whoever is involved in a car accident must stop and find out if anyone was hurt. All drivers should do their best to move their motor vehicles so as not to impede traffic. Anyone involved in a car wreck who does not stop to help the injured are violating Indiana state law. If you or someone you love are involved in a motor vehicle accident where the other driver did not stop, then you should report the color, make, and model of their vehicle, along with their license plate number, to police. To leave the scene of an accident is called a “hit and run” and is a crime.

Responding Police Officer

The police officer who arrives on the scene after a motor vehicle accident must take statements and determine who was at fault for the accident. That’s why it is important that you get a copy of the police report after the accident.

Because Indiana is a comparative negligence state, the officer may find both (or all) drivers at fault for the accident. In the case of comparative negligence, each driver is assigned a percentage of negligence contributing to the accident. If you’ve been found to be over 50% at fault, then you will not be able to file a personal injury claim. 

Expert Testimony

It is important that you seek medical attention after an accident. Your doctors will be able to provide evidence of your injuries. You should collect receipts and track all costs associated with your injuries (including lost wages). If you wait too long to see a physician, then the other party could make a case that you received your injuries after the accident.

In the Case of Preexisting Conditions

It may be that you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and were already suffering from preexisting injuries and conditions. Treating doctors are not usually able to provide a complete analysis in this case. However, your personal injury attorney can help you solicit necessary expert witness testimony to confirm that regardless of your pre-existing injuries, the at-fault driver is responsible for the current nature of your injuries.  

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your motor vehicle accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

2
Mar

What Can I Do If I Get a Bacterial Infection at the Hospital?

March 02, 2020

Naturally, the goal after being admitted to a hospital is to get better and return home. However, some people acquire serious bacterial infections that can prolong a hospital stay or, in some cases, can even lead to death. According to the World Health Organization, seven out of every 100 hospitalized patients in developed countries will acquire at least one hospital-associated infection (HAI).

What Causes Hospital-Associated Infections?

Even the most sophisticated hospitals leave patients at risk of exposure. Primary reasons include:

  • Prolonged and inappropriate use of antibiotics and invasive devices (like catheters)
  • High-risk and sophisticated procedures
  • Immuno-suppression and other severe underlying patient conditions
  • Insufficient application of standard (washing hands) and isolation precautions. 

The Facts Surrounding MRSA

One of the biggest issues in hospitals and healthcare facilities in America is a bacterial “superbug” known as MRSA – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is resistant to several antibiotics, and there are several ways it can be acquired in a hospital setting. It can appear around surgical wounds, catheters, or feeding tubes. People with weakened immune systems are also at a higher risk of contracting a MRSA staph infection. Devices like catheters, ventilators, and feeding tubes need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of germs. A wound appearing around the incision point in surgery is known as a surgical site infection (SSI). Potential infections can be due to unsanitary conditions during the procedure itself or while wound care is being administered – cleaning the wound and changing bandages. MRSA is not harmful unless it’s inside the body. If it invades the bloodstream, urinary tract, or lungs, it could require a long recovery period while heavy doses of specialized antibiotics are administered.

Was the Infection Caused by Medical Malpractice?

There’s an inherent risk of infection while hospitalized, but there is a threshold to determine if medical malpractice was the cause. Doctors are not miracle workers and do not succeed 100 percent of the time. However, if a doctor or healthcare worker doesn’t perform at the levels of professionalism and competence expected, medical malpractice could be the issue.

In medical cases, patients can invoke a legal doctrine called “res ipsa loquitur,” which, translated from Latin, means “the thing speaks for itself.” If you can show a result that occurred only due to someone’s negligence, then the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to prove that they were not negligent in handling your care. A potential medical malpractice case can be further muddled due to the fact that many HAIs do not present themselves until after a patient is discharged from the hospital. Medical malpractice is a murky legal area – and rightfully so. There is a careful line to straddle where a doctor did his job and a bad thing still happened, or the doctor didn’t do his job properly and it led to a bad result.

If you had an experience where a hospital stay led to you contracting a hospital-borne infection, you need to contact an attorney to see if medical malpractice was at play. Stewart & Stewart Attorneys is the home of the best medical malpractice attorneys in the state of Indiana, and they will be happy to discuss your situation with you and let you know if you have a case. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you – call 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.

24
Feb

How to Avoid Accidents When It Snows in Indianapolis

February 24, 2020

Indiana winter weather usually brings with it a host of car accidents and related injuries. As a general rule, you should try to stay indoors during extremely severe weather. But if you must venture outdoors, here are a few things to help you avoid an accident in snow and ice.

Winterize Your Vehicle

There are vehicle components and fluids that merit changing as Indiana winter rolls in. It is best to check with a trusted mechanic to make sure that your vehicle is ready for the winter roads.

Check your tires. Depending on your vehicle, you may want to change to winter tires. At the very least, make sure that your tire pressure is where it ought to be. Remember that cold weather causes the air in your tires to constrict, lowering tire pressure. 

Change your fluids. Make sure that your vehicle is full of antifreeze as well as wiper fluid that has antifreeze.

Test your battery. Check your battery and clean it of any corrosion so that it will behave optimally during extreme cold. If your battery is old, you should probably replace your battery before winter approaches.

Keep supplies inside the vehicle. It is always a good idea to include a survival kit in your car, along with an ice scraper and hand warmers.

Be More Alert

Don’t drive too close to other vehicles. You never know when a driver in front of you may break or move suddenly. On snow and ice, you will need more time and room to avoid an accident. 

Drive slower. Smart Indiana drivers lower their speed significantly over snow and ice. Just as creating extra space between you and the other vehicle increases your ability to maneuver, a slower speed gives you more time to react. 

Leave your phone alone. Texting and holding a phone is dangerous in normal weather conditions, but it is incredibly dangerous during snow and ice. While wearing a hands-free device is much safer, it is often best to avoid using your phone altogether so that you can focus on the road.

Keep distractions to a minimum. Depending on the severity of the weather, blaring music could distract you from responding carefully and avoiding an accident. Secure objects within your vehicle and make sure you have everything you need before you start your car.

Master Driving Techniques on Snow and Ice

Know if your car is front, rear, or all-wheel-drive. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles are the most susceptible to slips and skids. If at all possible, use a 4-wheel-drive vehicle if you must go outside during snow and ice.

Approach hills carefully. If you begin hitting the gas pedal while climbing, your wheels might spin. Also, if you try to brake while climbing a hill, your vehicle may start to slide backward. Be extra careful on hills by gaining the momentum you need to get up the hill and then pumping the brakes slowly as you descend. 

Turn in the direction of the skid. Most experienced winter drivers learn early on that they should turn the wheel in the direction of the skid to get out of it. If you try to turn the other direction, your car will spin in circles. 

Sudden movements might not work. As a general rule, if you need to turn, brake, or speed up quickly, the snow is likely to prevent your wheels from responding on the road. Always move slowly enough so that you have plenty of time to maneuver your vehicle properly. 

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you protect yourself in the event of a vehicle accident, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

17
Feb

If You Slipped and Fell at Work, You Must Read This

February 17, 2020

If you suffer a slip and fall at work, there are steps you can take to make sure that you are treated fairly until you recover from your injuries. Consult our quick guide here, and then speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to protect yourself after your accident.

Seek Medical Attention 

If you were injured at work, anticipate that you will be following the process for workers’ compensation. In this case, you will need to consult your employer on which physicians their workers’ comp insurance will approve. However, if the injuries constitute an emergency, someone must call an ambulance and workers’ comp benefits can be sorted out later.

Even if you can walk away from the accident, do not delay seeking medical treatment. Waiting to seek medical attention could risk the employer claiming that you were injured at a different time and place. Your treatment will need to coincide closely with the date and time of your accident.

Understanding Premises Liability

Under premises liability law, all property owners are required to keep visitors safe. Property owners must either repair dangerous parts of the property or block off and clearly warn visitors of unsafe areas until repairs can be made. As such, if you or someone you love was injured in a slip-and-fall accident on work property where a property owner was negligent, that property owner is liable for the injuries.  

If the property owner is your employer, then you will most likely be filing for workers’ compensation. However, if the property owner is someone other than your employer, you may qualify for a personal injury claim against the property owner in addition to seeking workers’ compensation for your injuries.

Workers’ Compensation in Indiana

Employers in Indiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers in the event of an accident. Workers’ compensation pays for your medical bills, rehabilitation and a percentage of your lost wages until you can return to work. 

You can initiate a workers’ comp claim by requesting and completing form DWC-1. When completing the form, you must include as much specific information as possible about when, how and where the accident occurred. 

Indiana workers can qualify for workers’ comp even if the slip and fall was their fault. However, if your employer can prove that you intentionally tried to hurt yourself, your claim would constitute a fraud claim, and you would not be awarded any benefits.

Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity

By Indiana law, you are not allowed to sue your employer for a slip and fall so long as the accident occurred while you were working and your employer has workers’ comp coverage. Instead, you will need to follow the process to collect workers’ comp as soon as you are able after your accident.

However, if your slip and fall took place on a property where someone other than your employer possesses premises liability, you may qualify for a third-party action personal injury claim.

Third-Party Actions

If your slip and fall occurred somewhere other than employer-owned property, you may be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in his duties under premises liability law. You should consult with a personal injury attorney to see if you qualify for a personal injury lawsuit as a result of your slip and fall.  

In a third-party action, you can hold the property owner accountable for your injuries and seek compensation for damages even if your accident occurred during work and qualifies you for workers’ compensation. In many cases, workers’ compensation does not fully cover all expenses (such as lost wages) after an accident. Filing a personal injury claim against the third-party property owner can ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries in full.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your slip and fall case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

10
Feb

Who Is Responsible for Damages After an Accident with a City Bus?

February 10, 2020

Public transportation is a convenient service, but it also poses a risk to passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. For these reasons, bus operators and employers are required to take every precaution in order to prevent a city bus accident. Here is a quick guide to help you understand who is responsible for damages in the wake of a city bus accident.

The City Bus Driver

In public transportation systems, the city driver is expected to exercise great care and skill when driving the bus to lower the risk of an accident. Therefore, if there is an accident involving a city bus, there is usually negligence on the bus driver’s part.

 Sometimes the bus driver fails to observe traffic laws, or they fail to look out for other cars and pedestrians on the road before making a turn. In more serious situations, they may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs, or they may even have been driving without proper rest. Regardless, it is important that you speak with an attorney experienced in city bus claims if you or someone you love is injured in this type of accident.

The Driver’s Employer

Ultimately, the bus driver’s employer is responsible for any negligence on the part of the driver. It may be that the employer did not properly vet their driver or train them to handle situations in a way that could have prevented an accident.

Mechanical Failure

If the brakes failed when the driver tried to engage them, then an accident is likely to result in injuries for which the maintenance staff or even the parts manufacturer may be liable. There are a number of bus parts that, should they fail, could result in serious injuries to those inside and outside the bus. Typically, vehicle operators or businesses must keep a vehicle inspection schedule in order to identify potential mechanical failures and prevent a bus accident.

Other Passengers

In some cases, disruptive or violent passengers might be the cause of the bus accident. It is possible for other passengers to be faulted for a city bus accident.

Types of Bus Accidents

Due to the size and number of passengers being transported in a city bus, there are a number of different ways that people are injured in a bus accident. If a bus collides with or crashes into another car, then the car driver is likely to be injured in the accident.

If a city bus gets into an accident, many of the passengers may fall or even injure one another as the bus moves unexpectedly. Because of the nature of public transportation, passengers are not usually seat-belted for extra safety. Many people inside are likely to suffer injuries in the event of a collision. In cases where a bus actually flips, there may even be severe injuries and fatalities.

Usually, the most tragic bus accidents occur when the bus strikes a pedestrian in the street or on the sidewalk. These pedestrians are likely to suffer severe injury or death.

If you or someone you love has been injured or died in any of the bus accidents described above, a number of people may be liable for their injury or death. You may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, wrongful death, and a number of other qualified damages in a personal injury claim. 

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your city bus accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.a