The St. Louis regional transit system, called Bi-State, recorded nearly 23 million MetroBus boardings in the 2019 fiscal year. With that many buses on the road transporting commuters, accidents happen. Unfortunately, they also happen with area school buses, as happened at North Vandeventer and Evans Avenues in March 2020, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Injuries that come from a bus accident—whether you were a bus passenger or in another vehicle—can be serious: head and brain injuries, broken bones, long-term back injuries, and so on. Lawsuits arising from these accidents may be complex as well, depending on whether the bus was operated by a private company (e.g., Greyhound) or a governmental or quasi-governmental agency such as a school district or Bi-State. There may also be multiple parties responsible for the accident, including not just the bus driver but perhaps the bus maintenance company as well, not to mention another driver.
A St. Louis bus accident lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can evaluate your case and help you assess your legal options. Anytime you go up against the government, things can get complicated, but we never shy away from tough fights.
To schedule your free consultation, call our offices today at (800) 921-7227.
What to Do After an Accident
Regardless of whether you are a bicyclist, car driver, or pedestrian, the first thing to do following a bus accident in St. Louis is to notify the police and wait for them to arrive. Indeed, § 300.110 of Missouri law says that if you are in an accident in St. Louis that has led to death, injury, or property damage exceeding $500, you must contact the local police department “as soon as reasonably possible” and wait for them to arrive. If you are a passenger, unless you require immediate medical attention, document as much of the scene as possible: Speak to witnesses, take pictures, and make sure you collect as much evidence as possible.
Afterward, see a physician as soon as possible and keep records of your medical expenses, time missed from work, and the amount of pain you are suffering. You may also wish to contact a St. Louis bus accident lawyer to explore your legal options.
For a free legal consultation with a bus accidents lawyer serving St. Louis, call (800) 921-7227
Missouri is an “at fault” state, which means the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the other party’s damages, including property damage, medical care, and lost wages. The state places no limits on the amount of compensatory damages—i.e., economic and noneconomic damages—you may receive.
However, in some cases, fault might not be cut-and-dry. Here, “comparative negligence” might come into play. With comparative negligence, as the Department of Revenue (DOR) explains, a victim’s compensation is reduced in proportion to their share of the accident. So even if a bus was most to blame for the accident, but you were doing 5 mph over the limit, you might be assigned some responsibility and your compensation reduced.
In other cases—for example, in an accident involving multiple vehicles—blame may be shared among several parties. Missouri Code § 537.067 applies the principle of joint and several liability. If one of the defendants is determined to have 51% or more of the responsibility and the other parties are unable to pay, they are liable for the entire award.
§ 516.120 imposes a five-year deadline to file a lawsuit after the accident takes place.
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If the bus is driven by the employee of a public agency, things become a bit murkier. Broadly speaking, Missouri employs a doctrine of sovereign immunity, which means you cannot sue the state or local government. But in § 537.600, the law exempts from immunity, among other things, lawsuits alleging “[i]njuries directly resulting from the negligent acts or omissions by public employees arising out of the operation of motor vehicles or motorized vehicles within the course of their employment.”
Section 537.610, though, limits how much those public entities can be sued for. They have immunity from punitive damages, for instance. In addition, the state sets an annual limit on the amount of compensatory damages that can be awarded per injury or per accident. In 2020, according to the Missouri Department of Insurance, a public entity can pay no more than $2,905,664 for all claims arising from a single incident or $435,849 to any person in a single incident.
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How We Can Help
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC our attorneys work on contingency. That means that we do not get paid until you receive compensation. Your consultation is free. Our investigation is free. When we negotiate with the other party’s insurance company or lawyers, that is free, too. You do not have to pay us a dime until we collect on your behalf.
After a bus accident, you should not have to worry about bureaucracy and red tape. You should focus on getting better. Let us do the rest.
A St. Louis bus accident lawyer can help you explore your legal options. Call the offices of Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 921-7227 to speak to a member of our team about your case. Get a fighter on your side.
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