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Rhode Island Bus Accident Attorney

Rhode Island Bus Accidents

Buses are a common form of public transportation in Rhode Island, connecting the University of Rhode Island campus and many of the state’s major cities, like Providence, Bristol, Portsmouth, and Newport. Much of the state is serviced by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA); you may frequently see their buses driving alongside you.

And public transportation buses aren’t the only buses that drivers in Rhode Island may see. Charter buses, filled with tourists sightseeing along the Atlantic coast, school buses, and hotel shuttles are also common on Rhode Island highways and city streets.

Regardless of the type of bus, it’s still a much heavier, taller, larger, and more unwieldy vehicle than a passenger car or SUV, and as such, it has the potential to cause serious injuries when it hits the smaller car.

You don’t have to be another driver to be injured in a bus accident. Passengers on the bus can also get seriously hurt if the bus they’re traveling on wrecks. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, contact the professional Rhode Island bus accident law firm Sands Law today for a free consultation about your case.

We’ve recovered tens of millions of dollars in settlement awards for our clients. Let our Rhode Island bus accident attorneys help you.

Rhode Island Bus Accident Facts

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s annual Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts publication, bus accidents are rarer than other types of roadway collisions. However, the report does contain some startling facts:

  • Of the 995,030 buses registered nationwide in 2019, 231 were involved in fatal crashes
  • There were 230 fatal crashes in 2018
  • In 2019, there were 15,000 crashes with injuries and 50,000 crashes involving property damage only
  • Just 227 buses were in crashes in 2020, resulting in 264 fatalities

Although bus accidents are rare, the injuries they cause can change someone’s life forever.

Common Causes of Bus Collisions

Bus company negligence is the chief cause of collisions. Whether the operating entity is the RIPTA, another Rhode Island municipality like those operating school buses, or a private company — such as a charter bus company — the obligation to keep the bus fleet in good condition and safe to drive remains the same.

The bus company can be found negligent if it:

  • Neglects to maintain the buses, leading to vehicles that are difficult to drive or control
  • Cuts corners with maintenance, leading to an accident caused by a malfunctioning vehicle
  • Hires unqualified drivers who have poor driving records or didn’t qualify for Class B or C licenses
  • Fails to properly train drivers on how to operate the bus
  • Fails to properly supervise drivers, permitting tired drivers or drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs to operate a vehicle

A bus accident may not always be the bus company’s fault, though. Buses need more distance to slow down and stop than cars, so if another driver cuts off a bus and slams their brakes, the bus may be unable to avoid a collision.

Other causes of bus accidents causes include:

  • Poor road conditions
  • Defective parts installed in a repair
  • Driver negligence
  • Government entity negligence

The person or party liable for your accident is often determined by the cause of the accident.

Possible Defendants in Your Bus Accident Case 

Bus accidents may have multiple defendants (the party or parties liable for the collision). As your Rhode Island bus accident lawyer, we thoroughly investigate the cause of the collision to ensure that every responsible party is held accountable.

Some common defendants in bus accident cases include:

  • The driver
  • The bus company
  • A government entity responsible for operating the bus line
  • Other drivers
  • Unruly passengers that cause a distraction
  • A mechanic that performs sub-par maintenance on the fleet
  • The bus manufacturer or designer who produced a fundamentally unsafe vehicle

Our Rhode Island bus accident law firm has the resources and experience to identify and prosecute all possible defendants.

Catastrophic Injuries from Bus Crashes Change Your Life

If you’re driving a regular car, truck, or SUV and get into an accident with a bus, your injuries will likely be much worse than those sustained by the driver or passengers. Common bus accident injuries include:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Organ damage and internal bleeding
  • Spine and back injuries, like a herniated disc or cracked vertebrae
  • Neck injuries like whiplash
  • Facial lacerations or disfigurement
  • Concussions or traumatic brain injuries
  • Burn injuries, if a vehicle catches fire
  • Partial or complete paralysis

Recovery from a bus accident injury can be long and painful, and there is no guarantee that you will fully recover from your injuries. Many people may need surgery or physical therapy to regain their abilities.

A Rhode Island bus accident lawyer can help you recover compensatory damages to cover the cost of your current medical bills and pay for any future treatment or accommodation you may require.

How Can a Rhode Island Bus Accident Attorney Help You?

If you didn’t cause the accident or were a passenger on a bus that wrecked and got hurt, you may have the right to file a claim for damages for your losses. Personal injury claims — which is what a bus accident lawsuit would fall under — are intended to restore you to the financial state you were in before the accident.

Our Rhode Island bus accident law firm offers comprehensive, skilled legal representation for bus accident victims. We can:

1. Prepare a Case Against the Other Party or Parties

We conduct an independent investigation into the cause of the accident. This includes:

  • Reviewing the official police accident report
  • Interviewing witnesses, passengers on the bus, and the driver
  • Auditing the bus company’s safety and maintenance records
  • Inspecting the driver's personnel file, licensing, and certification
  • Reviewing any photos or videos of the accident and the scene

We also use expert witnesses to build a strong case against the other party.

2. Deal with the Insurance Company for You

Don’t be surprised if an insurance adjuster representing the bus company, the municipality operating the bus line, or another driver approaches you soon after the accident. If you were driving your private vehicle when you were in the accident, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company and explain what happened.

However, you aren’t required to say anything to the other party’s insurance company, and it’s usually best not to say anything. Refer them to your Rhode Island bus accident lawyer so your words cannot be construed as admitting you were to blame for the wreck.

3. Negotiate a Fair Settlement

Our skilled negotiators properly value your claim and fight to get the maximum settlement for your case. With our years of experience handling bus accident cases, we know how to fight hard for your compensation.

4. Work with a Third-Party Arbitrator

We prefer to take whatever avenues we can to prevent a lengthy court case. So if we can’t reach a settlement, we’ll work with a neutral party in arbitration to reach an agreement outside of court.

5. Represent You in Trial

If the other party won’t settle or arbitration fails, our Rhode Island bus accident attorneys are fully prepared to take the at-fault party to trial.  Our attorneys have a long history of success in court, and we’re ready to fight for your rights before a judge.

Bus Accident FAQs

Our Rhode Island bus accident law firm receives many questions from clients seeking legal help after a bus accident. Some of those questions are provided here.

How Much Is My Bus Accident Claim Worth?

Usually, the more serious your injuries are, the higher your settlement will be, since it’s intended to cover all of your medical care, property damage, and any future treatments you need to recover. These are called economic, or actual, damages.

You are also entitled to collect compensation for your pain and suffering, which is typically calculated as non-economic damages.

Finally, depending on the case and the defendants, you may also collect punitive damages. A Rhode Island judge assesses these if they find that the defendant’s actions constituted an egregious degree of recklessness or negligence. Punitive damages are often assessed against a company or government entity, not a person.

How Much Does a Bus Accident Lawyer Cost?

No one should have to worry about paying an expensive lawyer on top of everything else they’re dealing with in the wake of an accident. The good news is that our team works on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing up front. Our fee comes from a percentage of your compensation award, which also means that you only pay WHEN we win.

The Commercial Bus Company’s Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement — Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Your lawyer knows the true value of your case and fights hard for it. We account for your current state and anticipate your future needs, so there’s a much better chance of getting a higher settlement if you work with a Rhode Island bus accident lawyer.

Do I Need to Call the Police After a Bus Accident?

Yes. When you call 911, you’ll be evaluated by trained professionals who know how to identify “hidden injuries,” or injuries that you may not notice because of the adrenaline your brain releases after the crash.

The police should always be notified of any collision involving a municipal or commercial vehicle as well.

Do I Need to Go to the Doctor After a Bus Accident?

If you don’t go to the ER after the crash, you should visit your own physician as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that the other party will claim you suffered your injuries from a cause other than the wreck. This could jeopardize your case and potential settlement.

A Rhode Island Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Have you or someone you love been involved in a bus accident? Our firm has earned a reputation for providing both personal attention and proven results for our clients. Contact Sands Law for a free consultation with one of our skilled Rhode Island bus accident attorneys today.

Was the first time I ever had to seek legal representation after a car accident that I was injured in. Rich was recommended to me through a family member, and I am so glad that I decided to be represented by Rich.”
Nicole, Rhode Island
Rich was supportive and helpful throughout a very difficult time for me. I recently got into a car accident where I was injured and my car was declared totaled. In complete panic not knowing what to do, I called Rich.”
Karissa, Rhode Island
Rich was a wealth of knowledge and support during a difficult time. He always made time to explain procedures and answer all questions in a timely manner.”
Mark M., Rhode Island
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