Compensation is fully justified if you’ve been injured in a bus or coach accident. Whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, if the accident was not your fault, you are entitled to make a claim. He we look at what should you do to make sure you have every chance of being compensated for your injuries, whether physical or psychological.
Table of contents
- When can you make a claim?
- The evidence you’ll need
- The kind of compensation you can get
- Your questions answered
If you are a passenger on a bus or any form of public transport and injured in an accident, you have a legal right to make a claim for personal injury compensation against the operator of the service. This is the same right to claim compensation for injuries and losses as in any road traffic accident, in the same way as a driver or passenger does in a car crash.
Common bus accident injuries include whiplash, soft tissue injuries, concussion and bone fractures. A successful outcome will depend on having the right evidence in place to support your claim. Whether you are a passenger on a bus that collides with another vehicle or object, or a cyclist or pedestrian that is hit by a bus, you’ll need to prove you were there and that your injuries were caused by the accident.
With all claims for compensation, it is really important to report and record your accident with the right people. In all cases, there will be a requirement for evidence to demonstrate that the claim is justified. Early on in the claims process, defendant insurers will require the injured claimant to prove that they were on the bus at the time of the collision. This would seem a fair enough requirement, but how do you do that? How can you make sure that the details of your bus accident are properly reported and recorded? Who should you speak to? What evidence can you provide to prove your claim and maximise your chance of succeeding with a claim for bus accident compensation?
One thing is for sure, the passengers travelling on the bus are non-fault parties and as such, if they are injured, they have every right to pursue a claim for compensation against which ever party was responsible for the accident.
When can you make a claim?
As with all claims, you must allege negligence (responsibility) against the driver or a 3rd party. It is not possible to claim compensation if the injured party is responsible for their own injuries. Common scenarios leading to bus or coach accident compensation include:
- Colliding with a 3rd party vehicle
- Colliding with a solid object – such as a road sign, bus stop, kerb
- A driver losing control and leaving the highway
- A driver not allowing a vulnerable person (eg elderly, immobile, disabled or with special needs) sufficient time to take a seat before pulling away from a stop, and causing the person to fall due to the movement of the vehicle
In all cases of someone making a bus or coach accident compensation claim, they are doing so because they have been injured as a result of someone else’s mistake or negligence.
Bus and coach companies (and their employed drivers) that fail to ensure passenger safety, compliance with relevant vehicle maintenance, adequate driver training and adequate safety warnings to paying passengers, may well be liable should any injuries happen to the passengers travelling on their vehicle. Any person injured in this way is entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation.
Alternatively, if the bus or coach was the non-fault vehicle in an accident, the 3rd party driver/insurers will be liable to compensate any passengers that they are responsible for injuring.
The evidence you’ll need for proof
To make a successful claim, a solicitor will need evidence to present a compelling case to the defendant insurers. Firstly, a solicitor will need to be able to prove that the bus accident has happened and that injuries have been treated professionally. All claims for injury compensation need to be supported by medical evidence and all claimants will need to sign authorities to enable their solicitor to access relevant medical records to prove the extent of any injury sustained. If you have not yet seen your GP, you can still pursue a claim and you can contact us for advice and support in this.
The accident should be recorded with the responsible party, which in the case of a bus or coach accident, would be the operating company. In most cases, when a qualified bus or coach driver is involved in a collision, the driver will ensure that they have properly recorded the necessary details. Then you will simply need to obtain an incident reference from the company. You should contact them as soon as possible to obtain this and report your involvement in the accident.
It is really important to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly and with the right people. If you haven’t completed these steps already, we can help you to do so.
Insurers will exploit all areas of weakness in any claim, especially in claims for bus accident compensation. To combat this, there are some really helpful things that you can do to ensure any future claim is not easily defended. Here is a useful checklist of the things you can do to protect your rights and give you the very best chance of success:
- Retain proof of travel. If you have a bus ticket, keep it. This provides irrefutable proof that you were on the bus at the time of the accident
- Ensure that the driver takes your details in full, including a description of any injuries if they are immediately present
- Take the name and ID of the driver of the bus and any other vehicles involved
- Record the bus service number and registration plate
- Record the registration plate of any other vehicles involved
- Note the accident location – street name and any landmarks
- Take the details of any fellow passengers who may be witnesses
- If the police attend, take details of the investigating officer and ideally a collision reference number
- Contact the customer services department of the bus company to further report the accident and make sure that your involvement is recorded
- Attend your GP surgery or local A&E asap, or should any injury symptoms worsen. This will add further medical evidence to support your claim
The kind of compensation you can get
As all bus and coach accident compensation claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, you will never be charged if your claim does not succeed. A successful claim will lead to a compensation settlement being made to you, with the value of the claim including any lost income and incurred costs as well as a settlement value for the injuries you have suffered, and medical treatment that has been required.
As well as a final settlement, claiming compensation can also help you in other ways.
- If successful, a claim can release funds from the liable party to pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed the recovery process of the injured party.
- A successful claim settlement will make up for lost income now and in the future if the injuries that are being claimed for have prevented the injured party from working, either temporarily or again.
Specialist rehabilitation therapies
When your claim is active and your specialist solicitor has been able to obtain an admission of liability (from the insurers that provide the vehicle insurance for the liability party), your claim will succeed. It is at this point that your solicitor can look to obtaining specialist rehabilitation therapy if it is deemed beneficial to your injuries.
Bus accidents often involve soft tissue injuries such as whiplash, a back injury or broken bones, and such rehabilitation would most likely involve physiotherapy, osteopathic/chiropractic or massage therapies. You can also claim for psychological damages, such as PTSD. Any private treatments will be provided at the expense of the third party dealing with your claim and their cost will form part of the value of the total settlement. Further information on this will be available from your solicitor once your claim has been active for a sufficient amount of time.
Remember, you can claim compensation for the injuries you have sustained – the value of which will depend on the nature of the injuries and any supporting medical evidence – and also for special damages. This will recover any lost income and costs incurred as a result of the injuries sustained in the bus accident.