Bus accidents lawsuits are personal injury cases that you can file if you were hurt in a bus-related accident. In Colorado, you would file it against whoever caused the accident through their negligence. This lawsuit would pursue compensation for your injuries. This compensation would cover:
- Medical expenses,
- Property damage,
- Lost wages and earning capacity,
- Loss of consortium for your family, and
- Pain and suffering.
If your loved one died in a bus accident, you can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
In this article, our Colorado personal injury lawyers explain:
- 1. When can I file a bus accident lawsuit in Colorado?
- 2. Who would I file the lawsuit against?
- 3. What compensation can I recover in a bus accident lawsuit?
- 4. Wrongful death claims after a bus accident in Colorado
1. When can I file a bus accident lawsuit in Colorado?
You can file a bus accident lawsuit if you were hurt in a bus crash and someone else was at fault.
Bus accident victims can be any of the following:
- Passengers on a bus that crashed,
- Drivers in other cars that get hit by a bus,
- Bicyclists who get hit by a bus, or
- Pedestrians who get hurt when a bus hits them.
The bus crash could have happened for any one of a variety of reasons, including:
- The bus driver was not paying attention,
- The driver of the bus was tired from driving for so long,
- The bus driver was speeding or violating a different rule of the road,
- The brakes on the bus failed, or there was some other mechanical defect or malfunction,
- The bus came too close to the sidewalk and the mirror clipped you, or
- You were biking on the side of the road and the bus did not give you enough room.
In any of these cases, you were likely not at fault for the crash. It would be unfair for you to cover the costs of your losses. Instead, the bus driver, the bus company, or the local government should pay. A bus accident lawsuit tries to make this happen. It is a formal request that the person who caused the crash pay for the results of it.
1.1. What is the statute of limitations?
All bus accident lawsuits have to be filed before the statute of limitations expires. In Colorado, you have 3 years to file a bus accident lawsuit.1
If you wait for longer than 3 years, your lawsuit can be quickly dismissed. Courts will not even pay attention to how strong your claim is. The defendant only has to point out that the statute of limitations has expired. The court will then dismiss your lawsuit.
If your lawsuit is being filed against a state or local government, the statute of limitations changes. You have to notify the government agency of your intent to sue within 180 days.
2. Who would I file the lawsuit against?
You file your bus accident lawsuit against whoever was responsible for the crash. This will depend on whether the bus was run by a private company or the government.
2.1. Private bus companies
Some bus accidents implicate private bus companies. These companies include:
- Peter Pan,
- Greyhound, or
If you were hurt by one of these companies’ buses, you would file a lawsuit against:
- The driver of the bus, and
- The bus company.
Your claim against the bus driver would argue that he or she was negligent. This negligence caused the crash that got you hurt. Therefore, the bus driver should be held liable for your losses. They should pay compensation.
The claim against the bus company is that they should be held vicariously liable for the crash. Employers are responsible for the negligence of their employees when they are on the job.2 Because employees act on behalf of their employer, the employer can be liable for injuries caused by their workers.3
Including the bus company in the lawsuit is extremely important. If you only sue the bus driver, you are unlikely to recover all of the compensation you deserve. The driver is unlikely to be able to afford it. By filing a bus accident lawsuit against the bus company, you can recover all of the compensation you deserve.
Some bus accidents seem to have been caused by a defect in the bus or a malfunctioning part. In these cases, you would also include the company that made and sold that part in the lawsuit.
2.2. Public bus services
Some bus accidents are caused by public transportation. These bus accident lawsuits are more complex. They have to be filed against the state or local government. Lawsuits against the government have to overcome unique obstacles. These obstacles are meant to protect the taxpayer money that would compensate you.
One of those obstacles is a stricter statute of limitations. Rather than having 3 years to begin your bus accident lawsuit, you have to begin in 180 days. Before this time frame expires, you have to submit written notice to the agency that runs the bus system. This notice has to include:
- You and your lawyer’s name and address,
- A statement of what happened, including the date, time, place, and the circumstances of the crash,
- The name and address of the bus driver, if possible,
- A summary of your injuries, and
- How much money you want in compensation.4
The amount of compensation you can recover can also be capped by statute.
3. What compensation can I recover in a bus accident lawsuit?
A successful bus accident lawsuit can recover compensation for:
- Property damage,
- Medical bills you have already accumulated,
- Medical expenses you are likely to have, in the future,
- Wages you have lost while recovering,
- Future income problems you are likely to experience because of your injuries,
- Physical pain,
- Mental anguish and suffering, and
- Loss of consortium for your family.
In rare cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages, as well.
3.1. Damage caps in bus accidents against public transportation services
If you were hurt by a bus used for public transit, your compensation may be subject to a damage cap. A damage cap is a law that puts a limit on how much you can recover in a lawsuit.
In a bus accident case that involves the negligence of a public employee, your compensation is capped at $350,000.5 This dollar amount changes with inflation every 4 years.6
You also cannot recover punitive damages in bus accident lawsuits against the government.
4. Wrongful death claims after a bus accident in Colorado
If the bus accident was a fatal one, the victim cannot file their own lawsuit. Instead, their family members can file a wrongful death claim on the victim’s behalf.
A wrongful death claim has to be filed within 2 years of the accident.7 This statute of limitations is stricter than a normal bus accident lawsuit.
In the first year after the bus accident, the following people can file the wrongful death claim:
- The victim’s spouse,
- The victim’s heirs, so long as they have the spouse’s consent or the spouse is deceased, or
- The designated beneficiary.
In the second year, the victim’s heirs do not need the spouse’s consent to file a wrongful death claim.
Where the victim has no spouse or children, the victim’s parents can file the claim.
The compensation available in a wrongful death lawsuit is meant to cover:
- Funeral expenses,
- Medical expenses,
- Loss of the victim’s earnings, insurance, and retirement benefits,
- Property damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Grief and sorrow, and
- Loss of consortium.
Call us for help…
Bus accidents are severe. The injuries you sustain are likely to be far worse than if the bus was just a normal car. They can be life-altering, and are frequently life-threatening.
You should not have to deal with the financial toll that comes with these injuries. If the bus accident was not your fault, you deserve to be compensated. Contact our Colorado personal injury lawyers today to get started on your case. For cases in California or Nevada, please see our pages on bus accident lawsuits in California and bringing a bus accident lawsuit in Nevada.
C.R.S. § 13-80-101(1)(n) (“The following civil actions… shall be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrues, and not thereafter: All tort actions for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle”).
C.R.S. § 24-10-109.
C.R.S. § 13-21-201(1)(a).