The Greater Portland Metro ferries people all over town, even bringing students up to Gorham and suburbanites as far as Brunswick. Other buses are also a common sight on Portland streets, including the lines connecting to Logan airport and the numerous tourist buses in the summer months.
Public transportation is an essential service, but it comes at a cost. Buses can cause devastating damage in accidents, which are unfortunately common.
If you were injured in an accident involving a bus, our seasoned personal injury attorneys could help you seek monetary damages from the bus company and other responsible parties. A Portland bus accident lawyer understands the complexities of these cases and is prepared to help you get the most generous settlement possible in your circumstances.
Common Causes of Bus Wrecks in Portland
Like tractor-trailers, buses are unwieldy, slow to respond, and difficult to drive. In addition to the challenges of driving a cumbersome vehicle, bus drivers must also be aware of their passengers, upcoming stops, a strict schedule, and other concerns. Unsurprisingly, driver distraction is a common cause of bus accidents in our area.
Buses have huge blind spots in front, behind, and along both sides. Although mirrors and windows help, they cannot eliminate blind spots entirely. Consequently, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycle riders, and occupants of compact cars are especially likely to be involved in these collisions because the bus driver often cannot see them.
Furthermore, buses do not handle well in wet or icy weather, and Portland gets a lot of both. In bad weather, buses can hydroplane, overturn, or spin out, often colliding with vehicles in adjacent or oncoming lanes in the process.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Bus Crash?
In order to recover damages related to personal injuries caused in a bus collision, the plaintiff must prove that another party is liable due to negligence. In most circumstances, negligence means a failure to act with reasonable care.
Bus drivers must meet a higher standard of care than other motorists. As common carriers, bus companies and their drivers must use the “utmost caution” to protect others from foreseeable harm. Any indication that the bus company or driver did not meet that high standard of care could be evidence of negligence.
A Portland attorney could investigate a bus accident to determine whether other parties’ negligence contributed to it. Depending on the circumstances, other drivers, the garage that performs bus maintenance, the bus manufacturer, and the local government where the accident occurred all could bear civil liability. Bringing as many parties to the negotiating table as possible is helpful because it increases a severely injured person’s chances of obtaining a reasonable settlement or compensatory award.
Legal Nuances for Government-Owned Buses
Local governments or the state operate commuter buses, school buses, and some other common carriers. If a government-operated bus is in an accident, additional rules and limitations apply to the case.
The Maine Tort Claims Act makes state and local governments liable for injuries resulting from the negligent operation or maintenance of government-owned motor vehicles, including buses. However, the law also limits a government entity’s liability in such cases to $400,000. If a person suffers a catastrophic injury as a result of a bus driver’s negligence, this amount might not be enough to cover their damages. A Portland lawyer could explain how this law might affect a plaintiff’s recovery in a bus collision case.
Another portion of the Maine Tort Claims Act, set forth in Maine Revised Statutes §8107, requires anyone with a claim against a local government to file a notice of claim within one year of the injury. This short timeframe is a stark contrast to the six years allowed for a plaintiff to file a civil claim against non-government defendants.
Call Portland Bus Accident Attorney Today
The legal system is complex, and wrecks involving common carriers can be especially complicated. An individual who tries to pursue compensation negotiations without legal help is at a great disadvantage.
A Portland bus accident lawyer is knowledgeable about the law and has excellent negotiation skills. Allowing them to handle your damages claim could result in a larger payment than you could likely get on your own. Call today to schedule a consultation.