Living and working in a major city such as Miami, Florida offers many benefits. But as is often the case in large metropolitan areas, Miami roads can get quite congested and parking can be a hassle.
Luckily, you don’t have to drive yourself to get from point A to point B in Miami. Thanks to services like the Miami-Dade Metro Bus, you can instead use a bus to help you get around the city without the stress that driving yourself may involve.
The bus is not just a more convenient mode of transportation in some circumstances, but it may also be less dangerous. Research indicates that traveling by bus may be as much as 60 times safer than riding a car.
However, Miami city bus accidents can and do happen. There is a chance you may one day be injured as a result of such an accident, either as a bus passenger or as a pedestrian or fellow driver.
While you will hopefully never be a victim of a bus crash, if you are, you need to understand your legal rights. If you are injured, you can typically seek compensation to cover your losses, such as your medical bills, by filing an insurance claim.
Recovering what you may be owed after a Miami city bus accident can be difficult if you do not have legal representation. To optimize your chances of obtaining a fair settlement, you should consider working with a Miami personal injury lawyer who knows how to navigate the claims process. At Elstein Legal, we have the skills and resources to offer the aggressive representation you deserve after a bus accident injury.
Below, we explain the steps to file an injury claim after a Miami city bus crash.
Common Causes of Miami City Bus Accidents
Accidents involving Miami-Dade Metro buses are not the only types of Miami bus accidents you could one day be injured in. Bus accidents may also involve school buses, private charter buses, airport shuttle buses, and more.
Common causes of Miami bus accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Distracted driving, which is becoming more common due to the widespread usage of smartphones
- Sleep deprivation, which can potentially impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle in the same way that alcohol can
- Vehicle defects
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Road hazards
- Aggressive driving
The Consequences of a Miami City Bus Accident
Regardless of the cause, if you are ever involved in a Miami bus accident there is a relatively strong chance your injuries will be severe. Although any type of auto accident can cause major injuries, injuries are more likely to be serious when an accident involves a large vehicle.
Injuries you may sustain in a Miami city bus accident include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury, which can have long-term impacts on cognition, memory, mood, etc.
- Spinal cord injury, which may leave you paralyzed
- Soft tissue damage
Any injury you sustain in a Miami city bus accident may require costly medical treatment. Medical treatment can present a significant financial burden, particularly if your injuries also prevent you from working. Depending on the severity, your injuries may permanently affect your overall quality of life, bringing with it chronic pain and lifelong medical expenses.
To help cover the costs of your medical treatment and other losses, you may be able to seek compensation. While this guide offers tips to begin the insurance claim process, you should still enlist the help of a Miami bus accident attorney as soon as possible. Their expertise may play a crucial role in determining how much compensation you receive.
Filing a Claim for Compensation After a Miami City Bus Accident
The process of filing a claim after being injured in a Miami bus accident involves several key steps. This breakdown will help you better understand them:
In the Immediate Aftermath
Unless you need to be transported to a hospital immediately after a Miami city bus accident occurs, take the following steps right away:
- Check yourself for injuries and move to a safe spot away from traffic
- Calmly check if the other drivers involved in the accident are injured, then exchange contact and insurance information
- Call the police to report the accident
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene
- Take pictures of the scene, any visible property damage, and your injuries if possible
- Seek medical care, regardless of whether you believe you have been injured
Notifying Your Insurer
Even if you were not injured or you do not believe you caused the bus accident, you still need to let your insurer know the accident occurred shortly after seeking medical attention.
Florida uses the “no-fault” system which allows victims of auto accidents to seek compensation for their losses by filing a claim with their own insurer. It does not matter who caused the accident. You need to first seek compensation through your own insurance provider.
That is not to say you cannot seek compensation from negligent parties at all. There are instances when this may be an option. This blog will touch on that later, and why it is wise to seek representation from a Miami bus accident lawyer early in the process.
Determining What You Are Owed
Although the specifics of the process may vary to some degree from one insurer to another, in general, you can begin formally seeking compensation after a Miami city bus accident by sending a demand letter. In this letter, you should describe the accident and specify how much compensation you are requesting. You should also provide evidence illustrating why this amount is fair and appropriate given the extent of your injuries and losses.
Calculating how much money you should ask for can be difficult. You must first understand which types of losses may be compensable. You then need to tally them all up to calculate a fair settlement that represents the true value of your claim and gather evidence proving the amount you are requesting is justified.
The amount of work that is necessary to properly estimate your losses and seek compensation is just one more reason to work with a personal injury law firm in Miami. After a bus accident, you should be focusing on your recovery. An experienced Miami bus accident lawyer can handle the process of calculating how much you are owed, collect evidence, and send a demand letter on your behalf.
Just because you send a demand letter, you should not expect your insurer to willingly offer you the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are still businesses. As with all businesses, the goal of an insurer is to maximize profits and minimize losses.
This is why insurers prefer that injured parties do not seek legal representation. If you do not have a lawyer on your side, insurance companies may find it easier to offer you less money.
The experts at a reputable bus accident law firm in Miami understand the tactics insurers use to deny or minimize claims and can help negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Seeking Additional Compensation
There are limits on the amount of compensation your insurer may offer after a Miami city bus accident. Therefore, the amount of money you receive may not be enough to fully compensate you for your losses.
If your injuries and losses meet certain criteria, you may also be able to seek compensation from the party whose negligence caused the bus accident.
A Miami bus accident attorney can review your case and determine whether you are eligible to seek additional compensation beyond what you receive from your insurer.
The Role of a Miami Bus Accident Lawyer
Determining if you are justified in filing a claim or lawsuit against a negligent party after a Miami bus accident is just one way a Miami personal injury lawyer can help you. They can also conduct an investigation to identify if negligence contributed to your crash.
It is not always clear who is responsible for compensating you after an accident. While it is most often a negligent driver, it is not always so.
For example, perhaps you were involved in a Miami bus accident that resulted from a vehicle defect. In this case, those responsible for compensating you may be the vehicle’s designers or manufacturers. Or, your accident might have been caused by hazardous road conditions that were not fixed in a timely manner.
Once you identify potentially liable parties, you still must prove their negligence helped cause your bus accident. Again, insurers may either minimize or attempt to deny your claim altogether.
Miami-based attorney Brian L. Elstein has years of experience handling bus accident cases just like yours. By leveraging his expertise, you may be able to improve your chances of collecting the money you may be entitled to.
To learn more about how Elstein Legal can help you, contact us today and schedule a free legal consultation.