Bus Accident Attorneys in Fort Wayne, IN

city bus on a downtown street

Last December in downtown Fort Wayne, IN a pedestrian was struck by a Citilink bus and suffered blunt-force injuries that would take her life four days later. Investigators said Sherri J. Hatmaker was reportedly walking in a crosswalk when she was hit by a bus heading westbound on Baker Street, according to WFFT TV In Fort Wayne.

Buses are so large that any collision can cause serious or fatal injuries. A bus driver who is distracted for even a few seconds can fail to see a pedestrian crossing an intersection and hit him or her. Traffic in an urban environment, road conditions, and visibility can cause a bus accident.

A bus accident can leave you with serious injuries or claim the life of a loved one. In a recent year, 44 pedestrians and 11 bicyclists were killed nationwide in bus accidents, according to the latest federal statistics. Those numbers do not include people who were injured but survived bus accidents.

The bus accident lawyers at Truitt Law Offices serve Fort Wayne, Huntington, and northeastern Indiana. Our attorneys understand that bus accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but the end result is often that an innocent person is seriously injured, and they or their family face potentially crushing medical bills if the injuries are serious. We work to help people injured in bus accidents obtain full compensation from the at-fault parties in a bus accident.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Bus Accident Injuries?

In most cases, the bus driver is responsible for a bus accident. A driver may cause an accident by hitting a pedestrian, another vehicle, or a structure, such as a retaining wall, a bridge abutment, or a curb. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and passengers in other vehicles as well as riders on the bus can suffer blunt-force injuries including broken bones, head injuries, back injuries, and internal injuries to vital organs. Passengers can also suffer fall injuries while riding a bus or while getting on or off if a negligent driver allows the bus to lurch, stop suddenly or round a turn too fast.

In addition to holding a negligent bus driver liable for an accident, a claim may seek compensation from the employing bus company or transit agency. Employers of professional drivers with a commercial driver’s license are responsible for the actions of their employees while they are on the job.

After a bus accident is investigated by the Indiana State Police or the National Transportation Safety Board, sometimes it comes to light that a lack of proper maintenance or a manufacturing flaw allowed a part or component on the bus to fail. When that failure or defect can be shown to have caused or contributed to the bus accident, the individuals or organizations responsible for that negligence may be held liable by those injured in the accident.

Our objective as Fort Wayne bus accident lawyers is to make sure our clients are fully compensated for the physical, financial, and emotional impact of accidents that were not their fault. After a bus accident investigation, we may be able to file multiple claims on behalf of our clients. We may seek compensation from:

  • Bus driver. After a bus accident, it is not unusual to uncover evidence of distracted driving, fatigued/drowsy driving (more prevalent on interstate and tour buses), use of alcohol or drugs, and/or driver errors, such as speeding, following too closely, failing to slow for a turn, or improper lane change.
  • Another driver. It’s not always the bus driver responsible for a multi-vehicle collision. If the driver of a car, truck, or motorcycle caused a bus accident through negligent or reckless driving, our attorney will seek to hold that driver and the driver‘s insurance provider accountable.
  • Bus operator. Many municipalities and other local governments operate bus systems, as do local school districts. Buses are also put on the road by interstate bus companies, tour bus companies, church groups, and other private organizations. Any organization that puts a passenger bus on the road may be held liable for their employees’ negligence or for the failure of the vehicle to operate safely due to neglected maintenance. Those who hire drivers or oversee volunteers may be liable for unlicensed or unqualified drivers, failing to drug test drivers or pushing a driver to violate hours-of-service rules that apply to driving commercial buses.
  • Service vendor. The maintenance of a bus fleet may be outsourced. If work by such service vendors is found to have contributed to the accident, the third-party vendor may be held liable for an accident.
  • Manufacturers. If the brakes, tires, steering system, or other components failed due to a design or manufacturing flaw and caused a bus accident, we could pursue a product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer, distributor and/or retailer that knew or should have known about the product’s flaws.

bus on a downtown street

What Are Common Injuries Caused by a Bus Accident?

Since buses are so much larger than normal motor vehicles, their impact is much more severe. The sheer size and weight of a bus can cause catastrophic injuries. Some of the more common injuries resulting from a bus accident are:

Is There a Time Limit To File a Bus Accident Injury Lawsuit in Indiana?

Yes, there is. The statute of limitations for an injury lawsuit, such as a bus accident injury, is two years. Failure to file your lawsuit before this time limit has passed may result in you forfeiting your chance to have your lawsuit heard in court. So, do not delay in starting your lawsuit. 

It’s always best to reach out to a bus accident lawyer as soon as possible if you have been seriously injured in a bus accident. An attorney can investigate and preserve evidence before it is lost, degraded, or destroyed.

If you have a claim for compensation from a governmental agency (such as a municipal public transportation system), there are special rules that apply. Indiana’s Tort Claims Against Governmental Entities and Public Employees Act requires filing an initial notice of the potential lawsuit within 180 days of the injury. This includes notifying the government body being sued and the Indiana Political Subdivision Risk Management Commission, which funds insurance for local governmental entities.

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Get Help from Our Fort Wayne Bus Accident Attorneys

If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a bus accident in Fort Wayne or elsewhere in northeastern Indiana, seek the help of a knowledgeable bus accident lawyer at Truitt Law Offices. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are aggressive and dedicated advocates for bus accident victims and their families in Fort Wayne, Huntington, and across Northeastern Indiana.

Make your first call your only call. Contact us now for a free legal consultation about obtaining the compensation you deserve for your losses.