North Memphis, like most big cities, must provide public transportation to its citizens. However, buses are large vehicles that are difficult to drive. This makes them prone to accidents, and the injuries resulting from these accidents can be devastating.
If you are injured by a bus in the North Memphis area, you might be entitled to recover monetary damages to compensate you for your injuries. When you are injured by a bus in North Memphis, you need the help of a qualified North Memphis personal injury lawyer. Contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi for a free consultation and case review.
Causes of Bus Accidents
An average of 63,000 bus accidents occur each year, according to studies. Bus accidents are caused in much the same manner as any other accident. Even though the drivers of buses are professional drivers that are specially trained, they are not immune from the typical causes of accidents.
As with all vehicles, the most common cause of bus accidents by far is the negligence of their drivers. For example, if a bus driver is driving while distracted, driving while tired, or breaking traffic laws, they can easily cause an accident. In this case, the bus driver would be at fault for the accident.
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Who Can I Sue for a Bus Accident?
The party that you can sue after a North Memphis bus accident is determined by what party was negligent. In almost every case, you will want to sue the company that owns the bus, as they will have more money to pay you, which will ensure that you receive any judgment that you acquire.
Luckily, the company that owns the bus is nearly always at fault. This is because of the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. This doctrine requires that an employer is nearly always legally responsible for the negligent actions of their employee if their employee did such negligent actions in the normal course of their employment.
In most cases, suing the company, and not the individual driver, is the way to go. However, the law surrounding this issue can be very complicated, and you will need a skilled and professional bus accident lawyer in North Memphis to guide you through the process.
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When the Accident Was Caused by a City-Owned Bus
When you were injured in a bus accident, and the bus was owned by the city of North Memphis, or another government body, the law that applies to your case is slightly different. In most respects, cities, government agencies, and the State of Tennessee are completely immune from suit due to the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a legal rule that holds that a government cannot be sued without its permission.
Luckily, the government has given limited permission to you to sue them. This permission is included in the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, which specifically waives sovereign immunity as to the “negligent operation of motor vehicles.” This means that you can sue a government entity, like the North Memphis Area Transit Authority, in the same way that you could sue a bus company.
There is also an exception to sovereign immunity for unsafe roadway conditions. This means that if you are involved in a bus accident that was caused by a pothole, or a similar unfixed problem with the road, you might be able to sue the State of Tennessee for negligent maintenance of the roads. Your bus accident attorney in North Memphis will advise you on your best course of action.
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What Damages Are Available in a Bus Accident Case?
The damages that are available to you in a bus accident case are broken down into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. The categories of damages are based on the purpose of the damages. Economic damages are to reimburse you for expenses, non-economic damages are to compensate you for injury, and punitive damages are to punish.
Economic damages are damages that are meant to reimburse you for expenses that you had to pay as a result of your accident. These damages can be things like medical bills, in-home care expenses, lost wages, or the cost of medical assistive devices such as a wheelchair. The point of economic damages is to reimburse you for costs that you incurred due to your injuries.
Economic damages must be specially proven and demanded. You cannot receive extra economic damages, but you can only receive what you paid.
Non-economic damages are damages that are meant to compensate you for your injuries themselves. The amounts of these damages are discretionary and set by the jury. These damages include things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, or loss of companionship for your family if you were to die in the accident.
Non-economic damages are discretionary, and the jury, subject to only a few rules, can award essentially any amount that they want. The jury is supposed to use their own life experiences to award an amount that they believe fairly compensates you for your injuries.
Punitive damages are a special type of extra damages that are meant to punish the defendant for egregiously bad conduct. These damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was intentional or grossly negligent. An example of gross negligence in a bus accident case is when the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Juries are permitted to award essentially any amount for punitive damages, so long as those punitive damages do not exceed $500,000, an amount set by Tennessee Law.
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Contact a Bus Accident Attorney in North Memphis
When you or a loved one is injured in a bus accident in the North Memphis area, you need a highly skilled and professional North Memphis bus accident lawyer. When you sue for bus accident injuries, you will either be suing a large company or the government. These are big and powerful entities that you need help to overcome.
You are not alone. A bus accident lawyer in North Memphis can help you recover damages for your injuries. Contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi today.