Understanding Bus Accident Liability in Connecticut

Posted on 01/24/22

Being involved in a bus accident can leave you with long-lasting injuries and disabilities. If you are in Connecticut and you were in a bus accident, you may be wondering if you are able to sue for damages. Before pursuing a lawsuit, it is important to understand how liability works.

How is Liability Determined?

Bus accidents can be significantly more complicated than car accidents. Accidents can be caused by bus driver error, manufacturing problems, bus company errors, and from a myriad of other causes. If you wish to pursue a lawsuit, it will be beneficial to consult with a lawyer. An attorney can help build your case.

Typically, an attorney will investigate the accident to find the cause. They will collect evidence, in the form of witness testimony, police reports, photographs of the scene, and footage from traffic or dashboard cameras. Sometimes, the result of this investigation will determine that there are multiple parties at fault, sometimes even including the injured party.

How Does Comparative Negligence Apply?

Connecticut is a comparative negligence state, meaning that even if the injured party (plaintiff) is partially responsible for the accident, they can receive damages. For instance, if an injured party is deemed 10% at fault for the accident and the settlement amount is $15,000, they would receive $13,500. Defendants pay out an amount based on their own percentage of fault. If the plaintiff is deemed to be more than 50% at fault, they won’t be able to recover any compensation.

What if the Bus Company is Privately Owned?

If the bus company is privately owned, lawsuits can proceed in a more straightforward fashion. Depending on the accident’s circumstances, you may be able to sue the bus driver, the bus company, and the manufacturer of some of the actual parts used in the buses. It is beneficial to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your specific situation to determine who is responsible and who you are able to sue.

After you file your lawsuit, liability can then be determined. If you are suing multiple defendants and they are deemed liable, the court will assign a percentage of fault. From there, the defendants will pay out based on their percentage of fault.

What if the Bus Company is Owned by the Government?

If the bus company is owned by a government entity, such as a school bus, the process for filing a claim and determining liability becomes more complicated. Sovereign immunity still applies in some cases. Sovereign immunity gives some protection to government employees, and sometimes, you may not be able to proceed with a lawsuit at all. Some of these restrictions have loosened over time and there are exceptions to sovereign immunity, so it is crucial to consult with a personal injury lawyer before filing a lawsuit in order to understand your options.

The Takeaway

Bus accidents can be an emotionally and physically traumatic situation. Determining liability can become complicated since many entities are typically involved in putting a bus on the road. If you have been involved in a bus accident and you wish to sue, contact an experienced bus accident attorney in Waterbury for a consultation so you can get the justice you deserve.