I’ve been in a bus accident, now what do I do?
What to do after a bus accident in Michigan to protect yourself and your legal rights
Here are some important things a bus accident victim must do after a crash to ensure your legal rights are protected.
- File a police report
- Seek medical attention
- Document the bus accident facts
- Know your time limits to file a bus accident claim – 60 days for regional transportation authorities
- Speak with an attorney before you sign anything
File a police report
If you’re involved in any type of auto-related accident in Michigan, especially a bus accident, the police should be called and a police report should be filed. It’s also important to get a copy of the police report after the bus accident. You can get the report by contacting the police department in the city, township or county where the accident occurred, or from the Michigan State Police. Depending on the police department, you may be able to order a copy of the report online.
Seek medical attention
The other top priority after a bus accident is to make sure you take care of yourself. Serious, life changing injuries can result from a bus accident. It’s important that you seek medical attention immediately for any and all injuries resulting from the accident. Even though some injuries may seem minor, they could be a sign of a serious closed-head injury or traumatic brain injury. Some important symptoms you should report include:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Blurred vision
- Issues with short-term memory or concentration, and
- Emotional changes
It’s incredibly important that you tell your doctor if you have experienced any loss of consciousness. If you do not get treatment from EMS or from the emergency room, be sure to see your doctor and notify him or her that you were in a bus accident, even if your injuries seem minor. Common injuries that can result from a bus accident include:
- Closed head or traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Back and neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Burn injuries, and
- Amputation injury
Document the bus accident facts
It’s also key that you document everything that you’re experiencing and what you are doing to deal with the injuries that have resulted from the bus crash. This means documenting things such:
- All doctor’s visits, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, lab services, physical therapy, hospital visits, treatments, medical documents and x-rays
- The date each service was provided and the amount you were charged
- Diary of your day-to-day pain, discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, tenderness, inconvenience, etc.
- How your injuries have impacted your daily life and relationships. Take photos of all your injuries, as soon after the accident as possible
- Keep copies of all medical bills, medical records, and other documents. Since your health is the most important thing, keeping up on appointments and documentation after a bus accident is crucial
Know your time limits to file a bus accident claim – 60 days for regional transportation authorities
Don’t wait too long to seek advice after you’ve been involved in a Michigan bus accident. If you postpone too long — no matter how badly injured you may be — you can lose the right to sue for damages. The time requirement to make a bus accident claim for regional transportation authorities (such as DDOT, SMART, CATA, etc.) is known as the Bus Notice Provision MCL 124.419.
The Bus Notice Provision requires that for a bus accident victim to be able to sue the transportation authority for crash-related injuries, he or she must give and serve WRITTEN notice of their claim to the company within 60 days of the crash. This means you have 60 days from the date of the bus accident to file your bus accident claim for accidents involving regional transportation authorities. If notice is not properly served upon the transportation authority, it will not have to defend itself against your claim.
The Bus Accident Notice provision makes it so important for bus accident victims to make sure they know and understand their rights, because if too much time goes by, a victim may unknowingly waive his or her rights and be unable to file a claim. The Bus Accident Notice Provision is the single most important part of a bus accident case.
Speak with an attorney before you sign anything
Until you’re sure what type of action you want to take regarding your bus accident, don’t sign anything. This includes documents from the bus company, insurance adjusters and defense attorneys.
Also, don’t give a statement to an insurance adjuster regarding the bus accident. If you were driving another vehicle that was involved in a bus accident, it’s also important you don’t allow an insurance adjuster to look at the damage without your attorney present.
Be sure you fully understand your rights before you take any action that’s suggested or directed by an adjuster. Accident victims are often under the false impression that the insurance company is on their side, and then down the road, they find out that something they innocently said or did greatly jeopardized their bus accident claims. This is because it’s an adjuster’s job to minimize your claim and to get it resolved immediately, so the bus company has to pay as little as possible for your injuries and pain and suffering. Giving them signed authorizations, or a statement, or a chance to assess your vehicle, may in the long run hurt your claim.
One of the best ways to ensure your rights are protected is to speak with an experienced bus accident attorney before you agree to sign or speak to an insurance adjuster.
Michigan Auto Law has been litigating bus accident cases for more than 50 years. We’re here to speak with you about your circumstances and answer your questions at no charge. Call (800) 777-0028 for free advice, today.