Spokane Lawyers | Spokane Bus Accident Lawyers

Spokane Bus Accident Lawyers

Serving Residents in Washington and Idaho

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    Bus Accident - Paukert & Troppmann

    Spokane Bus Accident Lawyers

    Serving Residents in Washington and Idaho

    Do you need legal help?

    Contact us for a legal consultation.


      Helping You Through Your Legal Problems

      Our Spokane, WA attorney's are here to guide you. Reach out today if you need legal help.

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Read more reviews ➜

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Read more reviews ➜

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Read more reviews ➜

      Download our free injury guide!

      Learn what you should and shouldn't be doing for your personal injury case. 

      Download our free injury guide!

      Learn what you should and shouldn't be doing for your personal injury case. 

      Spokane Bus Accident Lawyers

      The safety of a bus ride compared to traveling in a car is often taken for granted.

      While it’s true that bus transportation is relatively safe compared to traveling in other motor vehicles, the sheer size and mass of buses can cause exponentially more damage in an accident, especially to people in other vehicles on the road.

      If you’re reading this, you may have been injured as a bus passenger, in a vehicle struck by a bus, as a pedestrian or cyclist.

      Our firm is here to help. We offer free legal advice. Call our Spokane bus accident lawyers today.

      Don’t put off contacting us because you’re worried about needing money up-front to speak to an attorney. Call us any time for a free legal consultation.

      The Many “Faces of” Bus Accidents

      Sometimes people think of bus accidents pertaining only to the passengers on the bus. While there are many ways a passenger may be injured, as you’ll see below, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists may also be injured in bus accidents, for example:

      • Injury as you enter or exit the bus due to the driver’s failure to observe safety practices
      • Injury because you exited the bus into a dangerous situation, such as a pothole or uneven surface the driver failed to avoid
      • Suffering harm as a passenger on the bus due to collision
      • Injury from bus driver error causing you injury without the involvement of another vehicle, such as whiplash or flying debris from a sudden stop, or being injured when a sudden change of direction causes the vehicle to flip
      • Suffering harm as the result of faulty mechanics or equipment
      • Injury as a pedestrian, cyclist, or passenger in another vehicle struck by the bus

      Additionally, failure to observe safety protocols can lead to accidents. These may include driving under the influence, driving while fatigued, or distracted driving. A crash may also be caused by faulty equipment or even the policies and regulations of the bus company.

      Sleepy drivers are a common cause of bus accidents. A fatigue can easily impair a driver’s reaction time. Drivers following strict schedules or crossing long distances are especially vulnerable to making dangerous errors due to fatigue.

      Another cause of accidents is the failure of other drivers to respect the physical limitations of a bus. The dimensions and weight of buses make them much harder to control, requiring more time to stop, for changing lanes, and when making turns. Drivers who fail to respect this can cause an accident by getting in the way of a bus when it is turning or going too fast and hitting the bus from behind.

      Here are a few ways to increase bus safety, whether you are the driver of the bus or sharing the road with a bus:

      • Maintain a significant distance around the bus. Don’t tailgate.
      • Take a break if you are too tired to drive. Drivers who ignore fatigue put their passengers and others on the road at risk.
      • Don’t go too fast. It’s always better to be cautious than to push your speed.

      Bus Accident Facts

      While the number of fatal bus accidents has declined since the year 2000, the number of injuries caused by bus accidents has gone up. Of the various types of buses involved in fatal accidents, transit buses rank highest, with school buses a close second.

      When it comes to injuries, bus passengers are vulnerable to a wide range of injury, often due to the lack of safety features inside buses. Even so, the worst injuries are often suffered by people in vehicles struck by a bus.

      How a Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help You

      There are many advantages to retaining a lawyer to handle your bus accident claim. Here are just a few.

      Identifying All At-Fault Parties

      One of the biggest reasons to hire an attorney to take your bus accident claim off your shoulders is helping you identify and hold accountable all the parties liable for the accident. Due to the nature of buses as vehicles of mass transit, there are several parties who may be liable in a bus crash, including:

      • The driver
      • Other drivers on the road
      • The bus company
      • The company responsible for maintenance of the bus
      • Other passengers
      • The manufacturer of the bus
      • The municipal transportation system

      Your Spokane bus accident lawyers have the skill and experience to identify all at-fault parties involved in your claim. Making sure all responsible parties are included in your claim is vital to making sure you receive compensation for all the damages you’ve suffered in the bus accident.

      To Prevent You from Being Stonewalled by the Insurance Company

      Having an experienced bus accident lawyer is also your best chance at maintaining the value of your accident claim. When your attorney handles communications with the insurance company, the company knows you have the legal leverage you’ll need to take them to court if they refuse to make a reasonable settlement offer. This is important, because if they believe they don’t have to worry about a lawsuit, they are far more likely to delay your claim or deny it until you accept a lowball offer or simply give up and go away. On the other hand, just having a skilled Spokane bus accident lawyer on your side can incentivize the insurance companies to settle.

      As  “common carriers,” bus drivers are held to a tougher standard of safety than the average driver. Because they are responsible for the safety of more than two people at  time, bus drivers are considered to transport the public at large. The public places its trust in the public transportation system to get them safely where they want to go. The courts take this trust very seriously, and the insurance companies know it.

      This means that should a case go to trial, the jury in Washington State will be instructed to compare the driver’s behavior against the “highest degree of care consistent with the practical operation of its type of transpiration and its business as a common carrier.” There is very little tolerance for traffic infractions such as not adhering to traffic signals or speeding. When you retain a lawyer, bringing the likelihood of court back into the picture, the common carrier designation of bus drivers gives insurance companies good reason to think about a settlement.

      You Can Focus on Recovery

      The worst time for you to suddenly have to figure out how to navigate in insurance claim is while seriously injured. Hiring a Spokane bus accident lawyer allows you to get the rest you need to recover as quickly as possible. Many people think they might save money by skipping the attorney, but the opposite is true. Statistics show that most people with legal representation are awarded many times more than those who handle their claims with an attorney.

      Mistakes to Avoid in a Bus Accident Case

      When you’re injured in an accident involving a bus, there are several mistakes you can avoid to preserve the value of your claim.  Please make note of these to help you get the compensation you deserve.

      Take Documentation Seriously

      If you are hurt while riding on a bus as a passenger, you will need to be careful to document your presence as a passenger on the bus at the time of the accident. If you don’t, it’s going to be unable to prove you were even on the bus and therefore that your injuries were sustained while you were a passenger. To establish that you were on the bus, make sure you speak to law enforcement at the scene to have them include you on the passenger roster before leaving the scene for any reason.

      Get a Medical Exam

      While you may or may not feel injured after the accident, it’s best to get a medical exam as quickly as possible to ensure you aren’t suffering from an injury you’re not yet aware of.

      It may sound impossible to not know when you’re injured, but the human body goes to great lengths to survive. This includes providing you with a heavy dose of stress hormones to bring you through traumatic events. These hormones provide a temporary boost of energy and strength, while hindering the ability to feel pain.

      This was a very helpful combination thousands of years ago, when a traumatic situation often involved needing to flee from large predators, even if you were injured. These days, often the best thing we can do after an accident or trauma is to remain still and wait for assistance. But because the hormone surge still happens, you may not feel the full extent of your injuries right away. Getting a medical exam could save your life if you’ve got internal injuries.

      An exam will also protect the value of your personal injury claim. Insurance companies are always on the lookout for fraud. If they weren’t and enough people filed false claims to try and get money, they could easily go out of business. Part of their due diligence is questioning you about your injuries, to make sure you were truly injured and injured in the accident in question. A medical record that shows injuries sustained right after the accident provides you with powerful evidence to support your claim.

      The sooner you get an exam, the stronger your proof of how you were injured and when.

      Don’t give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company

      As we just noted, when you decide to file an insurance claim, the insurance company will ask questions to prevent insurance fraud. Part of this process will include calling to ask for your recorded statement about the accident. While this is standard procedure for the insurance company, it’s best to hand over all communications with them to your Spokane bus accident lawyer.

      Experienced personal injury lawyers know the tactics insurance companies use to ferret out fraud. Your lawyer will communicate about your claim in a way that preserves its value and protects it from being denied.

      Remember, the insurance adjuster isn’t calling just to be friendly. They may be a great conversationalist, but the purpose of the call is to find “holes” in your story that allow the insurance company to keep as much money as possible by paying you less. It’s best to let the lawyer do the talking here. 

      Don’t Wait to Hire a Lawyer

      Once you decide to pursue a claim, you’ll want to find a lawyer and get started as quickly as possible, no matter how long you have to get your paperwork filed. Long before you need to worry about the Washington State statute of limitations for filing bus accident claims, you need to make sure you gather as much evidence as possible.

      While it’s true that the police will gather evidence relevant to their responsibilities, they don’t work on behalf of your specific accident claim. Your Spokane bus accident lawyers are going to conduct their own investigation focused on your injuries and the circumstances that specifically relate to you.

      Your lawyer will also want to locate and speak to witnesses. The more time that passes, the more likely it is that a witness may move, change their contact information, or simply forget vital details about the accident.

      Your lawyer is your best advocate for getting you the compensation you deserve, so be sure to give this person as much time as possible to conduct a thorough investigation.

      Hiring the Wrong Lawyer

      When you hire an attorney to handle your Spokane bus accident claim, it’s critical to find an experienced personal injury trial lawyer with a successful record of winning bus accident claims.

      There are dozens of practice areas in which a lawyer may focus, so make sure you find the person most capable of bringing you success, whether they’re in the courtroom or at the negotiating table.

      If your injuries prevent you from getting started as soon as possible, you can ask a friend or family member to take on the task of looking at personal injury trial lawyer websites. They can read client reviews and easily find lawyer ratings at online lawyer directories like avvo.com and layer.com.

      An important element of achieving a successful claim is learning to ask for help when you need it. Help from doctors, advice from the right lawyer, and help from loved ones. Your friends and family will probably be more than happy to help you get started in your search for the right attorney. Your loved ones may not be able to give you medical or legal assistance, but they can help in your search for the right lawyer, helping you to get more rest.

      Spokane Bus Accident Client Story

      We are sharing the client story below to give you an overview of your bus accident claim. Client names and details have been changed to preserve privacy, but the information remains helpful. Please read on, then give us a call to discuss how we can help with your specific claim.

      On a rainy morning in Spokane not so long ago, Liz Wells discovered a big problem.

      Her boss was pacing in her office before the “The Big Meeting” — the meeting they’d been preparing for six very long weeks. Their sales director was on his way to the client’s hotel to pick up their CEO and CFO. If they succeeded today, the company would acquire a client that would catapult them onto international stage.

      Their client pitch included bound presentations stacked safely on the sideboard, away from the huge platter of bagels, lox, cream cheese in the middle of the conference table. Everything was set for the big pitch.

      Until Liz had found the error. She blinked and checked again. Still there.

      It seemed long hours of checking and re-checking dates and data had blunted her team’s proofing skills. No one caught it until that moment. And to be fair, nothing was exactly wrong in the presentations.

      The error was in what had been left out; specifically, page 17/18.

      The crucial “exclamation point” to their presentation, the proof that their client needed their firm to save them from abject failure, was clear as day in the graph on page 17. Only it wasn’t there.

      With less than an hour-and-a-half before the big meeting, Liz had paced the conference room, nerves jangling. She’d grabbed the presentation and gone through her old editor’s routine of literally reading page numbers aloud in sequence to herself. Someone must have done this in the past week, but right now it served to calm her.

      She relaxed as she counted, “One, two, three, four….” Until she got to, “fifteen, sixteen, nineteen—”

      And stopped. The graph was missing. She checked again. It was not there. Liz felt cold wash over the base of her spine. This was serious problem. She checked the time. An hour and twenty minutes until “go” time.

      She squeezed her eyes shut as she raced through her options. She could just print the pages and hand them out as stand-alone reference… but the page number error would still be there. The client may notice and wonder if their team hadn’t caught the error, possibly signaling poor attention to detail, or worse, that they knew about the mistake but were trying to “glaze over it.” Either option would not engender trust. The best solution was to print the new page and insert it into the bound presentations. Today, they had to be flawless.

      The good news was that the presentations were comb-bound. They could simply print a dozen copies of the missing pages and insert them. The bad news was that the presentations were already assembled. They’d have to get them punched over at Office Depot and insert them into each booklet by hand. Quickly. She checked the time again. Just over an hour and ten minutes. They could pull it off.

      Liz raced down the hall to her office and called the print desk at Office Depot. They had printed the presentations from her file last week, and she wanted the paper and quality of ink to match. She explained the problem, praying they weren’t tied up in the middle of a big print run.

      “No problem,” said Janelle, the print department manager, “just email over the missing page with instructions. We’ll have your printouts waiting by the time you arrive.”

      “THAT is why I love you all!” Liz exclaimed in a rush of relief. She hung up and pulled up the file on her Mac. It only took 3 minutes to fix the document. Thirty-seconds after that it was in Office Depot’s email inbox.

      Liz called her team into her office and quickly explained the problem and the plan. Then she headed down the hall to the exit. Her team sprang into action, setting up a folding table to create an assembly line in her office. They began taking apart the presentations as she shoved through the door and out into the rain.

      Misty drizzle became a steady pater on her car’s roof as Liz drove headed north across town. Luckily, her destination was only seven minutes away — maybe ten in the rain; but she knew better than to risk an accident by pushing it. She navigated carefully through the side streets, avoiding the big roads that were prone to jamming up in the morning.

      “Almost there,” she said aloud as her car rolled north on South Arthur, into the intersection at Third Avenue. She could see the big red “Office Depot” letters illuminated through the rain not 100 yards away.

      Liz never saw the transit bus that slid right through the light at East Third on slippery pavement, plowing into her car.  She suffered severe damage to her left leg, breaking her left femur and kneecap. Janelle ran up from Office Depot as EMTs prepared to load her into the ambulance. Liz was in pain but conscious and dazed.

      “What are you doing here?” She asked, confused when she saw Janelle’s face.

      “I called to check in when you hadn’t arrived after 20 minutes. I was on the phone with Bill when the emergency vehicles converged at the corner. I asked him what you were driving and here I am.

      “The presentation…”

      Janelle rolled her eyes, “Not that it matters at the moment, but I sent Amy down to drop off the pages to your team. They were a wreck, but I told them I’d find out what was going on and call them back. They said they’d head to the hospital this afternoon.”

      “Great, said Liz. Hey, before you go back inside, can you take a quick video of the accident scene for me? Just in case I ever need it.”

      “Of course,” said Janelle. “And please don’t worry about anything, what matters is that you’re alive!”

      “Time to go,” the EMT said in a kind but firm voice as the gurney was lifted into the back of the truck.

      We met Liz Wells two weeks later. She was in a wheelchair and had a long recovery ahead. She’d had two surgeries and would likely need another. The doctors were optimistic she’d be able to walk without the assistance of a cane in the future, but she wasn’t likely to resume the activities she’d formerly enjoyed; rock climbing had become a thing of the past and she had probably run her last marathon.

      How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?

      “Before we get too far into this, I need to ask what it would cost to retain your firm?” Liz asked. “I haven’t worked in two weeks, and it’s likely I’ll be limited to part-time at best for several months.”

      Spokane Bus Accident Lawyer Douglas C. McDermott nodded and replied, “I completely understand; it’s a question everyone asks because it’s something everyone needs to know.

      Our firm works on a contingency-fee model. We cover all case expenses from start to finish. We begin with a thorough investigation, including any relevant research — for instance, in your case, we’d check the bus company and driver’s safety record, maintenance records, things like that. We also cover any expenses relating to putting together your claim and taking your case to court, if necessary.”

      “Well, that sounds too good to be true,” Liz said, squinting suspiciously at him. “When do you all get paid?”

      “We only receive compensation when we successfully resolve your bus accident claim,” McDermott replied.

      “Okay, that makes sense,” said Liz.

      What is my bus accident claim worth?

      “Any idea what my claim may be worth?” She asked next.

      “Unfortunately, that’s not something we can reliably guess at before doing the accident investigation. We first need to see what the investigation reveals. This is where we nail down the at-fault parties. We’ll also be looking at the medical reports of your accident injuries.

      “In addition, you’ll need to reach what’s called ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This is the point at which you’ll have recovered as much as you’re likely to. It can’t happen until you’re through with surgeries and the doctors have a solid idea of what you’re looking at for the future care of your injuries.”

      “Does ‘future care’ include having to stop doing things I previously enjoyed, like running and climbing?” Liz asked, blinking back tears. “Future care means losing those things, doesn’t it?”

      “If your injuries have taken away activities that brought joy and satisfaction to your life, yes, those losses are relevant and important to include in your non-economic damages,” answered Attorney McDermott.

      “Your job right now, Liz, is to get as much rest as you possibly can. Take your medications and follow your doctor’s orders diligently. This is extremely important. Don’t skip any physical therapy appointments.”

      “Are you kidding? I feel like I’m climbing the walls… though that’s no longer allowed. But I assure you, I never miss physical therapy; it allows me to at least move my body.”

      “Which brings me to an important point. Don’t overdo it, either. That can damage your claim as much as skipping your therapy. If the insurance company feels you’re adding to your physical challenges by engaging in too much, too soon, they can try to blame any long-term issues you may face back on you instead of on the severity of your injuries.”

      “Got it,” said Liz. “Keep it right ‘between the buoys.’”

      “Yep, follow your plan no matter how frustrating it is,” McDermott confirmed. “When you get to maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your damages, both economic and non-economic. That’s when we’ll know the value of your claim.”

      How long does a bus accident claim take?

      “Okay, so how long will all of this take?” Liz asked. “As you can imagine, I’m pretty stretched on finances right now.”

      “Your timeline is going to depend first on how long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement,” said McDermott. “We can’t approach the insurance companies with a demand letter until we know what to request in compensation. We figure out how much compensation to ask for based on your damages.”

      “Once we send the insurance companies a demand letter, your timeline will depend on whether they’re open to a fair settlement. If so, we’ll bring your claim to a close without further delay. If they resist offering a reasonable settlement, we’ll take them to court,” said Attorney McDermott.

      “No matter which way your case is resolved, please try not to worry. Our firm has a long and winning record handling bus accident claims, both via settlement and in front of a jury. The insurance company has probably heard of us, and it’s possible they may settle to avoid going through the hassle of a trial. There are no guarantees, of course, but we’re more than up to the challenge, either way. That’s why we always suggest you retain a trial lawyer when seeking a personal injury attorney.”

      Liz nodded and replied, “You mentioned ‘insurance companies,’ plural?” She asked..

      “Yes. As I mentioned, we’d conduct a thorough investigation into the accident to determine at-fault parties. Especially with bus accidents, it’s possible that more than one party is at-fault. The driver may have been going too fast for the weather conditions, but a strict company policy for maintaining arrival times in spite of the weather may have contributed to his propensity to speed.

      “This doesn’t excuse the driver’s speeding by any means, but it may mean the bus company is also to blame. If the brakes were not maintained and in good working condition, the company that maintains the brakes may come into play, or the brake manufacturer.

      “There are a lot of moving parts in a case like this. It’s important to know what to look for and where to look. We’ll do that for you, so you can focus on getting better,” said McDermott.

      Liz was satisfied with what she learned in her free legal consultation. She retained the law firm of Paukert and Troppmann and Attorney McDermott got her seven times the amount the insurance company initially offered.

      Call Our Spokane Bus Accident Lawyers Today

      We hope the information above has helped you better understand what’s involved in a bus accident claim. Since no two cases are exactly alike; please give us a call to schedule your free legal consultation. We’d like to hear about your specific situation and tell you how we can help.

      Client Reviews

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.

      Christine Weaver

      Read More Reviews