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Matthew Albrecht | Founder & Attorney | Albrecht Law, PLLC
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Our Injury Attorneys Seek Recovery for Victims of Bus Accidents in Spokane, Washington

Bus accidents can have devastating consequences for passengers, pedestrians, occupants of nearby vehicles, and cyclists. In Spokane, the implications of bus accidents are significant, with statistics revealing a concerning pattern of injuries, fatalities, and property damage. Our bus accident attorneys at Albrecht Law PLLC are here to help you and your family in the aftermath of a bus accident in the Spokane, Washington area.

According to data from the Washington State Department of Transportation, Spokane County has witnessed a substantial number of bus-related incidents, including collisions involving school buses, city buses, and transit authority vehicles. In January, 2024, KHQ reported that two school buses slid off the road due to icy conditions, and in February 2024, as reported by KXLY, an SPS school bus and a City Line bus collided at Washington Street and Mission Avenue. These incidents shed light on the real-world impact of bus accidents on individuals and communities. Moreover, pedestrian safety remains a crucial concern, as evidenced by incidents such as a school bus striking a girl in September of 2022 and a school bus hitting a pedestrian on Division and Hastings in September of 2023.

These incidents underscore the need for legal advocacy and support for bus accident victims and their families.

As experienced bus accident attorneys at Albrecht Law PLLC we’re dedicated to helping individuals in and around Spokane and throughout Washington navigate the complexities of bus accident claims, seeking justice and compensation. Have you suffered life-altering injuries because of a bus accident? Let us help you recover losses and damages. At Albrecht Law PLLC, you are known.

Recognize These Common Bus Accident Injuries

Common injuries associated with bus accidents include:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash causes neck strain due to sudden back-and-forth movement of the head.
  • Burns and Scarring: Burns and scarring often caused by contact with hot surfaces or chemical exposure.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): TBIs are serious head injuries that can lead to long-term cognitive and physical impairment.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis or loss of motor function.
  • Fractures and Broken Bones: These injuries impact passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

It is important to know that not all injuries associated with bus accidents are immediately symptomatic, and you may have internal injuries that are not visible. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention following a bus accident. Contact Albrecht Law PLLC to schedule a free consultation, where we will assess your case details and plan a strategy to seek appropriate compensation for your injuries and losses.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Spokane

Various factors can influence a bus accident, including:

  • Gross Negligence: this refers to a severe form of negligence characterized by a reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of others. Gross negligence on the part of a bus driver could include impaired driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, excessively speeding, or willfully engaging in behaviors that pose an extreme risk to passengers, pedestrians, other motorists, or bicyclists.
  • Distracted Driving: Distractions such as phone use, inattentiveness, or multitasking while driving can impair a bus driver’s focus and decision-making, elevating the risk of accidents.
  • Poor Maintenance: Neglected maintenance of buses, including issues with brakes, tires, or mechanical components can increase the likelihood of malfunctions and accidents on the road.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as snow, ice, or heavy rain, can create hazardous driving conditions, contributing to a bus accident.

School Bus Accidents in Spokane, Washington

Like motorcoach accidents, city bus accidents and others, school bus accidents can occur due to various factors, including:

  • Driver Error: Driver distraction, fatigue, recklessness, and impaired driving contribute to school bus accidents, significantly impacting the safety of passengers and others on the road.
  • Road Conditions: Poor road conditions, dangerous road obstructions, and hazardous conditions can cause school bus accidents by leading to a loss of control or a need to dodge obstacles — contributing to collisions.
  • Mechanical Defects: Mechanical failures and defective equipment on school buses can lead to accidents. Malfunctioning brakes, steering systems, or other critical components pose serious risks.

In Washington, proving the liability of a school district in the event of a school bus accident generally rests upon determination of negligence in the context of the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. The school district may be held responsible for the injuries and damages incurred if they are found negligent in a way that led to an accident involving a school bus.

To protect the rights of your children and others harmed in a school bus accident, seek legal representation from a knowledgeable bus accident attorney who can pursue compensation and safeguard your rights in a personal injury lawsuit.

Victims Involved in a Bus Accident May Be Injured in Various Scenarios

Injured victims in a bus accident can include more than only the passengers. Injured parties can also include drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Additional circumstances causing injuries to passengers, pedestrians, riders in other vehicles, and cyclists include:

  • Sustaining an injury as you enter or exit the bus because the bus driver did not abide by safety practices.
  • Sustaining an injury because as you left the bus, you stepped into a hazardous condition, such as a pothole or roadwork the driver failed to notice.
  • Sustaining injuries from a collision.
  • Sustaining an injury directly due to bus driver error without other vehicles involvement; for example, when a sudden stop or swerve causes flying debris or the overturning of the vehicle.
  • Poor maintenance on the part of the bus manufacturer or parties responsible for ensuring the safety of the bus, leading to serious injuries.

Speak with an experienced bus accident attorney at Albrecht Law PLLC to assess the events surrounding your bus accident injury.

What to Do After a Bus Accident in Washington State

If you have been involved in a bus accident —whether as a passenger, pedestrian, occupant of an involved motor vehicle, or as a cyclist — take the following steps immediately:

  1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Prioritize medical treatment even if you don’t have visible injuries. Often, internal injuries do not manifest right away, so seeking an evaluation from a healthcare practitioner can help to ensure that you are seeking the care you need to recover.
  2. Call the Police: Whether the bus accident is severe or appears to be minor, report it to the police, who will document the accident and compile an official report that can become crucial evidence in your bus accident claim.
  3. Gather Evidence: To build your case after a bus accident, you must gather evidence, including the bus company, bus number, and bus driver information. If there are witnesses to the bus accident, ask for their contact information and request a statement about what they saw. Additionally, using your mobile phone or a camera, take photographs of the bus accident scene — including damage to all involved vehicles and objects like traffic signs, injuries sustained, and other factors.
  4. Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the bus accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Stick to the facts and details pertaining to the bus accident and cooperate with their investigation; however, do not give them a recorded statement or sign any settlement offers without first consulting a personal injury law firm. Personal injury lawyers know that insurance adjusters prioritize the insurance company’s interests by seeking to minimize their payouts. Working with a personal injury attorney with extensive experience in bus accident cases can protect your rights and provide guidance as they help you to pursue fair compensation for current medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
  5. Exercise Caution When Dealing with the Bus Company: After your bus accident, exercise caution if the bus company calls you with a request for information or a settlement offer. Like many other private companies, the bus company wants to limit their liability and offer bus accident settlements that may be far below the amount you need to cover medical bills and lost wages. They might also seek to entice you with settlements that fail to account for things like the physical pain — especially in more serious injuries. An experienced bus accident attorney can anticipate these tactics.
  6. Consult a Bus Accident Lawyer: The complexities involved in a bus accident case can compound your suffering and prolong your recovery. Rather than feel overwhelmed, consult an experienced bus accident lawyer who has represented many clients successfully in these types of personal injury claims. During a free case evaluation, our skilled and knowledgeable bus accident lawyers at Albrecht Law PLLC will listen to the details of your bus accident case, devise a strategy for seeking compensation via the legal process, and protect your rights while pursuing legal recourse on your behalf.

Determining Liability in a Bus Accident

In Washington, the process of determining liability in a bus accident involves assessing the degree of negligence of each party involved in the incident. Washington follows a pure comparative negligence system, meaning that individuals can still seek to recover compensation for their damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident.

Under Washington law (RCW 4.22.005), contributory fault applies, meaning all parties involved in an accident can assume a percentage of fault based on their actions or omissions, including negligent or reckless acts or omissions toward the person or property of the actor or others.

In cases where multiple parties share fault, the total recovery of the claimant is reduced by their share of the total fault. For example, if a claimant is found to be 20% at fault and the other party is 80% at fault, the claimant’s compensation will be reduced by 20% accordingly.

Keep in mind that Washington’s pure comparative negligence system allows for recovery even if a claimant is predominantly at fault. However, their awarded damages will be proportionally reduced based on their assigned level of fault.

Comparative negligence in Washington can be complex, involving the analysis of evidence, witness testimony, and expert opinions. Seek the assistance of an experienced bus accident lawyer to navigate your personal injury claim and protect your rights.

Statute of Limitations for Bus Accidents in Washington

In Washington, the statute of limitations for bus crash injury claims is generally three years. Individuals typically have three years from the date of the bus accident to file a lawsuit for bus accident compensation for injuries and damages. An experienced bus crash lawyer can guide you to pursue your claim well in advance of this deadline, as the statute of limitations plays a crucial role in establishing the timeframe within which victims of a bus accident must initiate legal action. Bus accident cases do require significant preparation, and both evidence and witnesses’ recollections can be fleeting, so it is important to begin working with an attorney promptly following the injury incident.

Wrongful Death Claims for Fatally Injured Bus Passengers and Others Harmed in Bus Accident Cases

Washington law allows wrongful death claims to be filed in cases where a bus passenger, pedestrian, or occupant of another involved motor vehicle dies because of someone else’s negligence. The following elements will apply when pursuing a wrongful death claim in Washington state:

  • Seeking Compensation for the Family: Wrongful death claims seek to provide compensation to a surviving family member or members for various damages that may include medical expenses incurred from the accident, funeral and burial costs, lost future earnings, loss of companionship, and emotional pain and suffering.
  • Hiring a Law Firm Following a Fatal Bus Accident: Given the complexity of wrongful death claims and bus accidents, seek legal representation from an experienced wrongful death attorney who can navigate the legal process, collect evidence, and advocate for fair compensation on behalf of the family.
  • Identifying the Personal Representative: The personal representative must be appointed by the court or designated in the decedent’s will. If the decedent did not appoint a personal representative, the court may assign one.
  • Three-Year Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims: A personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must file the wrongful death claim within three years from the date of the person’s death.
  • Establishing Liability: To pursue a successful wrongful death claim, it must be proven that the death was caused by the negligent or wrongful act of another party. In the case of fatal bus accidents, it could involve proving that the bus driver acted negligently by speeding, driving under the influence, or disregarding traffic laws.
  • Proving Damages: Gathering evidence to establish the extent of the damages suffered by the surviving family members is critical. It can include medical records, financial statements, expert testimony, and other relevant documentation.
  • Distributing Damages: In Washington, damages awarded in a wrongful death case are distributed among eligible beneficiaries according to their relationship to the deceased person. Beneficiaries can include spouses, children, parents, and siblings, among others.

Should I Consult a Bus Accident Lawyer to Seek Compensation?

When bus accidents happen, whether involving a charter bus, city bus, or any other type of bus, the potential for serious injury and mounting medical expenses is high — due to their sheer size and mass. The involvement of multiple factors like bus drivers, bus companies, and issues like insurance coverage further complicate the pursuit of fair compensation.

Insurance law governs transportation, yet insurance companies focus on one thing: making money. When you submit an insurance claim, the insurance company will often minimize your settlement, even if you present solid evidence and information. Washington ensures specific rights for individuals when dealing with insurance companies; however, this doesn’t guarantee that your settlement will cover the damages caused by the accident. It’s in your interest to consult a competent bus accident lawyer to assist with your claim.

At Albrecht Law, our Founder Matt Albrecht is the only planner and lawyer to have been awarded the AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) award recognizing innovative new planning proposals for funding safety improvements. He prioritizes protecting children and pursuing safety for the traveling public by making roads and transportation systems safer. Matt’s profound understanding of insurance law, which he draws upon when representing clients, helps him build robust cases and pursue fair compensation following car crashes.

Contact Albrecht Law PLLC for Help with Your Bus Accident Claim in Spokane, Washington

When seeking the right bus accident lawyer to represent you, knowledge, experience, and competency are among the greatest must-have qualities, along with an unwavering commitment to going to trial, if needed, for your case. Nobody wants to go to the Washington State Court of Appeals, but it is important to recognize early on that an inexperienced attorney would likely abandon you if your case proceeds to that point, leaving you with no recourse to seek compensation for your injuries.

At Albrecht Law PLLC, we have gone to the Washington State Supreme Court on many occasions. If you stand by us, we’ll stand by you. Our founder, Matt Albrecht, is also recognized by the state of Washington as an expert in insurance law, and he authored the book, Washington Insurance Law and Litigation, 2023-2024 ed. (Vol. 35, Washington Practice Series).

It is better to start with a reliable law firm that can represent you all the way — and our firm will help you devise the right strategy and next steps even if we don’t end up taking your case.

During a free consultation, we will review the details of your bus accident case and devise a strategy for seeking compensation based on the unique factors surrounding your injury. We combine cutting-edge technology with loyal, personalized, and courteous attention.

Contact us today at (509) 495-1246(509) 495-1246 or complete our online form today to schedule your free consultation. We are here to serve you.

Albrecht Law PLLC — Our Clients Are More Than Just Cases

Frequently Asked Questions When Bus Accidents Happen in Washington

What should I do if I’m involved in a bus accident in Washington state?

If you’re involved in a bus accident, prioritize your safety and the safety of others. Seek medical attention if needed, document the accident scene, gather witness information, and report the accident to the relevant authorities. Consult an experienced attorney to understand your legal options.

How is liability determined in a bus accident in Washington state?

Liability in bus accidents is typically determined based on negligence, and involves assessing whether the bus driver, other motorists, or entities responsible for maintaining the bus (such as a school district or transportation company) acted negligently, leading to the accident.

Can I file a lawsuit for a bus accident in the state of Washington?

Yes, you can file a lawsuit if you’ve been injured or suffered damages due to a bus accident. It’s wise to seek legal counsel to better understand the process and evaluate your options for seeking compensation.

What types of compensation may be available after a Washington state bus accident?

Compensation for bus accidents may cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other related costs. The specific types of compensation available depend on the circumstances of the accident and the injuries or damages it causes.

Are there time limits for filing a bus accident claim in the state of Washington?

Yes, Washington’s statute of limitations sets a three-year time limit for filing personal injury claims, including those related to bus accidents. Be aware of these limits and take timely action to protect your legal rights.

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