Because of their size and weight, any accident involving a bus can result in serious harm, including injuries and financial losses for those involved. A typical bus accident may involve many different entities. A crash involving a city bus is even more complicated because municipalities are usually protected by different laws than private individuals and companies.
So, can you sue a city if you were hit by a city bus? Like most legal questions, the answer is not straightforward. We’ll discuss some general issues that arise in personal injury claims against municipalities in this post, but for specific answers to your personal questions, reach out to an experienced bus accident lawyer today.
Why Do Laws Treat Cities Differently Than Private Entities?
When a private person or company is sued for negligence, they usually have an insurance policy in place to cover the injured person’s damages. The injured party, or more likely their personal injury attorney, submits a demand package to the insurer, including relevant evidence to support the claim.
The lawyer then negotiates with the insurance adjuster and opposing counsel to settle the claim. If a settlement is not possible, the injury attorney must file a civil lawsuit before the applicable statute of limitations runs.
Each state has a limited window of opportunity for injured parties to file a lawsuit against the responsible people or companies. If you miss this filing deadline, you have little chance of recovering payment for your losses from the at-fault parties.
State and Municipal Governments Have Their Own Set of Rules
Usually, a particular State’s laws protect the government entity by shortening the time frame for bringing a claim or lawsuit or requiring additional steps before an injured person may hold the municipality liable.
Read about the statutes of limitations below and consult a proactive personal injury law firm with experience bringing cases against municipalities to understand how long you have to file your claim.
In some jurisdictions, state government employees have sovereign immunity, meaning they cannot face lawsuits for any actions performed in the course of their employment. Again, a diligent injury attorney can explain whether these immunities apply to your claim.
What Makes City Bus Accident Claims Different?
If a city bus hits you, your personal injury claim is more complicated than an action against a private person or bus company. Although different states have different laws regarding personal injury tort claims against a government entity, some of the common issues you may face include:
Different standards of liability can apply to municipalities
When a city bus driven by a city employee hits you, you must prove negligence on the part of the driver and/or the city to recover your losses from the municipality. Some jurisdictions may cap how much you can request per person or per occurrence. Some government entities cannot face lawsuits for the intentional acts of their employees.
For example, in Nebraska, the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act allows injured people to bring a lawsuit against a municipality under a legal theory of negligence, but they cannot sue for intentional torts. In contrast, Iowa allows an injured person to bring a lawsuit under the Municipal Tort Claims Act to hold a city responsible for its employee’s torts, including intentional acts.
Exceptions to immunity may apply under some circumstances
Like most laws, exceptions may apply to the general rules depending on specific circumstances. If a city bus driver injured you and you want to learn more about your particular right to sue the city, consult a skilled bus accident lawyer who also has experience bringing legal claims against government entities.
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What Is the Statute of Limitations For Filing a Lawsuit Against a Government or Municipal Entity or Employee?
To promote an efficient government process and limit the exposure to lawsuits, most states have implemented shortened limitation timeframes for cases brought against government entities. Also, some states require an injured person to give official notice of a potential claim before they can file a lawsuit against the government.
Specifically, Nebraska law requires an injured claimant to file a Notice of Claim against a municipality within one year of the accident. So, if you were hit by a city bus driven by a city employee, you must file a Notice of Claim against the city before you can take any legal action in the civil court system.
Depending on the city’s response, you may resolve your claim by a mutual settlement, or you may need to file a lawsuit against the city and other responsible parties. If you need to file a lawsuit, you must file it within two years of the date of the accident, or you will lose your right to receive compensation from the responsible parties.
Again, exceptions may apply in your case, so discuss your specific case with a skilled bus accident personal injury lawyer who understands the intricate details involved and your rights and responsibilities.
To Learn if You Can Sue the City After a City Bus Hits You, Reach out to a Qualified Personal Injury Law Firm Today
Typical bus accident cases can involve many different people or companies. If a city bus hits you, your claim grows even more complex because of special laws and rules that apply to government entities in injury lawsuits.
Don’t miss your opportunity to bring legal action against those who are responsible for your injuries. During a free consultation with a dedicated bus injury lawyer at Berry Law, we can determine all potentially liable parties and how long you have to bring a claim for damages.
When you work with our legal team, you’ll receive the same high-quality legal services we’ve been providing clients since 1965. Let our hard-working lawyers fight for your rights against all responsible parties, including municipalities and their employees. Call now or reach out through our online contact page to avoid missing a potentially short window of opportunity.