Injured when a car rear ended a transit bus I was on...now what?
I was riding on a public transit bus today in Greensboro, North Carolina, when it was suddenly rear ended by a car from behind. I was injured and received medical treatment. The doctors said I'm suffering from acute spasms in my neck and in the muscles in my lower back.
Can I be compensated for my injury? What should I ask for, and from whom? I didn't have to wear braces or anything like that, but I am in pain (about a 6 on a subjective scale of pain rating from 1 to 10). What can I do? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Injured when a car rear ended a transit bus I was on...now what?":
Diedrik (Greensboro, NC):
From the facts you present, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries and resulting "damages." This can include your medical bills, reimbursement for lost wages (if any), out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, costs of travel to and from treatment, bandages, etc.), and pain and suffering.
Your right to compensation stems from the negligence of the at-fault driver who struck the bus from behind. You really do not have a right to compensation from the bus company, or the government agency responsible for the operation and maintenance of the bus. It doesn't appear the bus driver was negligent.
There is likely a Police Accident Report which was generated at the time of the crash. Contact the law enforcement agency which investigated the crash and ask for a copy of the Police Accident Report. In the report will be the name of the at-fault driver, the owner of the car (if different), the registration number of the car, and driver/owner's insurance information.
Moreover, it's likely the police report indicates the driver was issued a traffic ticket for "Following Too Closely." That ticket, plus other information within the report, can be used to prove the driver was clearly negligent.
Because your injures are "soft tissue," meaning there are no fractures, deep gashes, or other serious injuries, any compensation from the driver's insurance company will most likely be limited to your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and perhaps a small amount for your pain and suffering.
A good way to gauge the amount of compensation you may get is by multiplying your medical bills by 2-3x.
With that in mind, contact the driver's insurance company and file an injury claim. A claims adjuster will contact you and the process of negotiating a settlement will begin.
Because there were other passengers who may have also been injured, time is of the essence in filing a claim with the driver's insurance company. Depending upon the amount of insurance the diver carried, there may be only so much available for compensation. The driver's policy limits may be divided among all the injured parties.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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