Can I Sue the City if I Was Hit by a City Bus?

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When you’re going about your day, the last thing you expect is to be involved in an accident, especially with a city bus. Such an event can be shocking and leave you with many questions.

One of the most pressing questions might be: “Can I take legal action against the city if I was hit by a city bus?” Below, bus accident lawyers will cover this topic to provide some clarity and guidance.

What is Liability in Bus Accidents?

First, it’s important to understand that buses, like any other vehicle on the road, must follow traffic laws. However, because city buses are often operated by government entities, the rules for filing a lawsuit can be a bit different.

The Concept of Sovereign Immunity

The government is protected from most lawsuits by sovereign immunity. It’s like a shield that keeps them from being taken to court. But there are exceptions.

For instance, you can sue the government if a city bus causes an accident due to negligence. However, suing the government isn’t easy. There are many steps and rules to follow. You must act within a specific timeframe and notify the government before going to court.

When Can You Sue?

When you sue the city over an incident involving a city bus, you have to show that the bus driver or the city didn’t take proper care, and that resulted in you getting hurt. This is called negligence.

Now, let’s imagine some ways this might happen with a city bus:

  • The Bus Driver Wasn’t Driving Safely: Think about a bus driver who is supposed to drive carefully to keep everyone safe. But let’s say one day, the driver decides to go way too fast or runs a red light because they’re late. If you get hurt because the driver was in a hurry, that’s a situation where the driver wasn’t doing their job right.
  • Not Paying Attention: Sometimes, drivers might get distracted. Maybe they’re trying to eat lunch while driving or looking at something on the side of the road instead of the road itself. If they stop paying attention and crash, causing you to get injured, that’s another example of not doing their job how they’re supposed to.
  • The Bus Wasn’t Maintained: Buses must be inspected and fixed regularly to ensure they’re safe to ride. If the city doesn’t fix brakes or tires are so old they can pop any minute, and then something goes wrong, that’s on the city.

Steps to Take After a Bus Accident

Male lawyer in suit works at desk with laptop, gavel, and statue of Justice in office setting.

If you’re involved in an accident with a city bus, there are several steps you should take:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Even if you feel okay, getting checked out by a medical professional is important, as some injuries might not be immediately apparent.
  • Report the Accident: Make sure the accident gets reported to the police and the city’s transportation department. This documentation will be crucial if you decide to pursue legal action.
  • Keep Track of Expenses: Save all receipts related to any expenses incurred because of the accident, including medical bills, repair bills, and any other related costs.
  • Consult with a Bus Accident Lawyer: Before taking any legal steps, speak with a lawyer with experience with personal injury claims against government entities. A lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help ensure your rights are protected.

The Legal Process of Suing a City

When you decide to sue the city because of an accident involving a city bus, there’s a special path you have to follow first. This is a bit different from other types of lawsuits.

First, Your bus accident attorney will notify the city of exactly what happened and how you got hurt. This letter is called a claim, and it’s your way of officially telling the city about your problem.

There’s a strict timeline for when you need to send this claim. Usually, it’s only a few months after the accident. If you wait too long, the city can say it’s too late for them to do anything about it.

After the city gets your claim, they have a set amount of time to respond. They might say, “We understand, and here’s what we’re going to do to help,” or they might say, “We don’t think we should have to help.” If the city says no or doesn’t answer within their time limit, you have the green light to take things to the next step, which is going to court.

Going to court is when you officially ask a judge to look at everything and decide if the city should help you because of the accident. This is a big deal because it means bringing in lawyers and possibly going to trial, where both sides present their personal injury case.

So, suing the city is not just about being upset or hurt; it’s about following a specific process that gives the city a chance to fix things first. And if that doesn’t work, you can ask the courts to step in. It’s important to know this process and follow each step correctly, which is why many people get help from a lawyer who knows all about suing the city.

Challenges and Considerations

B prepared for the potential challenges of suing a government entity. The city might have strong defenses, and sovereign immunity can limit or affect the damages you can recover. However, you can navigate these obstacles with the right approach and legal support.

Contact a Bus Accident Lawyer Today

William Pemberton, Personal Injury Lawyer
William Pemberton, Bus Accident Attorney

Being hit by a city bus can be a life-changing event, and it’s natural to want to know your options for seeking justice and compensation. A personal injury lawyer specializing in cases against government entities can provide invaluable guidance. While the process of suing the city can be complex, with the right information and legal support, you can take the steps necessary to pursue a claim.

If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a city bus and you’re considering your legal options, reach out to discuss your situation.


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