Motor vehicle accidents come in many shapes and forms. While many of us are familiar with the “typical” kind of motor vehicle accident, where one car collides with another car, motor vehicle accidents can occur in a variety of ways and affect anyone from pedestrians to passengers. For instance, bus accidents – while not particularly common – often result in injuries to passengers. Passenger injuries can arise from a collision between a bus and another motor vehicle or pedestrian, or driver error (for instance, if the bus driver brakes suddenly and a passenger is thrown from their seat).
Special rules and exceptions can apply in bus accidents. For that reason, it is very important to speak with a skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to ensure your claim is preserved and handled promptly.
Can I Apply for Statutory Accident Benefits if I am Injured by a Bus?
As discussed in our previous blog posts, victims of motor vehicle accidents can claim statutory accident benefits under Ontario’s Insurance Act, regardless of whether the victim was responsible for the accident. Subject to certain exceptions, you can apply for statutory accident benefits if you are injured in a bus accident, which can help alleviate the burden of treatment costs and lost income.
Are Statutory Accident Benefits Available for All Types of Bus-Related Injuries?
In Ontario, there are limitations to the kinds of claims you can bring for bus accidents. Section 268(1.1) of Ontario’s Insurance Act says:
Despite subsection (1) and the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, no statutory accident benefits are payable in respect of an occupant of a public transit vehicle, in respect of an incident that occurs on or after the date this subsection comes into force, if the public transit vehicle did not collide with another automobile or any other object in the incident.
Under this section, statutory accident benefits are not available to those who are injured in circumstances where the bus did not actually collide with something (for instance, if the driver were to brake abruptly, causing a passenger to be thrown from their seat). However, the injured person can still bring an action against the negligent parties.
Against Whom Should I File a Claim?
Depending on the circumstances, there may be any number of parties that your lawyer will file a claim against on your behalf following a bus accident. Unlike a standard motor vehicle accident, a claim may be made against the municipality responsible for operating the service. If the bus is operated privately, your lawyer will file a claim against the owner and/or operator of the bus. In some cases, your lawyer may need to file a claim against several parties, including the driver, the operator and/or the municipality responsible for operating the service. These considerations require significant experience with motor vehicle claims and an understanding of the unique legal nuances that apply in the circumstances of the case.
What Steps Should I Take If I am Injured in a Bus Accident?
As with any motor vehicle accident, your priority following an accident should be to seek appropriate medical attention and focus on your recovery. However, you should be mindful of filing deadlines. Bus accidents often involve organizations that have specific notice requirements (for instance, if you are making a claim against the Ontario Ministry of Transportation or an Ontario municipality, you may need to provide notice to the appropriate organization within 10 days of the accident). Be sure to consult with a skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible after the incident to ensure the proper parties are identified early on and your right to pursue your claim is preserved.
Skilled Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Serving Eastern Ontario and North Bay
The lawyers at Tierney Stauffer LLP have represented many individuals injured in bus accidents, including local OC Transpo riders in the National Capital Region and several of those who were involved in the tragic 2013 collision between an OC Transpo bus and a Via Rail train. Our lawyers will work closely with you and your family to make sure that you can access the accident benefits and compensation to which you are entitled.
At Tierney Stauffer LLP, we provide each client with personalized attention and work to ensure they obtain the most comprehensive compensation for their injuries or loss. Call us at 1-888-799-8057 or contact us online to set up a free consultation and discuss your matter with an experienced motor vehicle injury lawyer.