If you live in Calgary, there’s a good chance you have taken the bus to work or school, a hockey game or the Stampede, or to visit your family in a neighbouring province for the holidays. Buses provide an easy-to-use, affordable, and generally safe mode of transportation both within the city and for those travelling long distances. Alberta’s provincial laws provide stringent requirements for driver licensing, bus safety devices, equipment, and standards, and vehicle safety inspections both scheduled and roadside. Seat belts are not currently mandatory on buses anywhere in Canada – a topic that gets raised every time a bus crash takes place. But that’s all about to change. Transport Canada recently announced that all highway buses built on or after September 1, 2020, will require seat belts in an effort to keep Canadians safe on our roads. Bus accidents are rare (accounting for less than 0.5 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, but when they do happen the results can be catastrophic. If you were injured in a bus accident that was not your fault, we can help. At Litwiniuk & Company, we’ve represented injured Calgarians for over 44 years, including bus accident victims, and the families of those fatally injured. Our knowledgeable Calgary Bus Accident lawyers will leave no stone unturned to ensure you get the maximum compensation for your injuries. We’ll handle the legal work and the insurance companies, so that you can focus on what matters most – your health and getting your life back.
Injured while riding city transit?
It’s rush hour, and the bus you take to work is crammed full of people. All the seats are full so you, along with a dozen other passengers, stand for the ride. While travelling down Calgary’s Deerfoot trail, another vehicle cuts off your bus driver forcing him to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. The sudden brake catapults you forward causing you to hit your head on a metal pole and crash into the aisle. As a result, you suffer a concussion and broken wrist, and you are left feeling pretty shaken up. Now you are forced to take time off work and spend the next few months recovering from your injuries. Your medical doctor recommends physiotherapy, massage, and chiropractic care. But none of those services are covered under Alberta Health Care. So now what? As there was no collision, the other driver is likely long gone. How do you make a claim against a driver you can’t locate? Can you make a claim against the Calgary Transit Authority? What if the bus driver was partially at fault because they were speeding?
When it comes to bus accidents, there are two key sources of evidence that could be very helpful should you choose to make a claim:
- Eyewitness accounts – unless you were the only passenger on the bus at the time of your injury, the other passengers should be able to corroborate the events that caused your injury. For example, the bus stops or swerves suddenly and causing you to fall. Witnesses might also be able to shed some light on whether or not the bus driver was speeding, seemed distracted, or simply got cut off by another vehicle.
- Camera footage – most public transit buses in Calgary are equipped with internal and external cameras. You or your lawyer can request the camera footage by submitting a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) request to the City of Calgary. Details on how to place a request can be found here.
Even if you are unsure who was at fault for the accident, if you were injured in a Calgary Bus Accident that was not your fault, you have the right to make a claim. A skilled lawyer will be able to determine where liability falls and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. For example, if the other driver’s identity is unknown or they were uninsured, you can make a claim against the Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act (MVAC) – a program put in place by the province to provide compensation for those injured by uninsured or hit and run drivers. An experienced Calgary Bus Accident lawyer will be able to walk you through the steps to achieve a settlement.
School Bus Accidents
School bus collisions in Alberta are thankfully very rare and also less likely to result in injuries than other motor vehicle collisions. When school bus accidents do occur, they tend to capture public attention, as children are usually involved. Our Calgary Bus Accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children, and families of fatally injured children. We understand that a child’s life is affected differently by an accident than an adult’s life. We work with medical professionals to determine the effects of injuries on a child’s school performance, memory, concentration, personality, leisure activities, future opportunities, and relationships with friends, family, and teachers. If your child has been injured in a school bus accident in Alberta, we can help. Whether the collision was caused by the bus driver, another driver, a mechanical failure, or something else, we will work hard to get your child the compensation that he or she deserves. Depending on the circumstances, liability could fall to the bus driver, the company that provides bus service on behalf of a school, or even the school district. Multiple parties could be held liable if they are even partially to blame for the injury-causing accident. It won’t cost you a thing to talk to a Litwiniuk & Company Bus Accident lawyer. And if you do choose us to represent your claim, we’ll cover the expenses of gathering evidence for your case until you receive your settlement, meaning we don’t get paid until you get paid.
Long-distance travel, motor coaches, and tour buses.
With the beautiful Rocky Mountains nearby, every year thousands of people take chartered bus tours to visit the local Icefields and other popular tourist attractions. Although rare, tour bus accidents do happen. Determining liability for these types of accidents is often complicated as there are several parties that could be liable for a bus accident. Aside from the bus driver and others on the road, there are three additional parties that may be held liable in a bus accident claim:
- The bus company – The company which owns the vehicle has a responsibility to follow the National Safety Code Safety and Maintenance Program Development Guidelines provided by Alberta Transportation. This detailed guideline includes important steps to ensure the safety and maintenance of the buses, and that all drivers are competent and qualified to safely operate the fleet. Even if these criteria are met, a bus company may still be held liable for injuries caused by a negligent driver or a poorly maintained vehicle.
- The tour company – It is the responsibility of the tour company to hire a bus company with a good safety record. In some cases, tour companies can be held partially at fault for an accident, even if they did not directly cause it. If, for example, injuries occur as the result of an accident on a tour bus operated by a bus company that has a long history of safety violations, the tour company might be held partially liable if they were or should have been aware of that history. Likewise, a tour company that owns its own buses must follow the Alberta Transportation guidelines that standard bus companies adhere to.
- Venue owners – Often tour buses will stop at various locations as part of their itinerary. Let’s say a passenger slips on a patch of ice and breaks their leg after exiting a bus at a mountainside café. In this case, the owner of that venue may be held liable for failing to ensure the safety of visitors to the premises.
Motorcoach buses that transport passengers, especially long distances, like Ebus or Red Arrow, also fall under many of the same rules and regulations for safety and liability. If you were injured in a bus accident and have questions about making a claim, call or email us to get free legal answers today.
Am I eligible to make a claim?
Regardless of who is liable for the bus accident, if it was at least partially the fault of someone else, you have the right to make a claim for compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies will often be quick to offer you the lowest possible settlement amount, ideally before you decide to talk to a Personal Injury lawyer or realize the full extent of your injuries. It’s important to remember that you are under no obligation to the insurance company of the at-fault party. Always talk to a Personal Injury lawyer before you sign or agree to anything. By speaking with an experienced Calgary Bus Accident lawyer, you’ll know exactly what your claim is worth and you may discover that you are legally entitled to accident benefits and compensation for lost wages, medical bills, physical therapy, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, or disability. If you choose to pursue a claim, our fees are a percentage of your compensation and we’ll cover all the disbursements (money spent to collect evidence and build your case) until your case is resolved, meaning you don’t pay us anything until we win.
In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of a bus accident to make a claim in court, or your right to do so is lost forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines or other circumstances that may affect the deadline or your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Calgary Bus Accident Lawyers today.
Our Calgary Bus Accident Lawyers are here to help.
If you were injured in a bus accident, you may feel like a lot has happened that is out of your control. We’re here to help you regain that control and get your life back. You don’t have to go through this alone. With Litwiniuk & Company, you’ll get an experienced Personal Injury lawyer on your side and an entire team dedicated to helping you get back on your feet. We understand what you and your family might be going through at this time. We’re here for you, and we hear you. You aren’t just another “case” or file number. You get a legal team that really listens. Let us take the weight off your shoulders. We’ll handle the legal work and support you with anything else you might need. Looking for a great physiotherapist in Calgary? Need help getting groceries while you’re injured? We’ll help in any way we can. Call or email us today to connect with a lawyer for free.