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From school and activity buses to commercial and charter buses, traveling on the roads as a passenger in a bus in Chapel Hill can be dangerous. In fact, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there were 1,710 crashes in 2016 involving buses in North Carolina, 553 of which caused injuries.

If you suffer injuries from a bus crash, a Chapel Hill bus accident lawyer could help you pursue a claim to recover damages. With an established personal injury attorney on your side, you could have an advocate to best position your case for a positive outcome.

Proving Negligence in Chapel Hill Bus Accidents

Many different factors can contribute to causing a bus accident, such as following too closely, distracted driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, or improper lane changes. To have a valid claim, though, a plaintiff in Chapel Hill must prove negligence by the bus driver or another motorist.

Furthermore, the defendant must be entirely at fault for the accident because of North Carolina’s contributory negligence doctrine. This doctrine dictates that a plaintiff cannot recover any damages if they contributed to the incident that caused the injuries.

To prove negligence, the plaintiff in a Chapel Hill bus accident case must show the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in performing a legal duty of care for the plaintiff, and that injuries resulted that were the natural and direct result of their negligent conduct. A Chapel Hill bus accident lawyer could help victims build a case that establishes fault, so they can get the justice they deserve.

Recoverable Damages

A broad range of damages are available to plaintiffs who suffer a personal injury in Chapel Hill arising from an act of negligence. The purpose of these damages is to restore a plaintiff to the condition they were in before the accident, and there is no cap in Chapel Hill or anywhere else in North Carolina on the amount of compensatory damages that can be awarded.

Damages in bus accident cases can include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of the use of a body part
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost earnings

What about punitive damages?

Under North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 1D, punitive damages may be awarded in certain cases to punish an individual for egregiously wrongful acts and deter them from committing similar acts in the future. According to the law, punitive damages will only be awarded if fraud, malice, willful or wanton conduct was related to the injury

In a bus accident case, that means punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant’s behavior was willful or wanton, such as reckless driving. The amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a case in Chapel Hill, however, is limited to the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, except in the case of impaired driving.

If a bus accident leaves you injured by no fault of your own, you may need to act quickly to obtain compensation for your losses and costs associated with your recovery. Call us today and get a seasoned Chapel Hill bus accident lawyer on your side.