If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident involving a commercial bus, there are various steps that you need to take to help ensure that you recover the compensation you are entitled to. These cases can become challenging, particularly when going up against a bus company or government entity in charge of the bus. Securing compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages can seem daunting. Here, our Albuquerque car accident lawyers want to discuss what you should do if you or a loved one are involved in a bus accident in New Mexico.
Nearly every vehicle accident that occurs in New Mexico has to be reported to law enforcement officials. This will almost certainly include a bus accident. Somebody needs to call 911 and make sure that police and emergency personnel are on the way to the scene. The police will be responsible for conducting a preliminary investigation and possibly determining fault for the incident. The police report is going to be crucial when it comes to securing compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury trial.
Seek medical care
All bus accident victims need to seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you are involved in a bus accident and do not feel much pain, you need to go to a doctor. The signs and symptoms of some New Mexico bus accident injuries do not appear until hours or even days after the injury occurs, but this could be too late when it comes to proving the injury happened in the bus accident. Get evaluated, make sure the injuries are linked to the crash, and follow all instructions from the doctor.
If it is safe to do so at the scene of a crash, bus accident victims can begin gathering evidence that could be used to help determine liability. Some of the evidence that can be gathered at the scene include photographs taken on a phone. These photographs should include damage to vehicles, injuries, traffic and weather conditions, bus license plate numbers and company names, debris and skid marks, and more.
Make note of any cameras in the vicinity, including those on nearby homes or businesses, inside of the vehicles, or even inside the bus. There may be footage on these cameras to help prove what happened.
Speak to eyewitnesses
If there were any eyewitnesses that saw the bus accident occur, you need to get their names and contact information before they leave the scene. Eyewitness statements often end up being valuable testimony used by the insurance carriers or during a personal injury trial that can help establish exactly what happened.
Report the incident to your insurer
Regardless of whether or not you were a passenger on the bus or in another vehicle involved, your auto insurance carrier needs to know about the incident. You do not have to go into detail about the incident when you make your initial report, but they need to know who was involved so that they can begin the claims process on their side. Do not give a recorded statement to your insurance carrier. Make sure that your insurance carrier knows that you will be contacting an attorney.
Continue all medical treatment
You need to continue all medical treatment recommended by your doctor until they say you have reached maximum medical improvement. If a New Mexico bus accident victim discontinues care before their doctor says they should do so, this could be taken as a sign by the insurance carriers that they were not really injured.
Contact an attorney
A bus accident lawyer in Albuquerque needs to get involved very quickly so they can begin investigating the incident. An attorney will be able to handle every aspect of the claim, including negotiating with the insurance carriers and preparing the case for trial if necessary.