For many Washington residents, taking the bus is a daily activity. Some take the bus to go to school, others to go to work, others to get around in town. Whatever the reason, each time a Washington resident gets on a bus they run the risk of being involved in an accident. The unfortunate few who are caught in a bus accident may need to decide whether they want to file a lawsuit. To figure out whether doing so is a smart decision, ask yourself the following three questions.

First, who was at fault? To win a lawsuit, a person must show that someone else is at fault. Some situations will be easier than others to decipher. For instance, if the bus driver violated a right of way, that would be strong evidence showing that the bus driver was at fault.

Second, who does the bus driver work for? This question is important because if a bus driver works for a company, city or school district, then those entities can be brought into the lawsuit. That is because those entities are “vicariously liable” for what their agents do. Normally, a bus driver will be an agent. But, some trickier spots are, for example, when the driver is on lunch break or running a personal errand at the time of the accident.

Third, what are the steps for filing a lawsuit? Not following the right steps in the right way can undermine a lawsuit before it begins. These procedural hurdles are especially important when the bus is controlled by a governmental entity. In these cases, the process can get complex.

Source: FindLaw, “School Bus Crashes: 3 Questions Before You Sue,” Aditi Mukherji, Feb. 24, 2014