Bus Accident Lawyer
Most of the commuting public ride buses daily or drive next to at least one on the road. With how integral buses have become to the country’s public transportation system, you would think that bus accidents are infrequent.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. According to the latest Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report, over 100,000 bus injury crashes occurred in 2019. More than 200 crashes proved to be fatal. Based on previous data, the trend for bus injury and fatal crashes is steadily increasing, causing thousands of injuries and fatalities and millions in property damage.
Were you or a loved one injured in a bus accident? Whether you are a passenger or another motorist, you have the legal right to seek compensation if you were injured in a bus crash.
The bus accident lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, can help you take legal action against responsible parties in a bus accident. Call our law offices today for a free consultation.
Bus Crash Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSA) Administration reported the following findings in 2019:
- 232 buses were involved in fatal crashes
- 127,000 buses were involved in bus injury crashes
- On average, school buses and transit buses accounted for 39% and 34% of fatal crashes, respectively; intercity buses accounted for 12%
Causes of Bus Accidents
Many transit and school bus accidents result from the negligence of bus drivers or bus companies. Common causes of bus accidents include:
- Distracted Driving: Cellphones, music, food, and bus passengers can distract bus drivers and take their attention away from the road. Even if the bus is moving below the speed limit, a moment of inattention can cause a deadly bus crash.
- Driver Fatigue: Bus drivers work at least 8 hours daily, but most are on the road longer. Driving while tired impairs coordination, concentration, and reaction time, increasing the risk of an accident. Tired drivers can weave over the center line, go through stop lights, or even fall asleep at the wheel.
- Intoxication: Similar to drowsy driving, driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol affects a driver’s concentration, coordination, and ability to react to road hazards. Drugs and alcohol can also impair a driver’s reasoning, causing them to engage in reckless behavior like speeding.
- Aggressive Driving: Aggressive behaviors like speeding, swerving, or tailgating can put bus passengers and other motorists at risk. Unfortunately, many drivers engage in aggressive driving behaviors to stay on schedule.
- Bus Driver Error: Lack of training and experience can increase the risk of driver error, such as driving too close to a sidewalk when picking up passengers or braking too fast.
- Mechanical Failure: Bus companies are responsible for ensuring that buses are in good working condition. Failure to maintain buses properly can result in mechanical failures (e.g., bad brakes, engine failure), increasing the risk of a crash.
- Unsafe Road Infrastructure: Potholes, uneven expansion joints, rough roads, and other road hazards can contribute to the risk of a bus accident.
Types of Bus Accidents
Bus collisions can occur in many ways, such as:
- Rear-End Collision occurs when the bus collides with another vehicle from the rear.
- Head-On Collision occurs when the front of two vehicles hits each other.
- T-Bone Collision occurs when the bus collides with another vehicle from the side, also known as a side collision.
- Rollover occurs when the bus hits another vehicle or object and turns over on its side.
Why Are Bus Accidents Extremely Dangerous?
Any motor vehicle accident can be dangerous and even fatal. However, accidents involving buses are especially hazardous due to the following reasons:
- No Seatbelts: Buses don’t have seatbelts, meaning passengers can easily get thrown around the vehicle in a crash.
- Large Bodies: The large structure of buses helps make them more resistant to damage in the event of a collision. But while this is beneficial for passengers, it can be bad news for smaller vehicles. A large bus can cause severe damage to a smaller car and even crush it in a rollover incident. Moreover, a bus’ size makes it more prone to causing significant property damage.
- Blind Spots: Large vehicles like buses and trucks have wider blind spots, making it difficult for drivers to see other cars driving near them.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accident victims may sustain the following injuries:
- Whiplash: Getting hit by a bus from the rear usually results in whiplash, a neck injury caused by the rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. It affects the muscles, tendons, and other soft neck injuries and typically results in lengthy periods of pain.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): A significant blow to the head can lead to a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion or brain hemorrhage. TBIs can range from mild to severe, with the most severe cases causing death in victims.
- Spinal Cord Trauma: A bus crash can injure the nerves or vertebrae of the spinal cord. An injury to the spinal cord can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Internal Bleeding: Blunt trauma to the body can damage blood vessels and cause internal bleeding. Most incidences of internal bleeding require medical attention and, when left untreated, can cause death.
- Fractures: Broken bones are common injuries in motor vehicle accidents, resulting from body parts colliding with hard objects during the crash, such as steering wheels and center consoles.
- Burns: A victim can sustain burns if something catches on fire while still in the vehicle. Burns involving bus and car accidents usually result from fluid leaks, oil leaks, or electrical damage.
- Scrapes, Cuts, Bruises: Victims can suffer these minor injuries from broken glass, plastic parts, and other debris.
- Amputation: Severe bus crashes can cause instant amputation of limbs. In other cases, severe injuries can lead to amputation.
- Crushing: When an accident causes a body part to get pressed between two objects or under a heavy object, the immense pressure can cause severe damage to the bones, muscles, and nerves of the body. Crushing injuries can cause nerve damage, amputation, and, in worst cases, instant death.
- Infections: Wounds that do not receive proper medical attention can develop infections. Infections can range from mild to severe but are dangerous in any case.
Who is Most at Risk?
The following people are more prone to more severe injuries in a bus-related accident:
- Pregnant women
- Drivers in poorly-maintained cars
- Bus drivers
What to Do if You Get in a Bus Accident
Knowing what to do in case of a transit or school bus crash can mean the difference between life and death. Here are the steps to take following a bus accident:
If You Are a Passenger:
- Look For an Exit. As soon as you get your bearings, find the nearest exit. Most buses have two: one in the middle and one next to the driver. Use the emergency exit if there is no way to access the doors. Break the glass if necessary (e.g., when the vehicle is on fire).
- Find a Safe Location: Go to the sidewalk or a nearby area with no passing cars. Assist other injured bus accident victims if you can, especially children.
- Call The Police: Even if the crash was minor, call the police to the scene. Call 911 if you or another passenger has serious injuries.
- Apply First Aid: Use first aid on yourself or another passenger while waiting for help. If someone is bleeding, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure on the wound with a clean cloth. Do not move an unconscious person with serious injuries unless leaving them in that position will cause greater danger.
- Go to the Hospital: Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if your injuries are minor. Some injuries do not manifest immediately, and the adrenaline from the crash could be keeping you from feeling pain. Monitor your injuries for the following days and inform your doctor about any new symptoms.
- Contact an Attorney: You need legal help to ensure you recover compensation for your injuries. Hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
If You Are Another Driver:
- Turn Off Your Car: Kill the engine if it is still running and remove the key from the ignition. Do not attempt to drive the car further.
- Leave The Car: Get out of your car and find a safe area. Stay put and wait for help if you have serious injuries keeping you from moving. Assess the status of other passengers, if there are any.
- Call The Police: Contact the police as soon as possible. Call 911 to the accident scene if you or someone else have sustained severe injuries.
- Apply First Aid: Use first aid on yourself or another passenger while waiting for help. Apply pressure to a bleeding wound with a clean cloth. If you have a broken bone, stay immobile and wait for help.
- Give a Full Report to Authorities: When the police arrive, give them your account of the incident. A police report will be vital in your complaint against the bus company.
- Go to the Hospital: Undergo a check-up from a doctor after the accident. Some injuries appear minor but are more severe than they look or feel. Monitor your condition in the following days and alert your doctor about any new symptoms you experience.
- Contact an Attorney: If you were in a car accident involving a negligent bus driver, you must prove that you are not at fault. Hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
Who is Liable For a Bus Accident?
Bus accident cases often differ from regular vehicle crashes, especially regarding liability. There may be multiple parties responsible for the accident, such as:
- The Bus Driver: The negligent driver is usually the first person to receive the blame following a bus accident. They will likely be held liable if the bus driver violated traffic laws or simply committed an error due to a lack of training.
- The Bus Company: Private companies could be held liable for bus accidents caused by lack of training, mechanical failure, or intoxicated driving. Generally, private bus companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers pass drug tests and training and their buses are well-maintained.
- The Local Government: The local government could be held accountable for a car accident involving a city bus.
- The School District: Crashes involving school buses may find school districts liable for failing to conduct proper driver training, keep buses in good shape, or ensure drivers follow protocol when transporting students.
- Other Vehicles: Some accidents involve more than two vehicles. Another driver might be liable for the crash if their negligence contributed to the accident.
- The Bus Manufacturer: In rare cases, buses crash due to manufacturer error. For instance, a Greyhound bus could crash due to faulty wiring, improper testing, or a malfunctioning engine.
How to File a Bus Accident Claim
Many bus accident cases turn into personal injury claims. Filing a personal injury claim against the driver, private bus company, or manufacturer responsible could help you recover compensation for your losses.
Your bus accident attorney will help you recover financial compensation for:
- Medical Bills: A bus accident can make you pay out-of-pocket medical bills. A legal claim could help you recover these medical expenses, including hospitalization, surgery, therapy, and medication costs. You could also obtain payment for anticipated future medical expenses.
- Disability: A serious injury can result in a disability, especially if your spine or nerves are damaged. You could recover compensation for disability-related expenses, such as mobility aids, rehabilitation, and loss of quality of life.
- Pain and Suffering: Aside from physical injuries, a bus crash can also lead to non-physical injuries. A personal injury claim could help you obtain payment for physical pain, emotional trauma, and mental anguish.
- Lost Wages: You may miss work to recover from your injuries. You could receive compensation for lost wages, income, and benefits if this happens. Moreover, you could recover lost wages if you miss work to care for your injured loved one.
- Property Damage: You could recover the costs of repair or replacement to your car, belongings, and other damaged or lost property in the accident.
- Wrongful Death: Your bus accident lawyer can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one dies from the accident. Death-related damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical bills, and loss of consortium.
Your bus accident lawyer will estimate the potential value of your settlement based on your damages and other applicable factors during your free case evaluation.
Every bus accident case requires substantial evidence to prove the liability of at-fault parties. Your bus accident lawyer will help you collect forms of proof that can help support your claim, such as:
- Photos of your injuries
- Documentation of the scene
- Information about the bus driver and bus involved
- Information about the bus company
- Witness accounts from other victims, drivers, and passersby
- Video evidence of the accident (e.g., dash cam footage)
- Medical records
- The police report of the incident
- An autopsy report, in case of wrongful death
After filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party, their insurance company may offer you a settlement.
The settlement value for bus crashes varies from case to case, and your attorney can help you determine how much you deserve to receive in compensation. Only accept the offer if you think it would be enough to cover your bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Otherwise, have your lawyer negotiate with the insurance company for a better offer.
Other Legal Options
Most bus accident claims settle out of court. However, this is not always the case. The insurance company may refuse to make a better offer, or the defendant may deny responsibility for the accident. Either way, you need an experienced bus accident lawyer to help you pursue damages through other means.
Your lawyer could help you file a bus accident lawsuit against negligent parties. A judge or jury will hear evidence from both sides and determine a verdict. During a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer will serve as your legal representation and guide you through the proceedings.
However, not all cases are destined for court. Your attorney could also help you recover damages through other dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration or mediation, which may be less expensive and time-consuming than a personal injury lawsuit.
Our experienced attorneys will help you obtain justice regardless of the legal path you need to take.
The Role of Bus Accident Lawyers
Our personal injury lawyers go above and beyond in the pursuit of justice. Hiring an experienced bus accident attorney from our team can help you:
- Determine why and how the accident occurred
- Prove liability of the transit or school bus driver, bus company, or city
- Collect support evidence to support your claim
- Evaluate the extent of your damages
- Estimate the value of your settlement
- Negotiate compensation with the insurance company
- Consult medical and bus accident experts
- File your bus accident case in court, if necessary
Your attorney will discuss these responsibilities further during your initial consultation.
How to Avoid Transit and School Bus Accidents
Drivers, bus companies, and the general public contribute to the safety of our roads. The following are different ways each member of society can help reduce the risk of bus accidents:
- Avoid eating, drinking, or using technology while driving
- Avoid aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, speeding, and improper lane changing
- Do not drive while tired or intoxicated
- Be mindful of other vehicles, especially for drivers in blind spots
- Give passengers enough time to get on and off the bus
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Slow down in work and school zones
- Don’t cause a distraction on the bus
- Avoid standing on the bus as much as possible
- Do not attempt to get on or off the bus while it is still moving
- Report irresponsible driving to the authorities
- Maintain a safe distance from buses and other large vehicles, especially in inclement weather
- Be careful when driving in a bus’ blind spot
- Avoid eating, drinking, or using technology while driving
- Avoid aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, speeding, and improper lane changing
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Avoid driving while tired or intoxicated
- Maintain your car correctly; check your brakes, tires, lights, and fluids regularly
- Avoid overtaking a bus
- Do not rush past a bus that is changing lanes
- Watch out for buses making a turn
- Maintain buses regularly
- Train bus drivers on proper driving techniques, passenger loading, and unloading protocols, and basic maintenance
- Conduct thorough background checks on all drivers
- Ensure that each bus driver passes regular drug tests
- Schedule routes appropriately so drivers are not rushing to meet times
- Allow each bus driver enough rest between shifts to avoid drowsy driving
- Maintain bus safety features, such as cross-view mirrors, protective seating, and emergency exits
- Address inappropriate driver behavior immediately
Hire a Skilled Bus Accident Lawyer to Resolve Your Case
Thousands of buses transport passengers to and from their destinations every day. Unfortunately, not all buses make the trip without incident.
Bus accidents cause millions of victims injuries, trauma, and pain and suffering yearly. Most of the time, negligent bus drivers and bus companies are to blame.
Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a bus accident? Whether you were a passenger or the driver of the other car, our bus accident lawyers will be your legal advocates in seeking justice. The bus accident attorneys at Injury Lawyers Team can help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve through litigation or an out-of-court settlement.
Schedule a free consultation with an experienced bus accident attorney today. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our bus accident lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our services are 100% free unless we win your case.