The bus is a mode of commutation that intends to transport a group of people at a time. Annually 700 million residents in the United States rely on buses for their day-to-day errands and endeavors. This includes school buses, board city buses, smaller commuter buses, long-distance buses, such as Greyhound, and tourist buses.
Considering the fatal bus crashes between 2008 and 2018, 12% of them involved intercity buses, 40% were school bus crashes, and 35% involved transit buses. The highest number of bus crashes were reported in New York. These fatal accidents have led to many bus accident lawsuits too.
Annually, bus crashes contribute to only a small portion of the total fatal accidents. Still, they end up in massive calamities. A fully-loaded school bus can weigh about 42,000 pounds, compared to an average passenger automobile which weighs around 3,000 pounds. The consequence of a bus accident could be serious personal injury, property damage, or even the death of the bus occupants and other people on the road.
While remembering the 21 lives lost at the deadliest bus crash in Alton on September 21, 1989, this video delves into the details of the crash.
Edinburg Fire Chief Shawn Snider, an Alamo firefighter at the time, responded to the scene with the Alamo rescue boat, which brought many students to safety. he said, “We had to basically chop all the windows out so we could get a greater opening for the firefighters that were swimming inside the bus to recover the students.”
Earlier the school bus, which was going to the school with 81 students, fell into an excavation pit filled with water when it collided with a delivery truck. It was one of the most tragic bus crashes in the history of America.
Let’s delve into the blog to learn more about the causes and consequences of bus accidents.
What Causes Bus Crashes?
The common causes of bus accidents are discussed below.
Improper maintenance of the bus makes it fizzle, leading to a mishap. Lack of seatbelts, defective brakes, worn out or under-inflated tires, lack of safety devices, etc., prevent buses from operating safely. Lack of systematic upkeep and maintenance by bus companies is often reported to be the culprit in many bus crashes.
Negligence of the driver
The following are the common aspects of negligence in bus drivers that may lead to a bus accident.
- Distracted driving like the use of cell phones, smoking, adjusting the mirror, etc.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
- Drowsy driving due to fatigue or lack of sleep
- Aggressive driving practices include failure to obey traffic signs, speeding, racing, changing lanes without signaling, etc.
When it’s snowy or rainy, buses may skid and slide. Unfavorable weather may prevent the driver from having a clear vision of the road. Due to the heavy weight of the vehicle, quick maneuvering would not be possible, which may end up in bus crashes.
Overloading the bus with passengers can lead to serious wrecks. An overloaded bus cannot accelerate as usual. The tires of the bus may overheat, thereby increasing the chance of blow-outs. The driver may lose control of the bus leading to a crash.
The blind spot is an area that you can’t see in your mirror or with your eyes when driving unless you move your head and look away from the road ahead. Failure to check the blind spot when merging or changing lanes often cause bus crashes.
Left-turn moves of transit buses are related to a particularly high rate of pedestrian collisions. When the bus operators fail to notice the left turns or curves, bus crashes may happen.
The following video analyses the cause of a deadly bus crash in Texas a few years back.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
The types of injuries from bus crashes are extensive. The sudden impact in the absence of a seatbelt to provide restraint results in fatal injuries. Some of the potential injuries from a bus accident are discussed below.
- Internal injuries: The most common internal injuries in bus crashes are punctured lungs, kidney damage, liver lacerations, and internal hemorrhaging. Internal injuries occur when the body collides with objects at great speed during the crash.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Bus crashes often involve extreme forces and sudden collisions. When the head hits, the brain gets slammed inside the skull. TBI often causes lifetime disabilities and including paralysis.
- Burn Injuries: Burn injuries in bus crashes could be caused due to contact with hot metals or other heated elements of the vehicle. Bus crashes may also root the bus to catch fire after a heavy collision.
- Fractures: During a bus accident, the standing passengers would be injured more than the persons seated. Passengers may fall when the bus strikes an object or stops abruptly. This may lead to minor or severe fractures in the limb, rib, hip, etc.
- Spinal cord injury: When there is a sudden blow to the spine during a bus crash, the vertebrae of the spinal cord may dislocate, or break, and even the tissues can get crushed. This may lead to catastrophic injuries in the victims.
Do’s and Don’ts After a Bus Accident
Were you a passenger in the bus or an occupant of another vehicle that collided with the bus?
Were you a pedestrian colliding with the bus?
The response to these queries is very crucial before letting you know how you should proceed with a bus accident lawsuit. The transportation company, vehicle manufacturer, driver, government entity, or other motorist might be liable in a bus accident claim. How to claim after a bus accident? You can take the following steps immediately after a bus crash.
1. Seek medical attention
After the crash, you must seek medical attention, whether your injury level is severe or minor. Medical reports would showcase the treatment provided in the emergency room, treatment given by the primary physician, the future treatment recommended, pharmacy bills, and other billing information. Medical records also prove the severity of your injuries.
Do not overlook your bus accident injuries. Even minor injuries may turn out fatal. Discuss your pain and discomfort with the physician. Saving all the medical records would help when you file a bus injury compensation claim.
2. Call the police
Dial 911 and seek help. The traffic collision report prepared by the police includes the date and time of the crash, details of the at-fault parties, statements, contact and insurance details of the individuals involved, photographs of the accident scene, and contact details of the witnesses. These details could help you during the lawsuit.
Never give unnecessary statements to the police. Always bear in mind that your statement about your injuries or the damages may act against you.
3. Gather Evidence
Photographic evidence can have a crucial impact on a jury when it comes to demonstrating liability in a bus crash lawsuit. Capture photographs and video footage of the accident scene along with the damages you have sustained. It would reflect the impact of the collision, which would benefit you during your personal injury litigation.
Get witnesses if possible. Witness statements would be more vital than you assume. Gather the name of the bus operator and other details. Note down the information regarding the number plate and the company to which the bus belongs. Try to collect the maintenance record of the bus from the bus company.
You may file the claim after some weeks. Taking notes may help you file a personal injury lawsuit without missing any details.
4. Don’t make any statement
Don’t share anything about the injury or the accident with anyone before consulting your bus accident attorney. Keep all the details of the case with you.
Wait until you get proper legal advice from your attorney. The insurance company may try to manipulate you.
5. Contact a personal injury attorney
It’s natural to feel helpless after an accident. Consult a proficient bus accident lawyer. He would investigate every possible way to recover compensation. It takes time to solve your case. Before any negotiation, know well about your case and follow the instructions of your attorney.
The lawsuit would begin when the claim is filed. The legal proceedings are the same as any other motor vehicle accident. It may end up in a settlement or proceed toward a trial.
A video of a bus crash with a car is posted by the car driver asking whether he was at fault is analyzed by the ABC news channel.
What Happens if you are Pursuing a Public Bus Accident Lawsuit?
When you sue public entities for bus accidents, you have to remember one thing. Public entities have sovereign immunity to shield them from lawsuits. You can pursue lawsuits, but there will be stricter monetary caps that will limit the recompense you get from the bus crash lawsuits. Section 101.023 lays down the Limitation on the Amount of Liability as noted below.
In the city bus accident settlements, you cannot expect reparation for your pain and suffering and punitive damages. At the same time, if the other vehicle caused the city bus into an accident, the negligent party will be responsible for your damages.
Frequently Asked Questions on Bus Accident Lawsuits
Let’s now move on to some of the possible queries that you may have while claiming for bus crashes.
1. What are the types of losses for which you could seek compensation?
You can seek compensation in the same way you could in any other motor vehicle lawsuit. Current and future medical expenses, property damage, Loss of wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, disability, etc., are some of the common damages for which you are entitled to seek compensation.
2. What if you were a passenger on the bus during the crash?
You would receive special protections considering the bus as a “common carrier.” The bus company owes the utmost duty of care to the passengers, from safe boarding to safe exit. Therefore, you can pursue a bus passenger accident claim to claim your damages.
3. You got injured when the bus operator started driving off before you had fully exited. Can you sue?
Absolutely you can sue if it is his negligence, and he is responsible for your damages. Make sure you have valid evidence to prove that the negligence of the driver was the reason for your injuries.
4. If you were the driver of a vehicle that was hit by a bus, who is liable for your damages?
If the accident happened because of the fault of the bus operator, you could sue him or the bus company. If there is some degree of fault from your side, then the lawsuit may differ depending upon the type of negligence law enforced in your state.
5. What should you do if the bus company approaches for a settlement?
Do not sign any forms from the bus company or its insurance carrier. Never accept or agree to get any settlement before consulting a bus accident lawyer. It may hold you back from filing the lawsuit.
6. What is the value of your bus accident lawsuit?
The value of your bus crash claim depends on the state you reside in, the severity of the injury, how it affects your life and employment, and how long it lasts. For instance, a bus crash lawsuit in California would be worth over $100,000 for severe injuries stemming from the negligence of the driver. For severe and permanent damages, the verdict may go beyond $250,000.
7. What if a pedestrian is hit by a bus and he is partly at fault for the accident?
If the pedestrian is partly at fault, he/she could still recover restitution for his injuries. However, it would depend upon the law of the state. In Washington, the compensation will be given based on the proportion of fault. If a pedestrian is 20 percent at fault, he can collect the remaining 80 percent of compensation.
8. Can you file the claim without an attorney?
Proceeding with a bus crash claim would be a lengthy process. Moving the paper works on time and gathering the necessary documents would be a headache. If you think of fighting alone with the insurance company to get compensation, then it won’t be a smart choice. An experienced bus accident lawyer would handle your claim efficiently.
9. Who is liable when a child is injured in a school bus accident?
The school district may be liable for the bus crash depending upon the ownership of the school bus, the type of employment contract, and the negligence factor of the bus operator. Your school bus accident settlements can also depend on the negligence of the driver, school bus manufacturer, or the company that manages the bus service.
10. Who is responsible for your damages in a public bus accident?
The government could be held liable if the bus involved in the crash is owned by the federal, state, or regional transportation authority. In such cases, the claimant should prove that the accident was caused by the negligence of the government authority. However, suing government entities and winning the bus accident compensation would be a tough process.
If you are involved in a bus accident, don’t be panic-stricken about the situation. It’s your right to claim for your loss and suffering. Hope this blog has enlightened you about the essence of bus accident claims and the tactics to win the bus crash settlement claims.
Look for an expert bus accident lawyer and have a detailed case evaluation. Since you can’t repair the damage that has already been done, now is the time to learn about your injuries and the legal options.
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Transportation is a basic facility in day to day life. After getting informations regarding lawsuit on bus crashes we can be panic free on getting into such unfortunate situation. Useful post.
It is an eye-opener that clears so many doubts from my mind regarding the Fatal Bus Accidents. Amazing write-up!. Look forth for further blogs from your end
Hi, Selin, you are quite right. In life, more than in anything else, it isn’t easy to end up alive. So a little precaution before a crisis occur is preferable to a lot of fixing up afterwards. Safety rules are best tool to prevent from bus accident. Excellent work.
This blog contains very useful information regarding bus accidents. I was seeking it for a long time to get the right blog. I got the right note to understand my own cases related to bus accidents. I gained a lot from your blog about bus accidents and lawsuits. I’m going to bookmark this blog. Thank you Selin for sharing your knowledge.
I got some useful tips regarding bus accident claims. These tips have enlightened me in a higher realm to claim for the bus accident. This blog remained as a pep pill to win the lawsuit. Thanks a bunch.
Lo mejor que he conocido hasta ahora está aquí con novedad.Este blog ha sido un punto de referencia para cualquier caso de accidente por accidente de coche. Apoyamos a lezdotechmed.com por hacer que las cosas sean tan buenas para que los abogados como nosotros nos comuniquemos con ellos para la revisión de registros médicos. Tienen muchos más complementos para ayudar a los abogados a encontrar la información fácilmente en términos sencillos. Nos encanta este blog. También buscamos backlinks. Muy buena redacción.
Queremos luchar por tus derechos y hacer justicia por ti. Estar envuelto en un accidente, es sinónimo de caos. Nosotros somos el apoyo que necesitas para sobrellevar esta situación de la mejor manera posible.
Hiring a good and competent lawyer can give you a fighting chance to win your case. Thanks for putting up such useful advice on the best personal injury lawyer.