Every day, millions of people rely on bus transportation to safely commute to work, home or school. Buses serve an important role: they make commuting more efficient by reducing the number of cars in traffic and they also provide a means of transportation that, for the most part, is safer than driving in a car.
Still, buses are involved in traffic collisions more often than many people realize. In these situations, injury claims from bus accidents can be more challenging to prove than in a regular car crash. The attorneys at The Flood Law Firm have years of experience pursuing bus accident claims. This article provides general information about your rights if you have suffered a bus-related injury.
If you would like to speak to an expert, call The Flood Law Firm today for a free, confidential consultation.
Buses are part of a group that is captured under the term “common carrier”; the term is a general one and describes any business that transports people or goods for a fee. Whether the bus is run by the city or a school district, it is covered by a special set of rules that are different from individual car owners. While passengers who are injured in bus-related accidents have the same rights as individuals who are injured in an automobile crash, defending those rights can be complicated due to the special regulations that apply to buses.
While a common carrier must comply with traffic and safety laws, and provide reasonable care for its passengers (such as operable conditions and competent drivers), the common carrier does not have to guarantee passengers’ safety.
This is true even in the case of school buses – despite the extreme vulnerability of child passengers. Children often fare worse in collisions involving buses than adults do, partly because they are usually smaller and partly because they are more susceptible to injury from being less reactive to harmful situations.
In cases of school bus transportation, parents trust that buses are in proper working condition to transport their children safely. Parents also expect school bus drivers to be appropriately vetted, licensed and trained, not only in how to drive the bus but also in handling emergency situations.
Bus accidents affect people from every sector in society, from children on school buses to adults on public transportation. Injured passengers have the same rights as any other car crash victim. Let us assist you in representing your claim. Contact The Flood Law Firm if you have questions about your rights to recovery if you have been injured in a bus accident.
Types of Common Bus Accidents
Though it is generally safer riding a bus than it is driving a car, bus accidents bring more severe consequences to passengers than an average car accident. This is partly due to the fact that most bus passengers are not wearing seat belts. City buses are not required to have seat belts and only six states require school buses to have them installed. Even in those states where school buses must have seat belts installed, drivers are not required to make sure their children passengers use the seat belts.
Here are the top three causes of serious bus-injuries.
- Most bus collisions include some form of projection. This occurs when the violent movement of the bus such as a sudden stop or crash causes passengers to be thrown against each other or structural components of the bus, and ejection. Passengers may be partially or completely thrown from the bus. Ejection events have a higher likelihood of resulting in serious injury or fatality, as thrown passengers are likely to end up exposed to hazardous traffic conditions.
- Buses run a higher risk of tipping over or having a rollover when faced with risky conditions. The bus’s high center of gravity makes skidding more likely – a sudden drop or even a steep curve may pull the bus over on its side.
- Least commonly, rollover bus accidents may involve the structural framework of the bus to deform or break. An injury where a passenger is struck by parts of the intruding bus frame is known as an intrusion injury, and it can result in severe or life-threatening injury.
While the larger size and slow moving nature of buses tends to make them less vulnerable to collision than smaller vehicles, when they do occur, their consequences grow in proportion. Some common conditions that result in a bus accident are similar to other automobile crashes, and include the following:
- Driver fatigue, distraction or negligence
- Heavily populated areas that limit ability for the driver to maneuver
- Road conditions and construction problems
- Functional and mechanical defects
- Uneven weight distribution in the vehicle
- Other drivers’ disregard of traffic laws (including making the required stop for a school bus with lights flashing)
Whether or not injury is caused by the reasons given above, injured bus passengers should be able to file a claim for recovery. Read on for more information on what to do if you’ve been involved in a bus accident.
Common Injuries from Bus Accidents
Injuries from bus accidents mirror those that occur in other traffic accidents, but have the possibility to be more severe because of the bus’s lack of restraint devices and the higher risk of rollovers and ejection from the vehicle.
Common bus accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Brain injuries
- Spine injuries
- Internal injuries
- Whiplash-type soft tissue injuries
What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Bus Accident
If you or someone you love have been the victim of a bus accident, you may have sustained serious injuries that require ongoing medical treatment. Bus accident injuries can bring a significant financial burden, and if the accident was not your fault, you deserve financial compensation from the at-fault party to cover the cost of your medical treatment.
However, different kinds of buses involve a variety of legal factors within the public and private sectors. Along with the standard common carrier laws that apply, certain buses (such as those belonging to the city or a school district) may be protected by very specific rules around how and when victims can file a personal injury claim.
The state of Connecticut, for example, requires injured parties to file a claim against a city or county within six months.
For reasons such as this, the first thing you should do after a bus accident (besides seeing a doctor about your injuries) is contact a bus accident attorney. Having an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer is key to meeting the required deadlines and navigate the special legal processes around filing your claim.
Contact a Bus Accident Attorney
The attorneys at The Flood Law Firm have extensive experience pursuing claims related to bus accidents. We can help make sure that you get the maximum financial compensation to which you are entitled after a bus accident. Call our team of bus accident attorneys for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your case.