Passenger Bus Accidents

Passenger Bus Accidents

Traveling by bus can be an economical and efficient way to get around your city, commute to work, get to school, or travel cross country. But when you’ve been injured in a bus accident and need help, do you know where to turn?

At Trucking Injury Law Group, we are proud to offer every accident victim a free consultation to learn about their legal options, their right to financial recovery, and what steps to take when dealing with bus companies and their insurers.

Our passenger bus accident lawyers are also able to take many cases on a contingency fee basis—this means you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case for you. That’s because our law group is motivated by doing everything in our power to make our roads safer for everyone.

Types of Bus Accident Claims We Handle

passenger bus accidents

Trucking Injury Law Group is a multi-state law group made up of experienced bus accident attorneys brought together by one unifying goal—to advocate for truck and bus accident victims when no one else will.

We have what it takes to hold public and private bus companies responsible when passengers are needlessly injured. Our knowledge extends to all types of passenger buses, including:

  • Commuter buses
  • Charter buses
  • Transit buses
  • Tour buses
  • Intercity buses
  • Suburban buses
  • Coach buses (including single and double-decker buses)
  • Shuttle buses
  • Articulated buses
  • Minibuses
  • Midibuses
  • School buses
  • Trolley buses
  • Party buses

The Responsibilities of a Bus Driver

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides safety oversight and holds regulatory authority over commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in the United States. A portion of the FMCSA’s regulations are dedicated to buses designed to transport 16 or more passengers or that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of at least 26,001 pounds.

Current rules and regulations require bus drivers to obtain a Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL).

In addition to having a CDL and any necessary endorsements, bus drivers are also typically juggling a variety of responsibilities, tasks, and obligations while actively behind the wheel. From checking fares and monitoring passengers to navigating narrow roads or highspeed interstates, bus passengers may never fully realize just how divided their driver’s attention may be.

Unfortunately, driver distraction or inattention is just one of many common causes of bus accidents.

Are Passenger Bus Accidents Common? Here’s What the Data Says

In 2019, 3,601,403 people used buses as their primary mode of transportation to work, with women being more likely than men to take the bus for commuting purposes. Many more people ride buses for long-distance travel, tours, running errands, traveling to and from school, visiting friends, and dozens of other reasons.

To better understand whether we can consider bus accidents common, let’s take a closer look at data for bus-involved wrecks in the U.S.:

  • Annually, there are approximately 63,000 bus crashes.
  • Of these there are around 14,000 bus accidents involving at least one non-fatal injury.
  • Another 325 crashes involving buses cause people to lose their lives every year.

Even one injury or death is one too many. If the actions of a bus company or negligent bus driver caused your injury, speak with an experienced bus accident attorney today to learn about your legal right to fair compensation.

If you’ve lost a loved one, Trucking Injury Law Group extends our deepest sympathies to you and your family. We understand that the situation you’re going through right now may be one of the most difficult you’ve ever encountered, and you deserve to feel supported and understood by the bus accident lawyers you work with when filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Is Traveling by Bus Safer Than Traveling by Car?

Every driver in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington is required to maintain a non-commercial Class D driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. A professional driver who works for a public or private bus company must have a Class B CDL, which is supposed to exemplify their experience, knowledge, and skill behind the wheel of large passenger buses.

So is traveling in a vehicle with a professional driver safer than traveling in a standard passenger vehicle? Maybe not.

Although bus accidents only make up .6% of all motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., this only tells part of the story. To fully understand the impact of collisions involving passenger buses, we have to look at the number of accidents per million miles driven.

Car accidents occur at a rate of 3.21 crashes per million miles driven. Bus accidents come in close after that, with 3.04 crashes per million miles driven. Whether traveling by chartered bus or in a privately-owned car, your risk of being in an accident involving another motor vehicle is far from negligible.

The Most Common Causes of Bus Crashes

Bus accident cases are notoriously complex, involving multiple layers of liability. There is often more than one at-fault party, meaning more than one insurance company to deal with.

When you come to us with your bus accident claim, our attorneys will perform a comprehensive investigation into what happened, including identifying what caused the crash. While every crash is different, we are familiar with all of the most common causes of bus accidents, including the following:

Driver Errors

Bus drivers are hired to safely transport passengers from one destination to another. These drivers have an obligation and a duty of care to protect their passengers by following the speed limit, paying attention to the road, and minimizing all possible distractions.

Any time that a bus operator fails to uphold their duty of care and acts in a way that is dangerous, reckless, or negligent, there is the possibility for a commuter, charter, tour, shuttle, or school bus accident to occur.

Examples of bus driver errors that may lead to an accident include:

  • Driving while tired or fatigued (drowsy driving)
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to control or disembark unruly passengers

If an accident occurred because a negligent driver failed to uphold their duty of care to their passengers and other drivers on the road, the injury victims involved in the crash can take legal action to recover maximum compensation for their lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more.

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Employer or Company Negligence

Every bus company is responsible for hiring qualified drivers, providing sufficient and ongoing training, and maintaining their fleet of vehicles so that they are safe and roadworthy.

Your bus accident lawyer may choose to file an injury claim against a bus company and its insurance carrier if the business failed to:

  • Hire CDL-qualified drivers
  • Adequately look into an applicant’s driving history
  • Create a reasonable driving schedule with respect to breaks and downtime
  • Employ enough drivers to cover all necessary routes
  • Provide drivers with all resources needed to perform their jobs safely
  • Schedule regular maintenance on fleet vehicles
  • Send broken or damaged buses for repair

Requesting, reviewing, and analyzing bus company records is a complicated process that can be confusing for many people, especially those who have recently suffered an injury or are grieving a wrongful death.

We want to stress that you are not alone. A bus accident lawyer from our law group is prepared to guide you through collecting and evaluating all evidence needed for your claim to proceed.

Damaged or Improperly Maintained Auto Parts

Buses are only as safe as the equipment and auto parts they are comprised of. Every piece of a bus wears down over time and with regular use. To prevent a bus wreck that may result in serious or severe injuries, every company that operates a fleet of passenger buses must inspect and perform regular maintenance on key pieces of hardware, including:

  • Windshield blades and wipers
  • Brake pads
  • Brake rotors
  • Tires
  • Spark plugs
  • Batteries
  • Suspension systems
  • Fuses
  • Fuel pumps
  • Water pumps

The company responsible for maintenance is also responsible for ensuring that a bus has everything it needs to run smoothly and safely, including sufficient levels of coolant and oil, the correct tire tread depth and pressure, functioning headlights, and more.

An experienced bus accident lawyer will know to look at maintenance records to determine whether inadequate vehicle care could have played a role in an accident. When necessary, our legal team also looks into whether a bus manufacturer designed or produced defective or dangerous vehicle components that may have also been a factor in a collision.

Passenger Bus Safety

Trucking Injury Law Group wants everyone to be safe when traveling by motor vehicle. If you regularly take the bus, be sure to follow some of our top passenger bus safety tips:

  • Always wear a seat belt when available (not every bus is equipped with safety belts).
  • When there is standing room only, hold firmly onto available standees, straphangers, or poles.
  • Identify all exits before the bus starts moving, including those located at the front, middle, and rear of the vehicle.
  • When traveling with small children, have them sit in your lap, hold them tightly, or carry them in a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved baby carrier.
  • Avoid eating or drinking while the bus is in motion, especially hot beverages or foods.

You can do everything right and still suffer serious injuries because of the negligence of a bus driver or company. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident and are now dealing with ongoing issues related to the crash, we want to help.

A bus accident lawyer from Trucking Injury Law Group is standing by to speak with you. There’s never a cost to sit down for an initial consultation.

The Types of Injuries That Can Occur in a Bus Crash

Common bus accident injuries can range in severity from mild to catastrophic. However, as injury lawyers, we have seen time and time again how even so-called “minor” injuries can cause lasting harm to the clients we work with.

A typical bus accident case might involve seeking compensation for some of the following types of severe injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Chest and abdomen injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Lacerations

Any time that a serious injury occurs in a bus crash, there is the potential for continued and ongoing harm.

Bus accident victims often experience lasting pain and suffering, missed paychecks if they can’t work, and the financial burden of past, current, and future medical expenses. As injury lawyers, we know that this burden isn’t yours to carry alone.

Who Pays for the Medical Bills of an Injured Passenger?

Although they are far from the only damage for which an accident victim can seek recovery, medical bills often make up one of the biggest sources of financial stress after a crash.

So who pays for these medical bills? You weren’t driving the bus, and you certainly weren’t at fault.

In any collision involving a passenger bus, there may be multiple liable parties. Bus companies, bus drivers, passenger vehicle drivers, auto part manufacturers, and even other bus passengers can be found to be at fault for an accident. Keep in mind that whatever person or entity is determined to be liable for your accident-related damages is not necessarily who will be paying your compensation.

Instead, you and your team of bus accident lawyers will be filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, which is responsible for paying your settlement. When a negotiated settlement isn’t possible, we aren’t afraid to elevate a motor vehicle accident claim to court.

Take These Steps After a Bus Crash

If you have been involved in a bus accident, the situation can be disorienting and distressing. However, there are steps to take to make sure you get help for your injuries and protect your legal rights, including:

  • Check for injuries to yourself and others: Make sure to call 911 to get medical attention if anyone is hurt.
  • Exchange critical information with the bus driver: Obtain their name, contact information, insurance policy numbers, and vehicle registration numbers. Also, don’t forget to collect the name of their employer and company.
  • Take photos: Those photographs should be of the vehicle, accident scene, and injuries as they’ll come in handy later in your case.
  • Report the incident: This will trigger local law enforcement to create an official police report that can be useful for insurance purposes and potential legal proceedings. This documentation gives you an impartial account of the accident.
  • Find legal representation: Bus crashes are different, and they often require negotiating with several insurance companies and opposing counsel. A passenger bus accident lawyer can guide you through the legal process so you can receive fair compensation for injuries and other losses.

As for the latter point, while you may not believe that you need professional legal help, seeking this experienced advice could make a difference during this challenging time.

A Passenger Bus Accident Lawyer Is Here for You

Bus accidents are physically, emotionally, and financially traumatizing events. Knowing what steps to take, what not to say to the insurance company, and working within the legal time limit afforded to accident victims are just a few challenges that our clients face.

But they never face them alone.

When you contact Trucking Injury Law Group for a free consultation, you’ll be matched with a passenger bus accident lawyer who has the knowledge, skill, dedication, and tenacity needed to stand up to the big bus companies and their insurers.

We’re here for you, but we can’t get started on your case until you contact us. To schedule your first meeting, call or contact us online today.