the pros and cons of public transportation

Public transportation provides a valuable resource for thousands of people all across South Florida. During the 2015 fiscal year, the Palm Tran in Palm Beach County alone provided 10,773,132 one-way passenger trips. Needless to say, various transit systems across the state serve all kinds of communities. Buses benefit everyone from locals who make public transit part of their daily routine, to people on vacation taking advantage of affordable travel options. Sadly, bus accidents are also far too common on America’s streets and highways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately three hundred fatal bus crashes occur annually. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, 264 people died due to bus accidents in 2016. Furthermore, 35,000 people were injured in accidents involving buses that year. That is why having an attorney with experience in bus accident litigation can make all the difference for you or your loved ones.

most common causes of bus accidents

There are numerous causes of roadway accidents. Many of the same reasons for incidents with other vehicles can be present in an accident involving buses. Bus accidents may not be as common as car accidents, however, they do often cause major life disruption and a number of unexpected expenses. Typically, the most common reasons for bus accidents include:

  • Driver distraction
  • Driver negligence
  • Road conditions
  • Construction areas
  • Heavily populated areas without room for maneuvering
  • Vehicle handling problems and equipment defects
  • Weight distribution problems
  • Structure of the vehicle, including lack of passenger protection

More specifically, let us look at three primary causes of bus accidents. Each of these is particularly important to personal injury claims involving bus accidents.

Driver Negligence

Firstly, driver negligence is the most common reason for bus accidents. In such cases, the bus driver is not operating the vehicle in a reasonable and safe fashion. Examples of negligent conduct for individuals operating buses include:

  • Speeding
  • Making turns without signaling
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians
  • Driving while intoxicated

In such cases, not only is the driver considered negligent, but the bus company can also be held liable for damages.

Company Management

Most people may not realize that a bus company or government agency that employs a particular bus driver can also be the cause of an accident. For instance, the company or agency is responsible for the drivers they employ. Therefore, by failing to properly hire, train, supervise, or consistently monitor drivers, a company or agency can be legally liable for a bus accident due to driver negligence. In such cases, transit companies and government agencies are typically in a better position to offer compensation your injuries than an individual driver. 

In such cases, not only is the driver considered negligent, but the bus company can also be held liable for damages. An experienced lowercase personal injury attorney knows how to assess your claim and determine if these entities can be held responsible.

Faulty Equipment

Faulty equipment is also a very common cause for bus accidents. That is why it is so important for public transit providers to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles. Faulty equipment can include:

  • Broken tail light
  • Unstable wheels or tires
  • Malfunctioning steering wheel

These equipment issues can quickly create hazardous road conditions that cause serious crashes. Furthermore, the driver and their employer can still be held accountable for these accidents. Additionally, if the origin of an incident is due to a malfunctioning part, the maker or distributor of the equipment can also be held liable for damages.

who is liable for bus accidents?

As previously mentioned, the specific circumstances of each accident will determine who is liable for your injuries. This is just one element that makes claims involving bus accidents so complex. In most cases, you're not just dealing with the bus driver. In fact, multiples responsible parties are often at fault, including:

  • Individual bus driver
  • Bus management company
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Other negligent drivers
  • Government entities

The crash may be due to the driver of another car or truck on the road. If you're injured as a passenger on the bus, you can still file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Conversely, if the bus driver is at fault, the law is more elaborate. Many buses belong to government entities, like school districts and public transportation bureaus. Moreover, filing a personal injury claim with a government body can be a more intricate process.

With government, procedures vary by state. Sometimes even jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction there are different requirements for filing a claim. Typically, the process begins with a "notice of claim" or similar paperwork with the government entity that is potentially liable. Usually, there is a very short period of time to file your documentation.

the cost of serious/permanent injury

Most people don’t realize how often these accidents can become extremely serious. People in bus accidents routinely suffer severe injuries. This is due to the size and weight of such vehicles, not to mention the fact that many passengers do not wear seatbelts. Even worse, car accidents involving buses often prove to be fatal. Even in cases of non-lethal bus accidents, the cost of property damage, personal injury and even disability is often high. Injuries resulting from bus accidents can be anything from whiplash to traumatic brain injury. It is important in any case to seek immediate medical attention to ensure you have documentation of any complications. In many cases involving bus accidents, you can pursue damages that include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering

your NEXT steps after a bus accident

Bus accidents are quite often very intense and distressing experiences. For those who are fortunate enough to survive such incidents without serious injury, these crashes can still be traumatizing. In the aftermath of this kind of event, it is hard for anyone to know how to protect your rights any damages you may suffer. Luckily, lowercase has developed a simple system to help you remember the right steps to protect yourself.

First, if possible, move yourself or your vehicle to safety. It is important to do what you can to avoid further harm. Then, follow these NEXT steps:

lowercase law: NEXT steps graphic

why you need a lowercase lawyer

Therefore, personal injury lawsuits involving bus accidents can mean taking on the bus company, insurance companies, and even the government. And in each case, there are usually several lawyers working on behalf of each party to ensure they pay as little as possible. Thus, bus accidents can be complex to litigate. Most victims of bus accidents do not even know where to begin when seeking compensation.

That is why a lowercase accident attorney can be a critical resource of pursuing your claim. We understand the intricate process of negotiating your claim with not just the insurance companies, but also the corporate or government entities relating to your case. Our staff is ready to take immediate action on your behalf so that you can focus on getting better. We believe it is your job to take care of yourself and your loved ones, and it is our job to make sure your rights are protected.

call us today

A lowercase personal injury lawyer will provide you with legal guidance and compassionate support so that you can receive the compensation you are entitled to. Call us today at 833-LOW-FEE5 (833-569-3335).

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