Many adults and school children rely on buses to transport them on a daily basis. And, tragically, sometimes these buses can be involved in serious accidents.
While bus accidents can be particularly upsetting to the public given that so many people trust buses to regularly and safely transport them, these accidents can also be alarming in that they:
- Can cause far more damage than other motor vehicle accidents due to the size and weight of buses (even at low speeds, bus accidents can have devastating consequences)
- Tend to have significantly more injured victims (in the form of the bus’ passengers) than car versus car or other types of traffic accidents in which the involved vehicles carry far fewer passengers
Bus Accident Causes
Bus accidents can be caused by any combination of the following:
- Bus driver error, such as a driver’s failure to obey traffic laws, driving while intoxicated and/or driving without a proper (or valid) driver’s license
- Errors committed by other motorists, which can include other drivers on the road disobeying traffic laws, driving while intoxicated and/or driving while fatigued (studies show that driver fatigue can be just as dangerous as drunk driving)
- Busing company’s negligence, examples of which can include a busing company’s failure to properly maintain its vehicles and/or to conduct background checks on its drivers
- City or county’s negligence, which may include a city or county failing to properly and safely maintain its roadways and highways
- Vehicle equipment manufacturer’s negligence, which can result in bus equipment – like braking systems – malfunctioning because, for example, the manufacturer used cheap parts in the assembly process.
Should any of the above-mentioned negligence or recklessness play a role in causing a bus accident, injured parties may be eligible to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage and mental anguish by pursuing a bus accident lawsuit.
What Are the Most Common Bus Accident Injuries?
Injuries common in a bus accident include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Head and Neck Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
- Broken or Fractured Bones
- Internal Organ Damage
Tragically many bus accidents also result in fatal injury.
What Are the Financial Costs of a Bus Accident?
Costs that may be associated with a bus accident include immediate and emergency medical expenses, ongoing rehabilitation and therapy, wages lost while in recovery, diminished earning capacity due to new physical limitations, adaptive technology such as wheelchairs, home modifications made necessary by injury, special schooling, and assisted living.
Each bus accident injury is unique, impacting victims in sometimes starkly different ways. Working with an experienced attorney is one of the best ways to ensure all of your financial damages are taken into account when seeking fair and full compensation.
What Are the Different Types of Bus Accidents?
Different types of bus accidents include:
- Bus accidents with smaller vehicles such as cars, SUVs, or motorcycles
- Bus accidents with large commercial trucks
- Bus accidents with other buses
- Bus accidents with pedestrians or bicyclists
As with any type of accident involving motor vehicles, busses can be involved in a collision with inanimate objects, other motorists, or people using sidewalks and bike lanes. Many of these occur in school zones, impacting children, but charter bus crashes are also common. Vehicle defects may play a role, so too might driver inattention or inexperience.
Who Can Be Held Responsible For a Bus Accident?
Parties that may be held liable in a bus accident include the driver of the bus, the company he or she works for, bus parts manufacturers, mechanics and safety inspectors, local and state municipalities, and more. Because a bus accident can involve multiple parties, both victims and those responsible, it is often best to work with a lawyer who understands state and federal bus laws. An experienced attorney will be able to investigate your accident independent of insurance adjusters and emergency responders to identify all potentially liable parties – a factor that will prove essential when seeking maximum compensation.
How Is Compensation for a Bus Accident Injury Calculated?
Compensation for personal injury is based on both your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages, also known as special damages, are those that can be established based on your actual expenses. This includes hospital bills, lost wages, and other financial costs.
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, include those things that cannot be proven but are real nonetheless. This includes physical pain, emotional suffering, forced changes to lifestyle, and related issues.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Most insurance settlements will not include compensation for general damages. Many won’t even fully cover your special damages. Having an attorney on your side allows you to fight for every penny you are due.
It is important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible following a bus accident. This allows your lawyer to effectively investigate your accident, identify all liable parties, and begin to build a solid case on your behalf. Reaching out quickly also helps to ensure the statute of limitations does not pass; five years in Missouri, but only two years in Illinois.
Consult Brown & Brown Today
Injuries in bus accidents are often serious. Attorneys at Brown & Brown, LLP pursue the full compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation today.
Our law firm has two locations: St. Louis, Missouri, and Illinois. Dial the 3s for service in St. Louis: 314-333-3333 or 573-333-3333. To speak to an attorney in Southern Illinois, call us on the 8s: 618-888-8888.