Car accidents are horrific events, especially when they involve children. Bus accidents, whether it is a commercial bus or a school bus, may not be as common as car, pedestrian, or motorcycle accidents, but when they do happen, the results often involve a lot of damage, serious injury, or in the worst cases, death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bus accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for injuries and damages. Contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. to help you claim the compensation you deserve.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents are most often caused by a variety of situations that put the bus driver in a state where he/she loses control of the vehicle. In these cases, the bus can strike another person, vehicle, or barrier/obstacle, which causes damage to the bus and injury to the passengers inside. The following are the most common causes of bus accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Distracted Driver: often due to the bus driver addressing behavior within the bus
- Driving Under the Influence: whether that be the bus driver or the driver of another vehicle
- Aggressive Driving: from the bus driver or from other drivers on the road trying to get around busses
- Mechanical Failure
Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?
By law, bus drivers have a higher duty of care to the passengers within their vehicles and to those on the road. This is because they are providing a public service. The failure of a bus driver to adhere to traffic laws puts passengers and others on the road at risk. This constitutes negligence, and any resulting injury due to an accident from this behavior will hold them liable for damages.
Because bus drivers work for a company, the process to press a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages is different. Since the bus drivers represent a company, the company may be liable for damages or the behavior of the bus driver if the following were to be the cause of the accident:
- The driver wasn’t properly trained
- The company forced the driver to drive past their allotted time by the Hours of Service Laws
- The bus was not put through a proper inspection before driving
Liability may fall to the manufacturer or the bus if the accident was caused due to a mechanical malfunction or failure. This includes brakes going out, the bus’s acceleration not working properly, or faulty exit doors, trapping passengers inside during an emergency.
School Busses Vs. Cars
Bus accidents, thankfully, are not as common as car accidents. This is often due to the size of the bus and the experience of the bus driver. All commercial vehicle drivers are required to undergo extensive training to ensure that they have complete mastery of the vehicle. This includes commercial and school bus drivers. In fact, school bus accidents only accounted for 95 deaths in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration. Compared to car accidents, which killed 37,133 people in 2017, that is a huge difference. Busses are statistically safer for children to ride in, to and from school, than a vehicle.
What Should I Do If My Child or I Was Involved in a Bus Accident?
If you or your child was involved in a bus accident, it is extremely important that you follow these steps:
Report the accident and talk to witnesses. If you are able, make sure you contact emergency personnel to let them know about the accident and to get medical crews on the way to help those who are seriously injured. If you can, make sure you talk to any witnesses of the event as well and ensure that you get their name, number, address, and personal statement either down on paper or recorded.
Take pictures of the accident. If you are safely able to do so, make sure you take pictures of the accident. This can be used in court to help establish what happened in the accident, the state of the bus, any other vehicles involved, and the passengers.
Leave the scene in a safe manner and seek out medical attention. Even if you feel fine after an accident, you still could have sustained injuries. Adrenaline, due to the excitement and fear of the accident, can mask the pain from an injury. Ensure that you get checked over to help diagnose any possible injuries, get them treated, and documented.
Keep a record of all medical treatments, including therapy. When you are seeking medical compensation, it is important to keep track of all medical treatments that are a result of your injury from the accident. This ensures that you get the proper amount of compensation to help cover the expenses from this cost.
Seek Help from a Personal Injury Attorney
The dedicated attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. can help you claim the compensation you deserve for medical expenses and damages. Our team works with a no-win, no-fee contract, and if your case gets settled outside of court, our attorneys will automatically adjust their fees to match the settlement amount. Contact our team today for a free consultation.