Are you a passenger who was injured in a bus accident? Here, we discuss the causes of these wrecks and the complexities in negotiating a settlement of a claim.

What Are the Common Causes of Bus Accidents?

Many people use buses on a daily basis to commute to work, send their children to school, take a trip, or go on a tour. While this can often be necessary or more convenient than driving one’s own car, it can also be dangerous if a bus is involved in an accident. Victims who suffer injuries need the assistance of an experienced bus accident attorney to fight for their right to compensation due to the many complexities in negotiating a settlement with the negligent parties’ insurance companies.

Why Bus Accidents Occur

Bus accidents can be even more devastating when the bus involved is a school bus and the victims are children. These young accident victims can suffer even more devastating injuries or death due to the lack of seat belts on many school buses. Many other buses do not have seat belts, and some buses allow riders to stand.

Bus accidents are caused by a variety of reasons and sometimes are the result of a combination of factors, making it more challenging to identify the exact cause and liable parties. Common reasons these wrecks occur include:

  • Driver fatigue. When bus drivers become fatigued, the dangers of them causing a wreck can be similar to driving while drunk. Their reaction time, decision making, and concentration are impaired. Drivers can become fatigued due to long work hours, lack of sleep, or medical conditions that interfere with their sleep. If their employer required a bus driver to driver longer shifts, the employer could face liability as well, especially if the trucker drove more hours than permitted under law. Like truck drivers, bus drivers are required to follow federal regulations regarding the number of hours they can drive and when they must take a break.
  • Traffic violations.  If a bus driver violates traffic laws by speeding, improperly changing lanes, not yielding the right of way, and other actions, a preventable accident can be the result. In some cases, negligent drivers speed or engage in other unsafe practices because of the need to stay on a strict schedule.
  • Disruptive passengers. Sometimes passengers can distract the bus driver by provoking others, failing to follow rules, being excessively loud, and engaging in other disruptive behaviors. A bus driver could become distracted by trying to resolve the problem while he continues to drive or fail to notify authorities so that the passenger could be removed.
  • Intoxication. It is never safe to drive when intoxicated by drugs or alcohol and even more deadly when driving a bus. However, it is not only alcohol or illegal drugs that can cause impairment that leads to a wreck. Use of some over-the-counter or prescription medications could lead to dizziness, drowsiness, or other impairments that make driving a bus unsafe.
  • Bus maintenance. Bus companies are required to maintain their buses in a safe condition and make repairs when necessary. They also should not allow unsafe buses on the road. When they fail to fulfill these duties, a bus driver could lose control of his bus and cause an accident if his steering or brakes fail or another mechanical failure occurs.
  • Driver error. Other driver errors, such as engaging in distracted driving, tailgating a vehicle, making too wide a turn, can also lead to the driver causing a wreck.

Why Holding the Negligent Party Liable May Be Complicated

Often the bus company who owns the bus is a municipality, school district, or transit authority. They may have certain immunities under the law from being sued, and different rules regarding notifying them of a claim and the time period for filing a lawsuit may apply. In addition, these cases can also involve multiple at-fault parties, and many inured passengers, and violations of federal or state regulations. For these reasons, negotiating a settlement of a bus accident claim could be much more complicated than a car accident claim.

If you were injured in a bus accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To learn how our experienced bus accident attorneys can help you negotiate a settlement for what you deserve, call our office to schedule a free case evaluation.