Across the United States, thousands of buses are involved in accidents each year. An assortment of buses travel the roadways, including intercity buses, tour buses, long distance distances, school buses, and more.
Because buses are designed to carry loads of passengers, these vehicles are built for safety. The vast majority of bus rides end with the rider getting off safely at their destination.
However, bus accidents, when they do occur, can be catastrophic. Bus accidents can involve dozens of people, multiple vehicles, and put those outside the bus at risk, including exiting passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others.
If you were injured in a bus accident that was caused by another vehicle, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance, which is similar to the process of a general car accident claim. However, your legal options for a bus accident lawsuit depend on the circumstances of the crash and the type of bus involved.
Types Of Bus Accidents
If you were injured in a bus accident and want to file a personal injury claim, the legal process you take may differ depending on who owns the bus involved in the accident.
City/Regional Bus Accidents
Intercity and regional public buses carry millions of people each day. These buses may be operated by city and state agencies, which abide by certain laws that dictate how legal claims are filed. City or regional buses may also be operated by private companies, which may affect the course of the injury claim.
School Bus Accidents
In nearly every way, school buses are designed to promote safety and prevent crashes involving students. Lawsuits involving school bus accidents may take a similar approach to lawsuits involving public city buses. If the school bus is owned by a public school district, then the victim will file a claim against a public entity.
Long-Distance (Greyhound) Bus Accidents
Many long-distance buses are owned and operated by private companies, including Greyhound. Because these companies are in the business of transporting people, they’re considered common carriers under the law. This means they are legally responsible for executing a duty of care that protects the safety of their riders.
For bus accidents involving private carriers like Greyhound, a personal injury lawsuit entitles the victim to seek compensation for their injuries.
Tour Bus Accidents
Like Greyhound buses, tour buses are also owned and operated by private companies and are considered common carriers. However, liability can be more complicated in these cases.
Multiple parties could be held liable for negligence if they hold any of the blame regarding the accident, including:
- the company that contracted with the tour bus
- the individual driver
- the tour bus company
- the tour company (if different from bus company)
- business owners at different stops or destinations on the tour
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Like any vehicle accident, a host of injuries can occur after a bus accident.
Common bus accident injuries include:
- cuts and scrapes
- spinal cord injuries
- broken bones
- traumatic brain injuries (concussion)
- severed limbs
- carbon monoxide poisoning
- other fatal injuries
Common Causes Of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents can happen at any time and for a wide variety of reasons. Many bus accidents are the result of collisions to stationary objects or other vehicles on the road.
Consider some common causes of bus accidents:
- driver distraction/error
- driver fatigue
- aggressive driving/speeding
- problems with passengers
- road conditions or visibility issues
- alcohol or drug use
- equipment failure
- maneuvering difficulties in urban locations
Common Carrier Laws And Bus Accidents
Buses are an essential mode of public transit that carries people to work, school, shopping trips, medical visits, and more. As defined by the law, any person or business that transports passengers in exchange for payment is a common carrier.
Common carrier laws are regulated by both state and federal governments. These laws are in place to hold carriers to a high standard of passenger safety.
Due to these laws, common carriers take several necessary actions to ensure the safety of their passengers, including:
- safe entryways and exits for passengers
- security that protects the health and safety of passengers
- screening, hiring, and training qualified drivers
- routine bus maintenance
- correcting or monitoring design flaws on the bus
Negligence In Common Carrier Bus Accidents
If a bus company violates their duty of care for keeping passengers safe from injury, negligence may have occurred. Negligence means the bus driver or company acted in a careless or unreasonable manner that failed to keep bus riders safe.
Examples of negligence in bus accidents include:
- unqualified or improperly trained bus drivers
- bus driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- bus driver was overworked, fatigued, or operating without enough sleep
- bus equipment was poorly maintained
- bus was overloaded
What Happens When The Government Owns The Bus?
Intercity and regional buses, as well as school buses operated by public districts, may be owned and operated by local government entities. Although some government agencies are protected from lawsuits, some special rules apply that make it possible to sue governments in the case of an accident.
Many states across the country adopt their own version of this federal act. Since filing this type of claim is different from a normal personal injury lawsuit, it’s essential to consult with a lawyer if you were involved in a public bus accident.
Filing A Notice Of Intent
Specific state and local municipality laws dictate the process for filing a personal injury claim against a public transportation or government-owned entity. Some states require you to file a “notice of a claim” put forth by the public agency responsible for the accident.
For many of these notices, you’ll likely need to submit the following:
- your name and address
- the nature of your losses, including your injuries and medical expenses
- a description of the bus accident, including the time, place, and circumstances of the accident
- a statement of your intent to collect compensation for injuries that were caused by someone at the agency (the bus driver, for example)
Statute Of Limitations May Apply
Like filing a notice of intent claim, several states may also have specific statute of limitations laws that give you a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Many general personal injury claims across the country have statutes of limitations that range from one to five years.
However, the rules for filing claims against a government organization may be different. For example, some statutes of limitations for public transport injury claims may be as little as 30 to 60 days after the accident. To make sure you file a claim on time, consult with a lawyer immediately.
What To Do After A Bus Accident To Help Your Injury Claim
To win a bus accident lawsuit, your lawyer may need to prove that the bus driver’s or transportation company’s negligence caused your injuries.
After the accident, it’s crucial to collect as much evidence as possible.
Evidence that could help your lawyer prove negligence in a bus accident lawsuit includes:
- photos that document your injuries in the immediate aftermath of the accident
- witness statements or testimonies
- incident reports or police reports
- documentation of the date, time, and weather conditions during the accident
- your personal account of the accident and the extent of your injuries
- medical records and bills
- receipts or documents that show out-of-pocket expenses
- letter from employer about lost wages or incapacity to work
Bus Accident Lawsuit Damages
If you were injured in a bus accident, your lawyer is likely to seek compensation from the liable party to help you recover.
Like other personal injury lawsuits, bus accident damages are likely to include compensation for:
- economic or monetary damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.)
- non-economic damages (general pain and suffering)
- punitive damages (punishes the defendant(s) for gross negligence)
Hiring A Bus Accident Lawyer
Bus accident claims can be complicated if they involve a government agency. Bus accident lawsuits may also involve multiple injured parties trying to collect damages from the same organization.
A personal injury lawyer can help your bus accident lawsuit by:
- dealing with insurance companies if applicable
- taking the appropriate steps for filing a claim with government agencies
- negotiating a fair settlement for your injuries
- guiding you through the legal processes in your state
Bus Accidents Lawyers Serving The U.S.
Florin|Roebig is a top-rated multi-state law firm that represents victims of bus accidents. Our team of lawyers has experience in multiple states and are experts in personal injury law.
We will hold the responsible private carriers or government agencies liable to make sure you’re compensated for injuries that should have been avoided.
At Florin|Roebig, our team of qualified and experienced bus accident lawyers includes:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C.
Contact Florin|Roebig To File A Bus Accident Claim Today
To make sure you go through the right processes to collect the maximum amount of damages for your bus injury claim, it’s crucial to hire a trained and qualified lawyer. At Florin|Roebig, we offer free case evaluations to help you get started with your case.
To begin your free case evaluation, or to learn more about bus injury claims, contact the offices of Florin|Roebig today.