For many people, bus travel is a convenient and economical way to get to work or travel to another destination. More than 750 million passengers take commercial buses every year in the United States. The motorcoach industry has over 35,000 vehicles on the road, including tour, sightseeing, charter, shuttle and commuter services. While buses are a safe option for travel, accidents can lead to severe injuries and, in some cases, death.
Driver error is one of the primary factors in about 80 percent of crashes. If you have been injured due to negligence, you may not know the next steps. The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer can guide you through each step and help you get compensation for your injuries from those responsible for the bus accident.
What To Do After a Bus Accident?
When you have been involved in a bus accident, make sure to call law enforcement immediately. The responding agency will create a report of the incident. You should obtain the officer’s name and contact information so that you can get a copy of the agency’s report. You will want to obtain the information of everyone involved, including the bus driver’s name, passengers, and other witnesses. Don’t forget to take a few pictures of the accident scene. It will be easier to prove your claim if you have proof to back up your case. Photographic evidence can document physical injuries to you and others, as well as the position of the bus, any other vehicles involved, speed limit or other road signs, and other important details. Someone may ask you to sign documents, but you should refuse until you have talked to a bus accident lawyer and until you have seen a doctor. It is important to seek medical attention, as injuries may not always be immediately obvious to you, the symptoms of certain injuries might not show for hours or days. If you don’t have documented evidence of your injuries, it may weaken the strength of your injury claim.
Responsible Parties in Bus Accidents
If you want to obtain compensation for your case, then you will need to know which parties are responsible for the accident. In some cases, there may be several parties involved in a lawsuit. The most common parties include:
Bus drivers: The drivers are responsible for your safety while they are behind the wheel. For some accidents, the driver was poorly trained, driving while under the influence, speeding or driving while distracted.
Bus companies: Companies are obligated to properly maintain their fleet of vehicles. They are also required to hire drivers who are qualified to operate these vehicles and comply with all government regulations. If the bus company fails to comply, then they may be held liable due to their negligence.
Other motorists: With multiple vehicles in a crash, the other drivers who acted negligently can be held partially or entirely responsible for the accident.
Bus Accident Statistics
Bus accidents are far less common than car accidents; however, the injuries suffered by people involved in bus accidents can be far more devastating. In the United States, there are 0.14 fatalities per billion miles traveled by buses. The rate in cars is 11.3 fatalities per billion miles on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), here are some other notable statistics:
In 2016, there were 227 buses involved in fatal accidents. This number includes school buses, tour buses and municipal buses. It was a 14 percent decrease from the previous year.
From 2005 to 2009, the roads saw the lowest number of bus accidents. Unfortunately, since 2009, the number of fatal bus accidents has doubled.
In 2014, there were 11,000 buses involved in crashes with injuries. These injured parties included the driver, passengers or other third parties. FMCSA estimates that only 2 percent of all accidents are fatal. Twenty-five percent of fatal injuries were to non-motorists.
As you can tell, these accidents are not common in the United States. However, injuries, loss of life, property damage and suffering can be devastating for the affected parties. A bus accident law firm will be able to help you fight for any compensation you may be owed and hold any negligent parties at fault for your injuries.
How Can a Bus Accident Attorney Help Me?
Filing a legal claim can be a complicated process. When you have been injured, you don’t want to take on the bus company and other parties by yourself. An attorney may be able to help you find those responsible for the accident and hold them liable for your damages. An attorney will protect your rights throughout the entire process. A bus accident lawyer will help you seek any compensation that you may be due for your injuries.
If you want to schedule a consultation with a bus accident attorney, make sure to fill out the contact form or call our toll-free number (800) 535-1797.
Common Injuries Sustained by Bus Accident Victims
Injuries in a bus accident can range from back and muscle pain to severe lifelong injuries such as paralysis or amputated limbs. Buses have a higher risk of rollovers, which can lead to catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common bus accident injuries include:
- Back sprains
- Broken, fractured or dislocated bones
- Neck sprains
- Spinal cord trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
What Are the Leading Causes of Bus Accidents?
The leading causes of bus accidents are similar to other vehicle accidents. Alcohol, distracted driving, speeding and inexperienced drivers top the list of reasons why a bus accident may occur. Texting while driving is becoming a big problem, especially with bus drivers. Those few seconds of distraction can lead to crossing into another lane and the driver over-correcting the bus. While that is dangerous enough with a smaller vehicle, any sudden movement with a bus can lead to a serious crash. There are many other leading causes of bus accidents, and they include:
- Driver negligence or distraction
- Poor road conditions
- Vehicle defect and equipment failure
- Weight distribution issues affecting the stability
Damages from a Bus Accident
With any personal injury case, you may recover three primary types of damages. Whether your case is able to be settled without a pursuing a formal lawsuit or goes to trial, you may collect these damages from the responsible parties in the accident. These damages include:
Economic damages: These damages are the total loss of the plaintiff that can be “strictly quantified.” They often include medical expenses, lost wages, damaged property and other factors that can be quantified economically.
Noneconomic damages: This type of damage is harder to quantify but just as important. Noneconomic injuries can include pain and suffering, stress, physical impairment, disfigurement, inconvenience and other damages.
Punitive damages: These damages are awarded to a plaintiff when the accident was caused by gross negligence. This award is a way to punish the defendant for wrongdoing in the case, especially for egregious offenses.
The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer believe that people who are injured because of the negligent actions of others deserve to be fully compensated for their losses. We are strong advocates for the rights of our clients and work hard to recover maximum compensation for each one. To learn more about how we might help you and about your potential claim, contact Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer today for a free case evaluation by filling out our online contact form or calling us at 800.535.1797.
If you or a loved one has been critically injured do to someone else’s negligence, please click here to fill out the contact form, or call 1-800-535-1797 and someone from our team will be ready to help.
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