When you step onto a city bus or put your child onto a school bus, you entrust the bus driver, the bus company and a host of others with safety and security. Passengers rely on bus companies and operators every day, and one simple mistake could cost the lives of everyone on board. Bus accident tragedies change the lives of families every year. Despite their overall safety features, school buses, intercity buses and public rail systems are not immune to accidents. Both vehicle occupants and pedestrians can fall victim to a collision.
If you are injured on a public transportation carrier, such as a bus, light-rail, subway, or school bus, you could be entitled to seek justice for your pain and suffering. Public transportation and national bus companies have large insurance and legal defense teams ready to protect the monetary interest of their companies. They will most likely offer a low-ball settlement. Hiring a personal injury attorney can make all the difference in getting the compensation you deserve.
When a bus accident occurs, the consequences can be significant, both emotionally and financially, not only for the passengers on board but also for their dependents and loved ones. Our legal system has in place a mechanism to ensure that the costs of bus crashes are borne by those at fault, not by the innocent passengers and their families. An injury that occurs while an individual is using bus transportation may entitle that person and/or his dependents and family members to compensation. An effective personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have a valid claim for your injuries, and, if so, how to maximize your recovery. Call Now for Free Advice! San Diego Injury Law Center (619) 338-8230.
What to Do When an Accident Happens
First, make sure that you and any of your loved ones receive prompt medical attention. Because buses are commercial carriers, their personnel will generally call for medical help for any passengers who might need it. Insist on a full medical evaluation of injuries.
Contact a reputable attorney with expertise in handling bus accident cases. There are many regulations that are specific to common carriers, such as bus companies and government transit lines, and experienced bus accident attorneys will be able to determine how they apply to your case. Also, statutes of limitations restrict the amount of time you have to file a claim after a crash, particularly if a government entity is involved. Government entities usually have shorter terms within which to file a bus accident claim. You should only entrust your case to a lawyer who has experience and proven results in similar cases, to ensure that your case is handled competently and that the filing deadlines in your case are protected.
What Qualifies as a Bus for Purposes of a Bus Accident?
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards define a bus as any motorized vehicle capable of carrying more than 10 passengers. The category includes school buses, large vans used for public transport, church buses, municipal transit buses, many airport shuttles, tour buses, trolleys, and interstate carriers, such as Greyhound buses. Most of these are considered common carriers under the law, and are therefore subject to state and federal licensing requirements and other regulations, but it is state law that will determine if bus companies and others are liable for compensating a passenger for injuries sustained in a crash.
Greyhound and Tour Bus Accidents
Greyhound buses, tour buses, and other commercial providers carry thousands of passengers every day, often on long-haul interstate trips. Accidents and crashes occur for many reasons, including driver fatigue, careless driving, negligence on the part of other drivers, dangerous road conditions, poor mechanical maintenance and defectively designed or manufactured parts.
Many types of buses do not have lap or shoulder belts to protect occupants from being thrown around the interior of the bus or ejected in the event of a crash. While the driver’s seats in these vehicles must by law have personal restraint systems, the passengers may not be so fortunate, because the federal government does not require passenger seat belts. The government’s reasoning is that installing them would cost the vehicle manufacturers and bus companies money that, so far, the government believes they are not compelled to spend.
Because of the lack of a mandate to install seat restraints, when a tour bus or a Greyhound bus crashes, riders are at a greater risk of being seriously injured or killed than would be the case if seat restraints were required. Although federal law does not require these types of vehicles to have seat belts for passengers, it is important for your attorney to know that some courts across the nation have nevertheless allowed suits to proceed against those responsible for deciding not to install them.