Buses are everywhere. From public transportation and airport shuttles, to cross-country carriers and luxury motorcoaches, buses offer an alternative to personal vehicles. Bus transportation is often hailed as safe, economical, and good for the environment.
However, these large, powerful vehicles can also pose a dangerous hazard. Due to their size, weight, and number of passengers, bus accidents often result in serious injuries. Also, since many older buses do not have seat belts, passengers are at higher risk of injury in the event of an accident.
What Causes A Bus Accident?
Several factors can go into the causes of a bus accident. Any one of these factors can turn a routine bus ride into a horrific tragedy. Some of these causes can include:
Driver fatigue. Some bus drivers, especially those who drive on cross-country trips, often drive for long hours with little rest. Driver fatigue can reduce reaction times, slow down reflexes, and cause lapses in attentiveness. Any one of these can result in a serious accident.
Distracted driving. While today’s technology allows us to send and receive messages at any time from anywhere, the devices that handle those messages can also be a distraction while driving. Bus drivers who pay more attention to their devices than they do on the road can cause major injuries.
Poor bus maintenance. Buses often travel hundreds of miles every day. These miles can place a strain on each part of the bus, from steering to braking to handling. When any of these critical systems fail, the bus can pose a major hazard to any other vehicle on the road.
Aggressive driving. Bus drivers need to adhere to a schedule. If they fall behind, they risk angering their passengers and endangering their job security. Drivers may attempt to make up for lost time by speeding, unsafe lane changes, or other types of aggressive driving. These unsafe maneuvers place both the bus and other vehicles in danger.
Poor driving conditions. Inclement weather, low visibility, and poorly maintained roads pose hazards for every driver. For bus drivers, the danger is magnified due to the size of the bus and the number of passengers on board. Drivers who fail to compensate for these conditions can place everyone involved at risk.
Inexperienced drivers. Driving a large bus in a safe and reliable manner requires a great deal of skill and experience. Drivers who do not receive adequate training, or who lack the right amount of experience, can place themselves and the their passengers in dangerous situations without even being aware of what they’re doing.
What Is A Rollover Accident?
A rollover accident occurs when a bus tips over on its side. The buses momentum can cause it to slide on its side, or cause it to roll onto its roof and spin like a top. Their height and their high center of gravity, buses are more vulnerable to rollover accidents than most vehicles. A bump in the road, a gust of wind, or a tap on the brakes can cause a rollover accident.
Many bus passengers experience the most severe injuries in rollover accidents due to the size of the bus and the speed at which it travels. Passengers are hurled throughout the interior of the bus, and some are ejected through the windows, often leading to severe or fatal injuries. The impact may also be so strong that the frame of the bus sustains damage and collapses onto the passengers, which can also cause traumatic injuries.
What Injuries Happen In Bus Accidents?
Injuries from bus accidents are often more severe than those that occur in accidents involving passenger cars. The size, weight, and power of these vehicles frequently magnifies the scope of injuries several times over. Some of the injuries that can occur in a bus accident include:
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck and spinal cord damage
- Facial injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- … and much more.
Who Is To Blame For Bus Accidents?
The responsibility for a bus accident can often be attributed to several sources. Each party must be held accountable for their parts in a serious bus accident. These parties can include:
Bus drivers. Drivers whose actions or inactions contributed to the accident must be held responsible for their role in the accident.
Bus line management. Whether the entity that services the bus line is a private company or a public agency, these groups have a responsibility to ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained and that their drivers are adequately trained.
Bus manufacturers. If it can be proven that the manufacturer sold buses that had defective parts, and that those parts contributed to the accident, the manufacturer could be held liable for the injuries that occurred due to the accident.
What Damages Can I Get In A Bus Accident Injury Lawsuit?
If you choose to pursue damages in a bus accident injury lawsuit, you could be entitled to different types of damage awards. These awards can include:
Compensatory damages. These damages compensate injury accident victims for medical bills, loss of income, disfigurement, and other expenses associated with the injuries.
Non-compensatory damages. These damages include compensation for physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional trauma due to the accident.
Punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the responsible party for the actions or negligence that led to the accident.
How Can A Bus Accident Injury Lawyer Help?
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus accident, you need an attorney who understands the specific intricacies of bus accident cases. The attorneys at Simon & O’Rourke Law Firm, P.C., stand ready to help. Our attorneys and staffers will listen to you and work toward getting you the compensation you deserve. Call or email us today to schedule a FREE, no obligation consultation session, and let us help you get back on the road to recovery.