If you have been injured in an accident involving a bus, you may be entitled to compensation. Burg Simpson can help you determine the best course of action.

Buses are a popular form of public transportation, especially for people in urban areas. Conventional bus systems, bus rapid transit, and intercity buses are the main types of bus services in the United States. The most common buses anywhere in the country are school buses, which are common on all American roadways throughout the week, both mornings and afternoons.

Overall, bus accidents are rare. With a total of 63,000 bus crashes out of approximately 9 billion bus trips taken every year in the United States, you have far less than a 1 percent chance of getting into a bus accident. Car crashes have a fatality rate that is 23 times greater than that of bus crashes.

Even so, bus accidents sometimes happen and when they do, they disrupt the lives of those involved, including passengers as well as motorists and pedestrians that share the road with buses. Any injuries sustained in a bus accident can result in medical treatment, lost wages, and a long recovery time.

An injury claim arising from a bus accident is a complex process with multiple liable parties. If you, your child, or another family member has been injured in a bus accident because of someone else’s negligence, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than full compensation for your injury claim. The experienced attorneys at Burg Simpson have the professional excellence it takes for you to achieve peace of mind and get on the road to recovery. You can get a free consultation regarding your legal options today by calling us at (888) 895-2080 or filling out a FREE case evaluation form.

What Are the Most Common Types of Bus Accidents?

Because of their large size, heavy weight, and unwieldy shape, driving buses is very different from driving cars. Whether it is a school bus, charter bus, or church bus, a bus accident is likely to be one of the following types, often depending on the vehicles involved:

  • Children’s injuries from school bus crossings
  • Illegal passing cases
  • Injuries from bus malfunctions
  • Bus-car crashes
  • Bus-motorcycle crashes
  • Bus-bicycle crashes
  • Bus-bus crashes
  • Bus-pedestrian accidents

As you can see, there are many forms a bus accident can take. There are also different effects depending on the type of bus involved in the accident:

  • Public transit accidents injure pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists as well as passengers in their daily commutes
  • School bus accidents injure children and sometimes teachers
  • Freight bus accidents cause serious crashes for motorists due to heavy loads
  • Charter, private, and commercial bus accidents injure people traveling locally, such as on a church bus
  • Shuttle bus accidents injure guests or students being transported by hotels and colleges

Buses are an essential form of transportation for a number of people. It’s important for them to be as safe as possible, and that is one reason why we must hold liable parties accountable when bus accident injuries occur. Taking action after a bus accident will not only help to achieve compensation for your losses but it will also hold any negligent party accountable that contributed to the accident, which will hopefully act as a deterrent for future bus accidents.

Our bus accident lawyers at Burg Simpson are knowledgeable specifically about these types of accidents and their effects on injured passengers, motorists, and pedestrians. We have the resources and commitment necessary to get the best possible outcome, including maximum compensation, for your losses.

What Are the Most Frequent Causes of Bus Accidents?

Bus accidents tend to have more passengers and vehicles involved than auto accidents. Although buses require drivers to have a special certificate to operate them, and have some of the lowest fatality rates in crashes compared to other vehicles, sometimes catastrophic bus accidents still happen. The most common causes of bus accidents involve some form of negligence, such as distracted driving.

Bus Company Negligence

Despite federal regulations, bus companies often turn a blind eye to public safety, failing to maintain fleets adequately and regularly or train drivers appropriately. They do this because they are seeking to cut corners for a greater profit. Unfortunately, some bus companies refuse to spend time and money to properly upkeep their vehicles. With a higher chance of a defective part or faulty maintenance, their buses are likely to be a public hazard and increase people’s risk of serious injuries or death.

Bus Driver Negligence

Negligence by a bus driver can happen in a variety of ways, including being distracted by passengers on board, their phones, and more. Bus drivers that use their cell phones while driving are distracted drivers who are at a high risk for accidents.

Other Causes of Bus Accidents

  • Driver error: The driver makes a mistake that results in an accident, such as going the wrong way, failing to follow the right-of-way, speeding, or reckless driving. Sometimes, the driver could be inexperienced.
  • Driver fatigue: A driver could briefly fall asleep at the wheel while the bus is moving. Driver fatigue is a subcategory of negligence on the part of the driver. With 28% of truck drivers having sleep apnea, a significant percentage of bus drivers are likely to have it as well. Sleep apnea is a major cause of driver fatigue.
  • Poor bus maintenance: Under-inflated tires are a hazard on highways where they gain heat and end up shredding or creating a fire. An electrical or engine component failure can also result in a fire or other hazard.
  • Improper driver hiring or training: The bus company failed to hire a suitable driver or train the driver according to safety and driving regulations.
  • Hazardous weather or dangerous road conditions: Slippery streets make it especially difficult for buses to brake and turn. Debris in the road way can also be particularly dangerous, especially if the bus is unable to avoid it.
  • Blind spots: Buses have much larger blind spots than cars, particularly when making left turns.
  • Other vehicles: Other motorists could be at fault for a bus accident.

Fatal Bus Crashes in the United States

More than 975,000 buses are registered in the U.S. In 2016, there were 225 fatal bus crashes and 264 fatalities, according to the FMCSA. The deadliest bus crashes are those involving fires, which often originate due to an engine component failure, an electrical problem, or friction at the wheel level.

Lack of Seat Belts in Buses

Most buses do not have seat belts for the passengers, although some states require seat belts for school buses. In the United States, the law does not typically require seat belts for buses that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, since they have several other safety features in place.

One of those features is compartmentalization. Passengers are separated from each other in a protective interior with seats that absorb most of the impact force in an accident and a layout that allows for easier access and evacuation of passengers. While seat belts prevent certain injuries and ejection of passengers, they are also expensive to install and can cause injury, such as lacerations and internal bleeding.

Bus Accident Prevention

A great deal of focus has been put on reducing school bus accidents. The implementation of school zone speed limit signs and speed bumps has resulted in significant improvements in student safety. Therefore, at this point most bus accidents do not happen in school zones but rather, in traffic, where speed limits are not as low.

Some drivers use an interactive map on their smartphones to help with navigation and safety, such as the one from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The downside is that using a cell phone leads to distracted driving and increases the risk of a bus accident.

Bus Accident Statistics

Here are some other facts about bus accidents:

  • 1% of bus accident fatalities involved vehicles with a 10-passenger capacity.
  • There are approximately 40 bus accident fatalities each year, with 25% being drivers and other bus company employees.
  • 44% of total bus fatalities involve scheduled and charter bus services
  • 23% involve school buses
  • 11% involve urban transit
  • 22% involve church buses, private shuttles, and other buses.
  • The fatality rate of 0.11% for buses is per billion passenger miles and is 65% greater than that for planes. It also excludes crime victims and curbside bus services.

Types of Bus Accident Injuries

There are about 60,000 bus accidents each year, with 14,000 injured victims. Serious injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash and neck injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Amputations
  • Death

Cars, light trucks, and motorcycles top the list of most dangerous vehicles, while buses, trains, and commercial planes have the lowest fatality rates. Both buses and commercial planes are safer than private planes. Buses tend to be safer than most other vehicles, but when serious bus accidents do occur, they are traumatizing.

Where Do Bus Accidents Occur?

When it comes to the riskiest roads for buses, highways have the highest likelihood of accidents, especially accidents with serious injuries and fatalities. Highways have the highest fatality rates for pretty much all motor vehicles.

Who is Likely to Be a Bus Accident Victim?

Bus accidents naturally involve more passengers and possibly more motorists than other vehicles on the road. Depending on the type of bus and the other parties involved in the accident, many different types of people could be subject to a bus accident, including students, children, other drivers, and pedestrians.

Liability in Bus Accidents

Finding the liable parties in a bus accident largely relies on proving negligence. Each state has personal injury laws that govern how liability is assigned. For example, if you’re in a state that has comparative negligence, anyone who is 50% or less at fault can seek compensation for damages from another party that is 51% or more at fault.

Motor vehicle accidents are almost always preventable, and the same is true for bus accidents. If all motorists on the road followed all of the rules of the road at all times, auto accidents would be exceedingly rare.

However, negligence does occur, and sometimes multiple parties could be responsible for a particular bus accident. If you have experienced injuries from a bus accident, our personal injury lawyers can help you determine the legally liable parties and hold them accountable. You can get started today with a free consultation from Burg Simpson.

Damages from a Bus Accident

Depending on the damages you sustained in a bus accident, you may be able to collect compensation for:

  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death

The best way for injured victims to protect their rights for filing a claim is to obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. After any auto accident, you should always get looked at by a doctor or other medical professional immediately, to ensure there is nothing wrong with you that may not be showing symptoms yet (as is sometimes the case with brain injuries). The other reason to seek medical care is so that documentation exists that you were injured in the accident. If you wait too long to seek care, the liable party’s insurance company may try to argue that you did not get hurt due to the accident or that it was of no concern to you.

How to Share the Road with Buses

Motorists have to share the road with a variety of other vehicles. To stay safe on roads with buses, it is most important to remember that buses have a delayed brake time and need space, especially around blind spots. You should avoid lingering in a bus’s blind spots. Also, do not attempt to pass a bus while the driver is changing lanes. Give the bus plenty of space and respect at all times to avoid any catastrophic consequences.

Legal Representation for Your Bus Accident Case

Nobody deserves to be a statistic. If you or someone you know was in a bus accident and sustained injuries, you may have legal grounds to pursue damages for economic and non-economic losses. The next best step in your injury claim is to get a free consultation from a personal injury lawyer. Having legal representation for your case means you have an advocate who will handle the paperwork, obtain statements, gather evidence, facilitate medical treatment, and contact and negotiate with the insurance company.

We at Burg Simpson have extensive experience and success in dealing with various types of bus accident cases, reaching settlements, and litigating for full compensation for damages. We offer a free consultation. Call us at (888) 895-2080 or fill out a FREE case evaluation form to learn about your legal options today.

phone-handset linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram