Although bus accidents are rare, a bus ride can go wrong.
Even though America uses buses less frequently than other nations, our road systems are filled with buses, nonetheless. Tour buses, airport buses, intercity buses, municipal transit buses, and school buses are just a few examples of buses that you may see on a regular day.
Even though it may seem redundant to have so many bus types, each one serves a specific function. School buses, as you know, take children to school, while airport buses transport commuters to or from an airport. Regardless of the type of bus, any vehicle that is described as a bus transports nine or more people, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Because buses carry so many people at one time, safety is essential. They have the potential to injure several passengers from a single accident. To make matters worse, the sheer size of buses makes them more likely to injure or kill passengers or other parties, such as pedestrians or passengers in a different vehicle.
Luckily, bus accidents are relatively rare due to their design and the fact that strenuous safety measures are applied to them. One reason that bus accidents tend to be less severe is that the passengers are off the ground, removing vulnerability from a direct hit. The narrow space within the buses also protects the passengers from serious injuries. For these reasons, 99.9% of bus passengers make it safely to their destinations.
Still, accidents do happen, and the size of buses and their number of passengers make bus accidents potentially more dangerous than other types of accidents. If you have been injured in a bus accident, you need to contact a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer right away to protect yourself and fight for monetary recovery.
Bus Accidents Can Cause Serious Damage
Bus accidents, though fewer in number, cause some serious damage to passengers and other people in the area at the time of the accident. In fact, bus accidents tend to be catastrophic when they occur for more reasons than one, making it imperative to focus on bus safety.
Most notably, buses are designed in a way that puts them at more risk than a regular sedan or minivan. For example, they have longer starting or stopping distances. If a bus driver has to slam on the brakes, it is less likely that the bus will respond quick enough to avoid a collision.
Additionally, buses are more likely to tip over in an accident. When this happens, pedestrians or other cars run the risk of being crushed beneath the weight of the bus, while passengers can get thrown out of their seats.
Due to buses’ sizes, a single bus accident tends to create more damage than a regular car crash. Normally, multiple cars, pedestrians, and passengers are affected all at once. This risk is doubled if the accident relates to more than one bus at a time.
Bus Accident Statistics
In 2019, 2,734 fatal truck and bus crashes were reported. An additional 60,818 people were injured due to large truck and bus accidents. Similarly, 122,331 vehicles were damaged.
Shockingly, 1,365 bus crashes involve a school bus. These crashes resulted in 2,551 injuries and 5 deaths. With there being 26 million students who ride the bus to and from school, this means that 1% of school bus riders have been injured in their daily commute.
Children often have no choice but to ride the bus to school. This fact means that we should make school bus safety a highest priority. A Philadelphia school bus accident lawyer can assist your troubles if you or a child were injured in a school bus accident.
Negligence and Bus Accidents
Fault in all accident cases, including bus accident ones, is determined according to negligence. In other words, there must be substantial evidence that the person who caused you harm was guilty of negligence.
In order to prove negligence for a bus accident case, you must be able to prove four things:
- Duty: All drivers and bus drivers have a duty to drive as safely as possible. This includes abiding by traffic laws and basic safety standards.
- Breach: A breach means that the driver broke their duty of driving safely.
- Harm: As a result of the breached duty, harm in the form of an accident or injury occurred.
- Causation: Harm caused by a duty breach results in causation, meaning that they can be held liable for negligence.
How easy or difficult it is to prove these four things will entirely depend on your case. For example, if a bus driver breaks a law, then it is easy to prove negligence. However, other cases may be difficult, such as when you have to prove that the defendant was not acting reasonably.
No matter whether or not you think your case is a cut and dry one, the law is confusing, meaning you should hire a school bus accident lawyer Philadelphia to help you navigate the terrain. Without an experienced lawyer, you may not get the compensation you deserve.
The Difficulty in Proving Fault
Because of the unique risk factors posed to buses, bus accident cases are typically very complex. Several parties may share fault, making it difficult to determine who is truly at fault. For example, the following factors may also contribute to bus accidents, making it difficult to prove fault:
- Other road users
- Road designs
- Design defect of the bus
- Passenger causing a distraction
These many factors that go into bus accidents often causes these cases to be filed differently than other motor vehicle accident lawsuits. Below are some examples.
As we already mentioned, more than one person can be held accountable for the accident. If that's the case, the lawsuit can actually include multiple defendants, not just one. A good Philadelphia city bus accident lawyer will expand your lawsuit so that it includes as many defendants as possible.
In the case that there is more than one defendant, they will need to split the recovery for the damages. How exactly the defendants will be forced to split the damages, or share the fault, will depend on the state you live in.
For example, some states assign damages based on the doctrine of joint and several liability. That forces all parties to share equal responsibility. Many states find this doctrine unfair since some parties may only be slightly responsible and not deserving of an equal share.
Because of the fairness issues involved with the first approach, other states will apply a proportionate degree of fault to every defendant. Say there are two defendants, one of which is only slightly responsible. The court may hold the less responsible defendant responsible for 10% of the accident. This means they only pay for 10% of the damages. The rest must be paid by the other party.
Cases can get even more confusing. Sometimes, the plaintiff may share some fault. Most states will still allow the plaintiff to be entitled to recovery, but the total they deserve will decrease based on the rules of comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence may sound confusing, but it is not. Say that a jury finds you to be 30% guilty for the accident. Despite your small role, you will still be entitled to receive 70% of the damages you would have received had you not been at fault.
Claims Against the Government
Another complication, making bus accidents more difficult than the regular vehicle accident, is that many buses are owned by municipal governments such as SEPTA. As a result, you may need to file a claim against the government, depending on whether or not they own the bus.
Unfortunately, filing a claim against a government is difficult. Since most municipal government self insures, there are many additional rules that won't apply to most insurance companies. They can even deny your claim based on standards different from any other private insurer.
In the case that a government denies your claim, it's time to get a school bus accidents lawyer Philadelphia because you will need to file a lawsuit right away. In this case, you will be filing a suit directly against the government.
As you probably suspect, suing the government is more difficult than suing private actors. For one thing, you will typically have a shorter time frame in which you are required to sue. Though most personal injury cases need to be filed within two years, most cases against governments must be filed in under six months.
Damage Classifications For Bus Accidents
Whether you're filing against a private entity or the government, you must contact a bus accident lawyer Philadelphia right away if you have been injured in a bus accident. The legal system is confusing, and some cases are set up in a way that it is nearly impossible for the plaintiff to win.
Once you contact a lawyer, your lawyer can sue based on three categories of damages. These damages will allow you to collect a monetary recovery for a bus accident lawsuit.
Economic or monetary damages indicate that the accident caused economic repercussions. This may include medical bills, a wrecked car, or anything else you have to physically pay. In contrast, you can also file for non-economic damages, including emotional turmoil, pain, and suffering. In rare cases, you can even sue for punitive damages, which are designed to punish the offender in severe cases.
How your attorney will structure your case will be based on the exact specifications of the accident and the damage claim.
What to Do if You Are in a Bus Accident?
Accidents are dangerous, and you must act accordingly, both in the short term and the long term. Immediately after a bus accident, make sure that you and anyone around you are safe. After checking for injuries, call 911. The bus driver will normally call 911 on their own, but there is nothing wrong with you calling as well.
In addition, make sure to follow the bus driver’s directions after the accident. They will be able to give you directions to make sure that everyone remains safe in the aftermath. For example, they may ask you to exit the bus in an orderly fashion.
After confirming that you are OK and that the police are on their way, begin to take up the name and contact information of other passengers at the scene and anyone else who may be a witness to the accident. This may come in handy later when you file your suit. Also, take photos of the accident if you have a camera or phone on you.
Once the police officer arrives, also take down their name, contact information, and badge number. Make it a point to ensure that they record your personal story of the event into an official police report.
In the case that you are obviously injured, you should be taken to the hospital right away. Even if you don't see any obvious symptoms, take yourself to the hospital since some symptoms may come later. Immediately going to the hospital also proves that you were injured from the accident in question.
Now, it is time for some of the most crucial and difficult steps for ensuring that your suit goes over correctly. Do not talk to the other parties’ lawyers or insurance adjusters without a lawyer present. They are trained to get you to say things so that they do not have to pay you as much if anything at all.
Hire a Bus Accident Lawyer to Process your Claim
With an experienced bus accident lawyer Philadelphia PA on your side, you can protect your rights and hopefully gain the monetary recovery you deserve. We can help you create a case and work with the insurance company so that you get everything you deserve. Any trauma from an accident is serious. Find the right accident injury attorney to help you get back on your feet. Contact our bus accident lawyer today for help with your case. We Win or It’s Free!