Bus Accident Attorneys
A bus accident can be very dangerous for the passengers and bus driver as well as any other persons occupying the vehicles involved in the accident. There are specific safety regulations that the driver must follow to ensure their own and passengers’ safety on the bus.
Unfortunately, regulations are not always followed by bus drivers. Bus accidents do take place from time to time and many of them result in serious injuries and even death for passengers.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a bus accident, you may be entitled to claim for compensation from the driver, bus operator or city administration in your area.
FMCSA Regulations for Bus Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made a list of rules and regulations for motor carrier to help ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
- Bus drivers are allowed to drive for a maximum of 10 hours each day followed by mandatory 8 hours off duty before they can drive again. Bus drivers can drive a maximum of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days.
- Further guidelines mandate that the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the passenger bus, its accessories, passengers, baggage and freight that is transported on the vehicle.
- The driver is restricted from performing any other work in the employ or service of the bus company or any other business while off duty.
- The driver is also required to complete appropriate training for driving the vehicle and must be familiarized with the expected driving route before they can drive.
By following the FMCSA regulations, bus and private shuttle operators can decrease the risk of accidents and injuries to the driver and passengers. Accidents can still happen if the bus driver acts recklessly.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus or private shuttle accidents can be caused by a number of factors which include the following.
- The driver is operating the bus while tired or fatigued.
- The bus driver drives the vehicle recklessly.
- The bus is poorly maintained and repairs are not carried out on time.
- Bad weather conditions limit visibility or make it difficult to operate the bus.
- The bus is overloaded with passengers.
- The bus driver is distracted while driving.
- The bus driver is not adequately trained to operate the vehicle.
- The bus driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Another passenger vehicle driver attempts to cut across the bus on an intersection or tries to overtake the bus from the right side while they are in the bus driver’s blind spot.
Bus Accident Liability
Determining liability for a bus accident depends on the type of bus and the cause of accident. There are four main types of bus operators.
- Public transport buses that are operated by local and city governments.
- School buses for children that are often run by school administrations or private operators.
- Tour buses and private transport buses available for hire, run by businesses.
- Buses run by private and public organizations meant exclusively to pick and drop employees.
In case of an accident, the bus operator can also be held liable apart from the driver. If the accident takes place because the bus was not being maintained properly or was in need of repairs, the operating company can be held responsible.
Similarly, if the bus driver is untrained, does not possess a necessary commercial driving license or has a history of traffic violations that the operator is aware of, they can also be sued for continuing to employ the unqualified driver.
The bus or auto part manufacturer can also be held liable if the accident takes places due to faulty bus components. Passenger buses and spare parts must be manufactured according to the highest safety standards. Brake or engine failure at any time threatens the lives of dozens of passengers and other bystanders.
If a bus accident is caused due to the fault of a third party, they can be held responsible to compensate anyone who sustains injuries or financial damage. For example, if another vehicle rams into the bus, or tries to overtake the bus without following safety procedures, they can be sued in court to pay for damages. If a road-side construction is going on and the bus accident is caused due to unsafe working practices by the construction company, the injured can sue the company for compensation.
Victims of a bus accident can also file a claim against the local government or claim damages from their insurance company, if they have a medical insurance policy.
Most states allow the affected party to claim compensation from multiple parties if there is a shared responsibility for the accident. However, the total value of compensation cannot exceed the value of damages sustained.
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Compensation for Bus Accidents
A party that receives a personal injury or property damage as a result of a bus or private shuttle accident can claim for compensation. This is true whether you are a passenger in the bus, a bystander or another vehicle occupant.
You can claim compensation from one or multiple liable parties for the following.
- Damage to your property, auto vehicle or equipment. The total value of compensation depends on a fair assessment of your loss, based on market value.
- In case of a personal injury, you can claim compensation for medical expenses and any losses due to time off work.
- In case of death of a loved one due to the accident, you can claim pecuniary compensation for wrongful death.
The total amount of compensation that can be awarded by the judge cannot exceed the value of damages received by the claimant. Most compensation lawsuits are settled out of court with the defendant making a settlement offer. Understanding the settlement value of the lawsuit is very important in compensation cases.
If the claimant demands compensation that is too high, they run the risk of not getting any offers from the defendant. If they make a demand that is too low, they risk settling for less than what they are entitled to. An experienced claims attorney can be of great help in determining the right compensation value.
3.5 Times More Compensation with a Bus Accident Attorney
The Insurance Research Council reports that people with attorneys were paid 3.5x more than those who did not hire an attorney and that 85% of all the dollars that are paid out by insurance companies for bodily injury claims are paid to clients who have hired an attorney to represent them. (“Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact on Insurance Costs”)