Bus accidents are a major source of concern for federal officials, safety advocates and anyone else tracking highway safety across the U.S. As a category of heavy vehicle accidents, bus accidents represent a significant portion of the traffic accidents, injuries and tragic fatalities that happen each year around the country.
Accidents also carry their own risks and liabilities, partly because of the idea that many people are putting their lives in the hands of strangers by traveling on buses. Bus companies are sometimes called “common carriers” to denote their special control and responsibility in transporting people to and from a given location.
Bus Accident Statistics
In general, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows evidence of several hundred bus crash fatalities each year, with injuries in the thousands. Then there are specific categories of bus accidents -for example, this NHTSA safety fact sheet shows school bus crashes generating about 135 fatalities per year.
Safety data also shows how certain kinds of situations are most common in bus accident injuries. The above fact sheet also shows that about half of school bus crash injuries involve cases where buses were in a head-on collision. In terms of what buses are doing at the time of the crash, traveling straight ahead is the top category, followed by left terms, an especially dangerous type of traffic activity that requires special care on the part of the driver.
Types of Bus Accidents
Federal officials also keep tabs on the numbers of tour bus or charter bus accidents across the U.S. Although some of these numbers are harder to come by, this resource from Nolo shows NHTSA estimates that school bus accidents represent only 37% of all bus accidents, leaving considerable numbers of crashes in categories related to tours or other public transit.
However, some reports are suggesting that these numbers might be skewed because of the NHTSA’s definition of what constitutes a “motor coach” vehicle. This 2011 report in USA Today shows how some bus accident statistics might be distorted, which may lead to under-reporting of certain types of crashes.
Bus Accident Liability
There are broad types of third-party responsibility in bus accidents that are related to any potential negligence or inattention to public safety. Tour companies or other bus operating companies can be found liable, in situations where drivers or other staff members have not been properly licensed, screened or trained, or where specific safety protocols have not been set up or followed. The companies making the vehicles can also be held liable if the vehicles are not in safe and serviceable condition due to any defects or design problems.
In addition, in some bus accident cases involve negligence by a third party, for example, where a tour bus case goes to a given location, tour participants get out, and someone becomes injured because of unsafe premises.
The laws are complex, and you need an experienced law firm like Nadrich & Cohen, LLP by your side. Our bus accident lawyers have successfully handled many claims against municipal bus companies. If you have been injured in a bus accident, either as a passenger, pedestrian, or driver/passenger of another vehicle, you have a claim for your personal injuries. To learn more about your right to compensation, immediately call 1-800-718-4658 for a free consultation.
Unique Risks Of Bus Riding
Injuries in bus accidents can also be different than the average traffic accident injury. For example, drivers of cars and trucks often experience things like whiplash and soft tissue damage on impact. But bus passengers can experience different kinds of injury.
One unique aspect of bus travel is that there are often no restraints provided in the form of seat belts and airbags, safety designs that come built into smaller vehicles. That means there’s a particular burden on the bus driver to maintain safety.
Buses are also uniquely vulnerable to rollover accidents, because of the ways in which they are built, and their centers of gravity. Rollover accidents can generate other kinds of injuries, such as traumatic brain injury or cranial or spinal impact with the top of the vehicle. As a result, bus companies are required to build buses with a certain amount of tensile strength in roof areas, so that the top part of a bus can withstand a certain impact, keeping everyone inside safer.
The federal government has mandated that the roofs of buses must be able to hold 1.5 times the vehicle’s own while allowing less than 5 inches of “roof crush.”
Do I Need To Hire A Bus Accident Attorney?
Bus accident injury victims can benefit quite a bit from calling professional traffic accident injury lawyers directly after an accident, to talk about their legal rights and options.
Without professional representation, injury victims may not know how to document injuries, when to hold out for a better offer of compensation, and how to get impartial and quick medical evaluation. Too often, injury victims trust in themselves to secure a deal with an insurance company or another party, but they may end up being severely shortchanged when it comes to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering and more.
Professional bus accident injury lawyers serve their clients’ interest in court, guiding them through legal processes such as hearings or settlement negotiations. They do the in-depth research to support an injury case while evaluating what amount of compensation is equitable and fair for all of the costs of care and recovery. This includes high medical bills that may result from even minor medical services and treatment.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bus accident, contact the experienced accident attorneys of Nadrich and Cohen, LLP to learn more about your right to compensation. The consultation is free. We only collect a fee for our services, if a recovery is made. We have 26 office locations throughout California, with an office near you. Contact us now, by calling 1-800-718-4658, using the live chat, or completing the contact form on this page. Don’t delay, as there are time limitations for filing an injury claim.