Millions of vehicles are on the road at any given time and despite drivers’ best efforts, accidents occur more often than you might think. Accidents that involve a bus are far more likely to result in serious injury or even death because of the weight and size of a typical bus. As a commercial vehicle, buses are large and heavy, so just as with accidents involving trucks, that weight means additional force and more damage on impact. Buses are also in danger of rolling over in a collision — ejecting passengers and crushing any vehicles that get in their way.
There are several different kinds of buses on our nation’s roads, with varying purposes and passenger capacities, such as school buses, city buses, regional motor coaches, charter buses, and tour buses. Regardless of the subcategory to which a bus is classified, bus accidents can result in injuries and fatalities to passengers, pedestrians, and individuals in the involved vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 251 buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2012 alone, with an average of 21 bus occupants killed each year and 7,934 injured.
Most Common Causes of Bus Accidents
The National Transportation Safety Board has identified operator fatigue, bus crashworthiness, and inadequate federal oversight of bus operators as recurring safety issues in bus accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a separate agency within the Department of Transportation, oversees the bus industry and works with State Police and other authorities to collect and analyze data whenever a bus accident occurs. The FMCSA publishes the safety records of bus companies on its website and provides a free mobile app to access those records. In an attempt to create stricter safety policies, the FMCSA has been clamping down on carriers with repeated safety violations and closing down carriers that try to reopen under a different name. However, one in four of the more than 3,700 commercial motor coach and passenger van companies regulated by the federal government has never received the requisite full safety evaluation, and nearly half have not been reviewed in more than two years.
Who is At Fault?
Although the bus driver may be the most obvious defendant in a bus accident claim, he or she may not be the only person or business entity legally responsible. Bus companies, contractors, employers, municipalities, transit agencies, fleet maintenance companies and insurance companies may also be legally liable for your injuries. A bus accident attorney of the Mann Law Firm will help you identify as many potential defendants as possible in order to ensure a thorough recovery.
Available Compensation for Victims of Bus Accidents
If you or someone you love has been involved in a traffic accident with a bus, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for any physical, emotional and financial losses that resulted from the accident.
The most common way of bringing a successful legal claim in such instances is under a theory of negligence. To prove negligence, the victim must show that the defendant failed in their duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid injury under the circumstances and that this failure caused the victim’s injuries. For example, carriers who encourage their employees to ignore the hours of service limits for drivers of buses that travel across state lines or who hire incompetent drivers who do not possess the requisite Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement may be guilty of negligence in any resulting accidents.
Pursuing a Bus Accident Claim
Claims arising from interstate bus accidents require lawyers familiar with fleet maintenance procedures as well as federal laws that dictate safety rules and regulations. Claims arising from accidents involving school buses require lawyers familiar with municipal immunity and the principles of agency.
The Mann Law Firm has experienced attorneys to handle the investigation and litigation of your unique bus accident claim. We have successfully represented bus accident/injury suits throughout Georgia. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case, we can promise to listen, to advise, and to deliver unwavering legal advocacy on your behalf. Contact us at (478) 742-3381 or use this convenient online contact form.
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