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Bus Accident

How to Establish Liability After a Serious or Fatal Bus Accident

By November 4, 2019No Comments

Most people assume it will be an uphill battle to establish liability after a serious bus accident.  Though there is the potential for some legal challenges to arise in terms of assigning liability for this injustice, these hurdles can be surmounted with surprising ease by a talented personal injury attorney.  If you or a loved one are seriously injured in a bus crash or if such an accident takes the life of a family member, the most important thing you can do is find an experienced auto accident attorney. 

Potentially Liable Parties 

Plenty of bus accidents are the result of negligence on behalf of several parties as opposed to a single party.  Everyone from the bus driver to the car driver, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians have the potential to be liable for a serious or fatal bus accident.  What matters most is whether your personal injury attorney can prove the negligence of one or several parties. Negligence is a legal term that refers to the duty of a party to provide those in his, her or its vicinity with the appropriate level of care.  If the party in question breached its duty to prevent harm to others, it is possible to successfully file a personal injury lawsuit that results in financial payment for costs related to the accident.  

As an example, consider a driver who changes lanes without the use of a turn signal or fails to yield when merging into traffic.  This carelessness can result in a violent or even a deadly bus crash. If your attorney can prove such negligence, there will be solid legal footing to justify the negligent party’s payment for related damages.  The challenge lies in proving the individual in question failed to fulfill the duty of care. This is a legal battle you cannot wage on your own. You will need the assistance of a savvy personal injury attorney to have any chance of prevailing in this legal battle.

Bus Driver Liability

In many bus accidents, the bus driver is liable as opposed to the driver of a non-commercial vehicle, a pedestrian, a bus rider or another party.  Though bus drivers have an unenviable job, they are not excused from their duty of care for riders as well as fellow vehicle operators. Buses are labeled as common carriers so there is an elevated duty of care.  Such common carriers are forced to provide those in their vicinity with the utmost caution as opposed to the reasonable care expected of others on the road. Even the slightest negligence on behalf of the bus driver can trigger liability for resulting injuries.  Bus drivers are found negligent of driving while fatigued or intoxicated much more frequently than most assume.  

Additional examples of bus driver negligence include carrying an excessive number of passengers, insufficient training or something as blatant as texting while driving.  However, if it is determined the accident is the fault of a government-employed bus driver, the ensuing personal injury lawsuit will prove a bit more complicated. The process required to file a claim against the government is different than that required for non-governmental drivers.  There are unique procedural rules that must be followed to file a lawsuit against a government entity. Time is of the essence. If your claim against the government entity or bus driver is not filed in the brief window of opportunity, the egregiously short statue of limitations will expire.

What About School Liability for Bus Accidents?

It is possible for a school to be found liable for a bus accident.  As an example, if the school bus in question had a mechanical issue that was neglected and resulted in an accident, it is possible to file a lucrative personal injury lawsuit against the negligent school.  A single breach of local, state or federal safety standards for bus safety provides solid legal footing for a negligence lawsuit. The failure to abide by the proper inspection routine, driver licensing, driver/bus aide training or bus aide assignment is negligent behavior no school should be able to get away with.  If any such standards were breached, it is up to the victims’ personal injury attorney to determine if the breach is responsible for the accident or if the breach constitutes negligence.

If you or a family member has been injured in a bus accident, call or message my office right away.

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