When to Hire a Bus Accident Attorney
Bus accidents can be especially dangerous, resulting in numerous injuries to more than one person. They are more common than you may think. In fact, the US Department of Transportation estimates there are at least 183 bus accidents a day, or 67,000 per year. Read our article to learn more about these types of crashes and when you should hire a bus accident attorney if you or a loved one is injured.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents can have various causes, many of them similar to smaller vehicles, including:
- Driver impairment or intoxication
- Hazardous road conditions
- Inclement weather
- Mechanical failure
However, certain factors that are unique to buses mean that the consequences of a collision can be much more severe;
The larger size of a passenger bus means that a collision will be inherently more destructive. For example, a vehicle rear-ended by a bus failing to brake in time may suffer far worse damage than if the collision had been with a similarly-sized vehicle. A bus accident attorney will be able to determine the exact cause of your injuries and which party or parties are responsible.
A standard, 40-foot transit coach can hold up to 42 passengers. This means that 42 passengers could be injured in a bad crash. Even if the bus is not at capacity, it is likely transporting far more passengers than a private vehicle, raising the probability of bodily injury in an accident.
No Seatbelts on a Bus
Most buses do not have seat belts. Instead, coach designers rely on a system called “compartmentalization,” which relies on an arrangement of passengers to effectively cushion them in the event of sudden impact. A good comparison is how eggs are situated in a carton: they are equidistant from one another and insulated with a good amount of space between and below them.
This is all well and good, but the lack of seatbelts will be far more noticeable in a rollover accident or more serious crash on the highway. Furthermore, buses within the city often allow passengers to stand in transit, meaning no such compartmentalization arrangement exists. Just because seatbelts are not mandated on a bus does not mean the city doesn’t hold a responsibility for patients thrown from their seats or standing position in a crash. Again, a bus accident attorney will help you determine liability in the event you are hurt.
Bus Accidents and Pedestrians
Of course, bus accidents are not limited to collisions with other vehicles. Accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are some of the more deadly forms of bus accidents. Cyclists need to remember that, under Colorado law, they are expected to obey most of the same rules as other vehicles. This includes stopping at traffic signals and riding with the flow of traffic.
Pedestrians should also take care when crossing busy city streets. Do not attempt to cross a street without a crosswalk (jaywalking) or when a signal is yellow or red.
That being said, even if you exercised poor judgment as a cyclist or pedestrian and it resulted in an injury, you should still speak with a qualified bus accidents attorney. Comparative negligence in Colorado may still allow you to seek damages if you were found to be less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
What Types of Injuries Happen in Bus Accidents?
In general, the more serious injuries in a bus accident tend to be those suffered by those outside of a bus. The smaller vehicle or pedestrian will suffer far worse damage than the larger bus, which also has additional safety features to reduce the force of impact in a crash. Some of the most common types of injuries sustained by those who are struck by a bus include:
- Head trauma/TBI
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries/organ damage
- Catastrophic injury (disfigurement, severe burns, loss of limb)
Who is Liable in a Bus Accident?
Bus accidents are not dissimilar from truck accidents, in that more than one party may be involved. Bus drivers are often insured by the city or other employer. If the issue is a mechanical one, the manufacturer of the failed part may also be found responsible. In short, bus accidents can be quite complicated. This is why you will want to speak with an experienced bus accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Will a Bus Accident Attorney Do?
Your lawyer will help you build a case against those responsible for your injuries. He or she will help you file a claim for damages to your vehicle, ensuring your insurance company does not low-ball your settlement amount. Your attorney will also seek additional damages on your behalf, such as reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, and more. You can also be sure your bus accident lawyer will file for non-economic damages, which are those related to your pain and suffering as a result of the accident.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a bus accident in Colorado, contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Dave is a highly skilled and compassionate insurance and personal injury attorney who understands just how devastating these types of accidents can be. Let Dave fight for your just compensation while you focus on your family and getting better. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.