While they happen less often than other auto accidents, a bus collision can be severe. If you or a loved one was injured in a bus accident, you might be entitled to compensation for all the damages you suffered. The details of the bus accident claim depend on the type of bus involved, such as whether it is a school bus accident vs a public transport bus accident.
Depending on the type of bus accident, fault can lie in different places and might affect your case differently. Working with an auto accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
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Bus Companies Owe the Public a Duty of Care
Bus passengers who use public transport trust that the bus company will take reasonable care to safeguard their safety. For this reason, the entities owning these buses are expected to be extremely careful in protecting the public from any harm.
If they fail to uphold their obligations, they could be liable even if they hold a small degree of fault. For example, these entities are responsible for hiring qualified drivers.
If you were hurt in a public transport accident, a bus accident lawyer can help you determine the best way to approach the situation. They will investigate to determine liability and build a strong claim for your financial recovery.
Public Transport Bus Accidents
Public transport bus accidents involve buses that are owned and operated by the government. Government entities that own and operate buses include:
- Regional transportation authorities
- The state through its ownership of non-urbanized public transit buses
A government-owned bus authority may have immunity protection that private bus companies do not have. For instance, some states like Georgia limit legal actions against the government through sovereign immunity laws. However, states like South Carolina do not.
Who Covers Damages in a Public Transport Bus Collision Case?
Government entities running public transport are self-insured. Unlike the normal auto insurance policy limits that a driver could have in a car accident, the government entity does not have a policy limit. This means the government entity:
- Would be responsible for damages instead of an insurance company
- Has a strong legal system to defend it in case of personal injury lawsuits
As noted earlier, government entities in some states have immunity from being sued. In such a case, you will need to follow some rules stipulated by the law to file a claim. Bus drivers and transport authorities owe the public an extra duty of care.
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School Bus Accidents
Many children depend on school buses to access their education. Parents trust that the buses will safely transport their children to and from school. Unfortunately, school bus accidents occur, causing children to suffer injuries.
School buses are considered to be common carriers in several states. All parties involved in transport and maintenance must adhere to state and federal laws. If any party fails in their obligations, they may be liable for accident damages. Fault and subsequent liability can fall on one, some, or all of the following parties:
- Bus driver
- Bus owner
- Mechanic in charge of maintenance of the bus
- Parties responsible for inspecting the bus
In most cases, bus accidents result from driver negligence. However, an accident can be caused by a poorly maintained bus or part malfunction in some cases. On these rare occasions, the maintenance company would be held liable.
Determining the party at fault can be difficult. Fortunately, a school bus accident lawyer can help you identify the negligent parties and hold them responsible for their actions.
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When Is a Bus Driver At Fault?
Driver error is a common factor cited in many traffic accidents. Examples of such errors involving a bus driver include:
A school bus driver faces more distractions than any other driver on the road. Some of the factors that may distract the driver include:
- Students moving around
- Excessive noise
- An overcrowded bus
- Other drivers behaving recklessly on the road
Driving While Fatigued
Depending on the school district, a driver may choose or be asked to work longer hours when there are no available drivers. Additionally, these drivers could have other jobs, meaning they may report to work sleep-deprived or already fatigued.
Violating Traffic Laws
Like any other driver on the road, bus drivers must follow traffic rules. If they are acting negligently, they may ignore traffic rules by:
- Speeding for road and weather conditions
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Road rage
When Is Another Driver At Fault?
Sometimes, bus accidents are caused by other drivers on the road. The bus driver could have done nothing wrong, but another driver hit the bus and injured the passengers. For example, other drivers could be at fault for following too closely behind or ignoring stopped buses. In these cases, you could hold a third-party driver accountable.
Let George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Defend Your Rights
Reach out to George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a bus accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers to represent you and pursue a fair settlement in Georgia or South Carolina: (888) 612-7001.
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