Although being a bus driver requires licensing and certifications, bus drivers aren’t always responsible. In the majority of bus accidents, driver negligence is to blame. The bus driver or bus company could be liable for a victim’s damages.
If you are a victim of a bus accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Here at the Grossman Law Offices, we can assist you in your quest to recover damages. In addition to explaining your options for recovery, we can also take you through the process.
Who Caused the Accident?
If you want to receive money for your damages, you need to answer one question: who caused the accident? In some cases, another driver is to blame. At other times, the bus driver was solely responsible.
But it could also be the fault of someone not on the road. For instance, a manufacturing company could have made a defective part. If that part caused the accident, they may be liable.
The only way you can receive compensation for your accident is to prove that someone else was at fault. You also need to show that their negligence caused the accident. If the incident meets both criteria, you could file a personal injury claim against one of the following:
1. The Bus Driver
It’s most common for the bus driver to be somewhat responsible for the accident. Often, distracted driving is to blame. By not watching the road closely, the driver puts you at risk.
Another common negligent act by bus drivers is driving while drowsy. When bus drivers take passengers across state lines, they tend to become overtired. They might fail to make the required rest stops. If a driver causes an accident while driving exhausted, they are usually liable.
There are many state regulations that keep bus drivers to a high standard. However, drivers don’t always comply with those requirements. When this occurs and the result is an accident, the driver is responsible.
2. The Bus Company
In some cases, the bus company is to blame. If the bus is a public bus, the local government could be the culprit.
This is often the case when a company has negligent hiring practices. For example, a bus company might hire a bus driver despite a history of drinking and driving. Similarly, they could hire someone without the proper qualifications.
In either situation, the company’s negligence is the cause of the accident. Had they been more mindful during the hiring process, they may have prevented the accident.
3. Third Party
Accidents that are caused by poor maintenance or defective parts are often the fault of a third party. Consider this example. A company hires a vendor to handle their fleet maintenance. If the vendor fails to provide adequate or proper maintenance, they are liable for the accident. When a defective part is the problem, the manufacturer or retailer could be at fault.
4. The Government
Car and bus drivers alike deserve safe driving conditions. When a lack of road maintenance or poor road design causes the accident, the government could be to blame. Their failure to repair a bad road is a form of negligence. Likewise, a poorly designs construction zone could also be negligence.
It’s worth noting that claims against the government are particularly complex. The process of filing a lawsuit is more detailed. Furthermore, you have less time to file a lawsuit.
How Do You Show Liability?
If you choose to file a claim against someone, you need evidence. More specifically, you need evidence of liability. This evidence can come in many forms. Here are a few examples:
- Records of the driver’s driving history, employment history, and alcohol testing obtained from their company’s personnel records
- The bus driver’s cell phone records
- Dispatch records that show details of the bus ride, including arrival times and communication
- Surveillance footage from store security cameras, traffic light cameras, and more
- The Event Data Recorder, or EDR, that shows crash data of the bus. This includes information about possible malfunctions or defective parts
- Maintenance and inspection records from the bus
You need evidence from the above sources to support your case. However, you’re not alone. A lawyer can do the work for you.
Causes of Bus Accidents
In 2016, there were 1,041 injuries and fatalities from vehicle accidents in Fresno. Some of those accidents involved buses. Although bus accidents might not be as common as car accidents, they tend to be more serious.
To understand the severity of a bus accident, you need to understand the causes of them. Here are some of the most common types of bus accidents:
1. Pedestrian Bus Accidents
As a driver approaches a bus stop, there are usually people around. This makes for a dangerous situation. A driver could hit a passenger.
In Fresno, 22 pedestrian deaths occurred between January 2018 and October 2018. Many of these accidents can be avoided by cautious driving. This is especially true of bus and pedestrian accidents.
2. Tire Blowouts or Other Maintenance Issues
Some collisions occur because a bus does not have the proper maintenance. For instance, old tires are prone to blowouts. A blowout puts other drivers in danger and could cause an accident.
Other maintenance issues also could cause accidents. Failing brakes and engine trouble could be a catastrophe waiting to happen.
3. Distracted Driving
You put your trust in the hands of a bus driver. However, they abuse your trust when they drive distracted. The driver might be looking at a cell phone or talking to a passenger. In the short time that their eyes are off the road, an accident can happen.
Working with a Bus Accident Attorney in Fresno
You deserve compensation for your bus accident. But not everyone takes the necessary steps to recover their damages. In fact, some people don’t even realize that they have options.
By speaking to a professional from Grossman Law Offices, you can learn more about your chances at compensation. You have the potential to recover the cost of your medical bills, missed wages, and other expenses. Contact our office today to learn more.