According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are more than 800,000 buses in service in the United States, each making hundreds of trips annually. Millions of people rely on buses every day to get where they need to go. However, because of this fact, the potential for injury during a bus accident is enormous. Unfortunately, these motor vehicle accidents are not uncommon. As many as 54,000 bus accidents occur every year, according to the FMCSA, resulting in countless catastrophic injuries and deaths. However, many buses are owned and operated by government agencies, making insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits for bus accident injuries complicated.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit after a bus crash in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you should immediately get the advice of an experienced bus accident lawyer . Cases against a government entity follow different rules. Therefore, your best chance of obtaining fair compensation is having qualified legal counsel, protecting your rights. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., our attorneys have the experience and resources to fully investigate and litigate complex cases, even against the government. If you sustained injuries in a bus accident, call us as soon as possible so we can start working on your case.
What Are the Common Causes of Bus Accidents?
Buses are large and cumbersome vehicles that often stop in the middle of traffic to load and unload passengers. Additionally, buses routinely navigate areas with heavy pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. However, unlike other vehicles, buses often lack safety belts and carry many passengers simultaneously. Additionally, many passengers stand while riding. These conditions can make accidents more likely and any driver errors extremely harmful.
Bus driver negligence and/or inexperience contribute to many of these types of motor vehicle accidents. However, other drivers on the road or even defects in the vehicle or roadway may also result in crashes. Some of the most common causes of bus accidents include:
- Failure of bus driver to adequately check all mirrors when pulling up to or away from a bus stop
- Failure of bus driver to drive appropriately in inclement weather
- Negligence of other drivers on the road
- Dangerous or defective roadways
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Manufacturing or design defects in the bus
Depending on the cause of the crash, different parties may be liable for the injuries and damages caused. These may include the driver of another vehicle, the company responsible for bus maintenance or manufacture, and/or the city or state government.
What Are My Legal Options for Recovery After a Bus Accident?
Victims of bus accidents may be eligible to recover compensation for their losses. These losses may include medical expenses, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. However, because buses are usually “common carriers,” special rules apply when filing claims against them. If the bus is part of the public transportation system, such as Philadelphia’s SEPTA lines, you will face additional restrictions. Overall, the type of claim or lawsuit you file will depend on who is at fault for the crash.
If the driver of another vehicle causes a bus crash, you can likely proceed with an insurance claim with that driver’s provider. Unlike a regular claim, the company will probably not try to blame you for your bus accident injuries. However, the insurance adjuster may claim the bus driver was responsible and try to deny compensation.
If the bus driver caused the accident, you may face even more challenges. Buses owned by private companies, like tour buses, are usually common carriers. This means that you must prove definitively that negligence caused the crash in order to collect compensation. However, if negligence is to blame, you can file an insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit against the owner.
Finally, if the owner and operator of the bus is a government entity, you will have only a short time to file any personal injury claim. In Pennsylvania, for example, notice of any personal injury lawsuits or insurance claims against the government must be filed within six months. However, in New Jersey, you only have 90 days to inform the government agency of your claim. Nevertheless, winning this kind of personal injury case is difficult, especially since these agencies are often self-insured. Therefore, you should always seek representation from a qualified bus accident lawyer before you file.
Learn More in a Free Consultation with a Philadelphia Bus Accident Lawyer
Bus accident cases are complex, but you do not have to fight them alone. The attorneys at our law firm can investigate and handle the difficulties of a case against the government on your behalf.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury in a bus crash, please get in touch with us today for a free consultation with a qualified bus accident lawyer. Our law offices are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , and Cheery Hill, New Jersey, but we accept cases nationwide. We will answer all your questions and help you seek the compensation you deserve.