A bus is considered a common carrier, which is an individual or business that transports people, goods, or services for a fee. When it comes to people riding on buses, there are tons of people everyday who use public transportation to get to work and many children getting to school, and these common carriers have a responsibility to get them there safely. Common carriers work under the authority of a governmental body and their rules are regulated by those on a local, state, and federal level. (1)
Bus accidents happen all the time – inevitably, it is just the same as car accidents and sometimes these things will not be avoided. Just recently on May 5, 36 people had been injured and treated from injuries stemming from a coach bus in Derbyshire after a collision took place. (2) In an instant, anything can happen on the roadways no matter who was at fault. In the U.S., the Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees the regulatory department known as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) who is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. They promote highway safety and teach others on how they can become safe drivers, including those who operate buses and have many lives in their hands as a result. (3)
What do I need to do if I have been injured as a result of a bus crash?
Bus crashes are not like your typical car accident – it may be a bit more difficult to determine who was at fault for your accident involvement. For example, did harsh driving conditions or another driver cause the accident? Was the bus driver being negligent and not paying attention to their surroundings on the roadway? Did the manufacturer mess up somewhere along the lines and a faulty bus part was at fault? It is vital that you determine who was at fault if you plan to pursue an injury case, for these details can greatly determine how much money you are entitled to.
From there, you have to determine if you believe you are entitled to compensatory damages or punitive damages as a result. Compensatory damages will compensate for a loss or injury such as hospital bills, lost wages, or damage to your personal belongings. Punitive damages, however, are intended to punish whoever was at fault for the injuries and are generally used in cases of outrageous misconduct and negligence. Simple accidents normally do not call for punitive damages. However, this can change if the bus driver, bus manufacturer, or company somehow acted recklessly and this was the cause of your accident.
Bus accidents can vary a bit from typical car crashes. Some jurisdictions have damage caps, or limits on the amount that can be awarded in certain types of cases, so this could greatly affect damage awards. Furthermore, there are legal defenses like contributory and comparative negligence to consider how much will be awarded in the end. (4) It is hard to determine a precise amount on your case and will take the experience of a professional injury lawyer to determine for you. Schedule a consultation with WTW today to further discuss your options after a bus accident.