It’s something you probably don’t think about too often, but when you step aboard a bus, you are literally putting your life into the hands of someone other than yourself. Although statistics show that traveling by bus is safer than getting around by car or motorcycle, bus accidents are far from unheard of. If anything should happen to harm you during your time on board, would you or a third party really be to blame?
The aftermath of any bus accident can be serious. Buses do not provide riders with airbag protection, and few offer seat belts. If a crash should occur, the injuries suffered by you and your fellow travelers could therefore be quite serious. These will often consist of:
- Broken bones.
- Internal damage.
You might be hit by another passenger’s personal possessions. If worse comes to worst, you could also be killed.
If any of the above should happen, would you have any legal rights?
While the law requires anyone who drives a car to carry insurance, you’d be hard-pressed to find a public transportation passenger carrying anything similar. Therefore, the ability of any injured bus rider to seek damages as compensation for injuries suffered will vary.
For example, if the driver of another vehicle has caused the accident, you can file a third-party claim with his or her insurance company. On the other hand, if the accident resulted from a malfunction of the bus itself, you can file suit against the bus company as well as its manufacturer.
When the bus operates under the aegis of a school district or other local government entity, things can get more complicated. If you are lucky, the guilty party will honor your claim. If it fails to do so, you will have no choice but to file a suit for personal injury. This can be complicated. You may have an abbreviated period during which to pursue your action. To make matters even worse, some governments enjoy immunity against this type of lawsuit.
Proving Negligence When Injured on a Bus
Regardless of how the accident unfolded, it will still be the responsibility of any injured passenger to prove negligence on the part of whomever or whatever he or she believes to have been the responsible party. If at the time of the crash the bus was traveling at a high rate of speed, its driver would likely be at fault. Similarly, either the bus company or the vehicle’s manufacturer could be to blame if faulty equipment should prove to have been the culprit.
On the other hand, if a bus driver who was traveling at legal speeds had been forced into a losing situation because a panel truck had run a red light or a drunken driver had cut him off, the fault would likely lie with that misbehaving third party.
Of course, any passenger who suffers injury in a bus accident must also bear responsibility for his or her own actions. For example, if the bus was equipped with operational seat belts, the rider who failed to buckle up might have difficulty proving negligence altogether or could be found to have been at least partially at fault for any resulting injuries.
What to Do After the Accident
After being involved in a bus accident, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention, even if you think you have not suffered any harm. Some types of injury do not make themselves instantly apparent.
Also, if you are able, try to document whatever you can of the incident. Take pictures if possible and get the names and contact information of responding members of law enforcement as well as of any witnesses you can find.
It is also wise to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as you can. The lawyers at Powerhouse Injury Attorneys will explain your rights and do all within our power to obtain for you the settlement you deserve. However, to ensure retention of your rights, it’s important that you take this step as soon as possible. Don’t risk losing the compensation to which you are entitled. Call Powerhouse Injury Attorneys for a free consultation today: 702-444-2222