Bus Accident Attorneys
Buses can be convenient and economical for moving large groups of people or taking long trips. However, while the number of accidents involving buses is still relatively small, bus accidents do occur. In addition to the risk of accidents from a mass transit bus, school buses, charter, and other private-use buses also contribute to the number of bus accidents each year.
School Bus Accidents
School buses are the largest type of mass transit in the United States, providing almost nine million student trips every year. In comparison, school buses trip more than double those of transit buses each year.
School buses pose a unique set of dangers to school-age children. Statistics vary, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 450,000 school buses in service. More than 25 million students ride a school bus each day.
School bus accidents can occur for many reasons, including driver negligence, dangerous roadways, weather conditions, defective products, and improper maintenance. According to school bus accident statistics, almost one half (45 percent) of all school bus accidents involve impacts to the front end of a school bus. Other common crash types include right side impacts, non-collisions, and left side impacts, rear-end collisions, top impacts, and rollover accidents. Most buses do not have airbags.
School bus accidents may lead to death or serious physical injury, including:
- Head injuries
- Burn injuries
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Fractured bones
- Cuts and bruising
- Internal injuries
Child Crossing Accidents:
These types of accidents occur when a child is hit or run over by a school bus. It is estimated that two of every three children killed outside a school bus are struck by a bus, not another vehicle. This happens when a bus driver fails to account for all children boarding and exiting the bus, unexpectedly moves the bus, or simply fails to see a child in the roadway.
Crossing arms are a recent safety device that protects children from injury. School bus crossing arms extend from the right side of the bus to a number of feet in front of the bus, which requires a child to cross the street a number of feet in front of the bus. This takes children out of the school bus driver’s blind spot.
BUS DRIVERS’ LICENSES
Bus drivers, like truck drivers, are expected to go through a rigorous training program before being licensed to drive a bus. Federal law recognizes that driving a bus comes with a much larger risk than driving a car, and has increased the requirements for bus drivers accordingly.
All drivers of any type of large bus (weighing over 10,000 pounds), including school buses, tour buses, and city buses, must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Most driver’s licenses are regulated by the states, but CDLs are standardized at the federal level by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. However, state law also plays a role: each state may have slightly different requirements for bus driver’s licenses, which may go beyond the federal standards.
If you are a bus driver, or if you have been in a bus accident and believe that the driver may not have been properly licensed, it is important to be familiar with the federal bus licensing laws, as well as the precise requirements for your state.
BUSES ACCIDENTS AND CLAIMS AGAINST THE STATE
There is another complication that makes bus accident lawsuits more difficult than those involving ordinary car accidents: most public transit buses are owned by the local municipal governments of the cities in which they operate.
Many municipal governments self-insure: they provide their own insurance to pay claims out of the government funds.
Filing a claim against the government is complex, and there many rules that may not apply to insurance companies. They may deny your claim according to different standards than private insurers, so the assistance of a Bus Accident Lawyer can help.
If your claim is denied, your next step is to file a bus accident lawsuit. When you file suit against a public bus, you are directly suing the government, so certain restrictions apply.
Lawsuits against a government entity are impeded by the legal standard of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a doctrine that comes from English common law and stipulates that government entities cannot be sued unless they explicitly permit it. There are caps on the amount of money you can receive in a bus accident lawsuit.
For example, the statute of limitations, or the period during which you can file a lawsuit after an accident, is much shorter for a government agency than it is for a private entity. If you don’t file your bus accident lawsuit timely, you’ll lose your chance forever.
So, don’t waste any time after a municipal or school bus accident! Call one of our Bus Accident Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm attorney today.
As Bus Accident Lawyers, We Can Help
We focus on complex and technical cases for our clients. The Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has experience in litigating bus accidents and car accidents. We are here to help you evaluate and pursue claims stemming from accidents involving you or your family. We also handle bus accident cases in Georgia. If you have questions about a bus accident claim, contact the bus accident lawyers at the Strom Law Firm today for a free consultation (803) 252-4800.