Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accident Cases & Lawyers
Bus accident cases, and particularly those that involve commercial common carriers, may involve large settlements, given the injuries that may be present. Common carriers like Greyhound and casino charters weigh many tons, and when they collide with another object, be it a vehicle or obstruction, they become a terrifying tumbling mass of metal. Even passengers inside the common carrier are at severe risk of injury, as the vehicle’s integrity may fail, and there are typically no safety restraints on board. In short, common carriers rely on the vehicle’s enormous bulk to keep everyone inside safe, but that is taking a major gamble.
And the situation is even more worrying when considering how many drivers are unfit for the job. While not all that common, there are drivers with multiple offenses on their record that still manage to become carrier drivers. Every year, multiple bus accident cases involve a driver that was clearly a poor choice for the position. Common carriers are required to thoroughly check their drivers during the hiring process, and if they don’t, they may be held liable in addition to the driver.
WHAT NORMALLY CAUSES A BUS ACCIDENT?
Most cases do not involve dangerous driving on bus driver’s part. In fact, only four percent of all crashes, according to the Journal of Safety Research, are due to the driver making dangerous maneuvers or engaging in risky behaviors. This was the case in 2007, when a Greyhound driver wrecked the vehicle while making multiple calls on a cell phone. The driver and Greyhound were both found liable for damages.
Other drivers and pedestrians can put the common carrier in a bad spot, forcing the driver to make a dangerous move or slam on the brakes. Poor road conditions can do the same, as can inclement weather. It is also the common carrier’s duty to ensure all vehicles are maintained well. This means frequent inspections that verify the engine, lights, brakes, doors and tires are all functioning like they should. If mechanical failure is found to be a cause of the crash, the company responsible for maintaining the vehicle will also be named as a defendant.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES CAN FOLLOW A BUS ACCIDENT?
These cases often include terrible injuries, many of them long-term or permanent. When a common carrier is involved in a crash, passengers can sustain injury in a number of ways. The vehicle’s frame can fail, crushing passengers or producing lacerations. Passengers may be thrown against seats or rails, resulting in contusions or broken bones. Finally, passengers may be thrown from the vehicle, which often results in the most severe injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spine injuries are possible, and both can produce lifelong complications, such as paralysis, loss of cognitive function, or profound psychological issues. Chronic pain, loss of mobility and severe cosmetic injuries are also common.
Recovering from these injuries is a challenge, but an injury attorney can help a victim challenge a common carrier on their negligent practices.