The Farmingdale bus crash serves as a reminder that bus accidents can take place at any time and without warning. Scores of people in the U.S. rely on bus transportation, and buses play a key role in getting millions of students to school. As a result, a bus crash can lead to drastic consequences. Unfortunately, there’s no telling when tragedy might strike, and if it does, it’s best to have an experienced bus accident lawyer by your side. Knowing what to expect going forward might also hold you in good stead.
School Bus Crashes in Numbers
Data collated by the National Safety Council sheds light on school bus-related accidents in the U.S. It indicates that 108 people lost their lives in school bus-related crashes in 2021. In 2020, this number stood at 54. In addition, between 2012 and 2021:
- Around 70% of all fatalities that involved school bus-related crashes were people in other vehicles.
- Pedestrians accounted for 16%.
- Bus passengers accounted for 5%, as did bus drivers.
- 3% were cyclists.
When it comes to injuries suffered in school bus-related crashes during the same period:
- 53% were people in other vehicles.
- 30% were bus passengers.
- 9% were bus drivers.
- Pedestrians, cyclists, and others accounted for the remainder.
What Makes Bus Crashes Different?
A bus-related accident is one in which there’s a direct or indirect involvement of a bus, irrespective of its body’s size or design. What sets a bus accident apart from a car accident or a motorcycle accident is the magnitude of damage it can cause because of the sheer weight and size of most buses. For example, a head-on collision between a commercial bus and a small car can lead to dire consequences for occupants of the latter.
The Liability Factor
There’s another important factor that affects bus accidents, and this revolves around liability. In a typical automobile accident, liability typically rests with the driver responsible for the crash. However, when it comes to a bus accident, it might be possible to hold one or more parties liable, which might include:
- A tour operator
- A bus company
- A bus manufacturer
- A school district
- The government
Bear in mind that the law requires large bus companies like Greyhound and FlixBus to carry multi-million-dollar liability insurance policies. However, if you’re seeking compensation for injuries that arise owing to a crash, they typically try to offer settlements at rather low price points. Since this is not in your best interest, consulting a bus accident attorney is the ideal way to go.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accident attorneys come across different types of bus accidents and the reasons for the crashes are rather varied. Here are some of the most common ones.
- Bus driver error. Negligence on the part of a bus driver might lead to a fatal or serious accident. Common forms of negligence include speeding, fatigued driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and driving when intoxicated.
- Mechanical failure or defects. Much like other vehicles, regular maintenance of buses is crucial for their safe operation. Bus accidents may occur owing to stalled engines, poor brakes, balding tires, faulty suspension systems, and even manufacturing defects. Besides, even something as seemingly trivial as a faulty latch on an overhead storage container might lead to an injury.
- Negligence of a bus company. Bus companies can be negligent in different ways. These include asking their drivers to drive for extended durations, not providing suitable training, and failing to maintain their buses well. Not having adequate safety policies or not implementing them might also be a problem.
- Negligence of other drivers. Negligence on the part of other drivers is not uncommon when it comes to bus accidents, and the reasons are largely the same as the ones that apply to bus driver errors.
- Poor condition of roads. The weight and size of a bus make it more difficult to maneuver than smaller vehicles, making it harder for bus drivers to avoid hazards like uneven pavements, potholes, and debris.
- Weather. Inclement weather conditions, especially in regions that experience harsh winters, might lead to bus accidents. This is because heavy rain, fog, snow, and ice might result in slippery roads and reduced visibility.
Bus accidents account for some of the most serious road accidents in the country. This is because they hold the potential of causing serious injury or even death. Since buses tend to carry a lot of people, they may affect more individuals in a crash than other types of road accidents. Besides, since several people tend to travel while standing, and even the ones who sit might not have seat belts or airbags, there’s a risk of suffering serious injuries.
The severity of injuries can vary significantly from one bus accident to the next as well as from person to person. Whether the injured person is a bus passenger, a passenger of another vehicle, or a pedestrian might also play a role in the severity. Some common types of bus accident injuries include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Facial injuries
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spine injuries
- Psychological injuries
If you’ve suffered or are suffering because of a bus accident, chances are you might be up against a company that has a team of lawyers at its service. This could be a bus company or an insurance provider. Besides, various factors might affect the outcome of your case, and it’s important to build one that promises the best possible results. Since bus accident lawyers do this for a living, they know just how to look for and where when it comes to pinning liability and seeking suitable compensation.
If you feel wronged and wish to seek damages for your suffering, getting advice from a bus accident attorney who specializes in personal injury litigation might be in your best interest. If an out-of-court settlement does not work in your favor, your attorney can even represent you in court.