West Palm Beach Bus Accident Lawyer
Florida Bus Accident Lawyers
Hundreds of bus accidents occur every year, causing damage, injuries, and even death. Due to the size and weight of buses, bus accidents are more likely to cause fatalities and severe injuries than other types of automobile accidents. Bus accident lawyers may be able to recover compensation for patients that have been injured in bus accidents or family members of victims that have perished in bus accidents.
Bus Accident Law
Bus regulations and bus accidents fall under common carrier law. Common carrier laws govern businesses that transport people or goods for a fee. Common carriers are expected to uphold a higher duty of care for passengers, since those passengers are being charged a fee. While other automobiles on the road owe a duty of care to ensure the safety of others on the road, common carriers are expected to ensure the safety of all passengers as well as other motorists. Breach of this duty may be considered negligence.
Vehicles that are considered to be common carriers may include:
- Tour buses
- Cruise ships
- Commercial buses
- School buses
- Trucks, in some cases
Bus Accident Causes
Bus accidents may be caused by many factors similar to that of other types of automobile accidents. Hazardous road conditions and inclement weather are external factors that may cause accidents. Manufacturing and design defects may cause mechanical problems that can result in accidents. Weight distribution in the bus may also make the vehicle more prone to accidents when traveling up steep hills or maneuvering sharp turns.
Bus Company Negligence
Negligence on the part of the bus driver or bus company may also cause bus accidents. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, and driving while fatigued are bus driver behaviors that may cause accidents. Failure to properly maintain the bus and failure to provide proper bus driver training are bus company behaviors that may contribute to accidents.
Bus Accident Liability
Determining liability for bus accidents may become complicated. If negligent actions of the bus driver caused the accident, the driver may be held liable for the accident. However, if the driver was following bus company rules or did not receive proper training to handle the situation that caused the accident, the bus company may be held accountable for the accident. The bus company may also be held liable if the accident was a result of poor vehicle maintenance. If the bus was public, government entities may be responsible for covering costs associated with the accident although there may be liability limitations on the amount that will be paid out to victims.
If a bus accident was caused by faulty equipment, the manufacturer of the bus or the specific parts that caused the accident may be liable. A bus accident attorney can be very helpful in pursuing a case of this nature, as the testimony of an expert in the field is generally required to prove that the faulty parts were not a result of improper maintenance. An attorney can also help victims speak to the bus company to gather documentation that can be used as evidence.
Bus Accident Lawsuits in Florida
Most bus accident lawsuits are either personal injury cases or wrongful death claims. In both cases, it will be necessary to show how negligence of a responsible party caused the accident that resulted in death or injury. Victims may be able to recover damages for lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering. In some cases, the company may be charged punitive damages to discourage future negligence.
Statute of Limitations
As with other types of accident claims, bus accident claims must be filed within a certain time frame. This time frame may vary from state to state. Bus accident lawyers will be able to provide advice regarding the timeframe in which to file and can help bus accident victims compile all needed documentation and testimony within that timeframe.
“Bus Accident Law.” HG.org. HG.org, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. <http://www.hg.org/bus-accidents.html>
“Traffic Safety Facts.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation, 1 June 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. <http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811890.pdf>
Wihbey, John. “Bus Crashes in the United States: What Does the Research Say?” Journalists Resource RSS. Harvard Kennedy School Shorestein Center, 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2014