While bus travel is considered to be a safe alternative to driving, there are still many accidents each year that result in death or serious injury. Over 70% of the bus related accidents are the result of driver error. While bus drivers are held to a higher standard than the average drivers, mistakes happen. A bus driver may be unfamiliar with the roadway or driving conditions of an area of highway during inclement or unsafe weather. Other common issues that lead to accidents are mechanical related issues.
Unfortunately, due to the common lack of seat belts or other restraints, bus accidents are actually more likely to produce traumatic injuries, especially to the head and brain, than accidents involving passenger vehicles. Riders can be thrown from their seats, striking walls or other passengers, drastically increasing the chance of serious injury. In other cases, luggage or other unsecured cargo can fly around the passenger compartment and result in injuries. For all this reason, bus accidents have a higher rate of passenger fatalities than other forms of vehicular accidents.
The most common types of bus related transportation include tour buses, charter buses, and for children, school buses. When it comes to school buses, recent studies indicate that approximately 17,000 children are injured in a school bus accident each year in the United States. This is double the amount previously thought. In many school bus accidents, drivers were distracted by activities on the bus and as a result, lost control of the vehicle.
A bus related accident is always a traumatic event, but it is important to obtain effective and knowledgeable legal assistance immediately. A victim of a bus related accident should never sign any documents or come to any agreement with the representatives of the bus company until he or she has had time to confer with a qualified accident attorney. Just as with an auto or any other accident, effective legal representation will allow the victim to ensure that all of his or her rights are fully protected and the maximum possible compensation is arrived at. A skilled accident attorney will be able to effectively evaluate the following factors:
• the at-fault party in the bus accident.
• The nature and severity of the client’s injuries.
• If the victim was killed in the accident, the nature and amount of damages that will be due to his or her next of kin.
• The best legal strategy to use to obtain the maximum possible compensation for the victim and his or her family.
When involved in a bus accident, or any other type of accident, your first step is to seek immediate medical assistance and contact law enforcement. Once these immediate needs are taken care of those involved and/or injured in an accident should seek legal counsel to guide them through next steps.