ARE BUS ACCIDENTS TREATED THE SAME AS MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS?
Buses are generally recognized as a safe mode of transportation.
- Children ride on buses to go to school;
- Adults use buses to travel to and from work; and
- Buses are also used to shuttle tourists around.
Buses are typically safe and are not involved in as many accidents as other types of vehicles. However, thousands of people are injured in bus accidents every year. While some bus accidents are minor… other bus accidents can be catastrophic and/or fatal.
ARE INJURIES ACTUALLY DIFFERENT IN A BUS ACCIDENT?
Like other traffic accidents, bus accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. These include whiplash, bruises, concussion, broken bones, and organ damage. Sometimes, these injuries result in death.
Bus accidents tend to result in unique injuries due to their design. Due to buses having a high center of gravity, they are more likely to roll over when they are involved in a crash.
Since buses do not have seat belts, passengers are also more likely to be thrown around on impact. In addition, passengers may be carrying all kinds of loose items, therefore there are more potential projectiles in a bus accident. Therefore, while it is less likely that a bus will get involved in an accident, the injuries can be quite serious when a collision does occur.
WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF BUS ACCIDENTS?
Bus accidents can be caused by the actions of the driver, a third party or external factors or sometimes a smaller vehicle hits the bus and forces the driver to lose control. Some bus accidents are caused simply because of the bus drivers negligence.
Despite the fact that the bus company and its drivers are responsible for the lives of numerous consumers, they break traffic laws, company rules. Bus drivers may speed, ignore traffic lights and signs or use their phones while driving. When they do this, they should be held responsible for the injuries that result.
Other times, the bus may be the problem. Some accidents are caused by poor maintenance, outdated equipment, brake failure or fire. When this is the case, the owner of the bus, the mechanics who repaired it, or the manufacturer of the parts may be responsible. If road defects contributed to the accident, you may be able to go after yet another party.
WHO IS LIABLE IN A BUS ACCIDENT?
Because of all the factors mentioned above, the answer is it depends. Bus accidents present unique legal challenges. If another vehicle caused the accident, you can seek compensation from that driver’s insurer. However, if the bus driver is at fault, things may be more difficult. Buses are usually owned by government departments, school districts or charter companies. Bringing a successful lawsuit against them will be more difficult than negotiating with an individual’s insurance company. That’s why an experienced Alabama accident lawyer will be able to navigate you through the legal/claims process.
ARE THERE TIME LIMITS FOR FILING A BUS ACCIDENT LAWSUIT IN ALABAMA?
Alabama has a law called a “statute of limitations” which sets a lime limit for filing different kinds of lawsuits.
For personal injury cases, the time limit in Alabama is two years, meaning you must file a lawsuit against any potential defendant within two years of the date of your accident. (See Ala. Code. Sec. 6-2-38.)
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