Buses transport millions of Americans every year across the country, and hundreds of thousands of people in Seattle, Kirkland, and Bellevue depend on the bus to transport them to their destination. Some people also use a bus, such as Greyhound bus, to transport them across the country, to various destinations. Not all buses are safe, however.
There were 625 bus accidents in 2015, the last year Washington State published their information. Of them, two involved fatal crashes, eight involved serious injuries, and another 177 involved minor injuries. While the chances of being hurt in a bus accident are small, there are obviously some unfortunate people who are hurt every year in bus accidents.Washington State Bus Accident Laws
There are a few different kinds of buses that people commonly ride. Among them are:
- School buses
- Charter buses
- City buses
- Greyhound buses
- Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach
- Coach USA
While it may seem like common sense to trust these forms of transportation, the truth is that on occasion the bus company is negligent in a couple of different ways with respect to their duties to keep passengers safe. The most common forms of negligence are:
- Failing to properly train a driver
- Failing to properly maintain a bus
- Failing to properly hire a driver
Any one of these things could lead to a very serious accident. The companies who hire bus drivers must make sure that the drivers they hire are competent and have the necessary physical, mental, and emotional skills to undertake a difficult and strenuous job.
These companies must properly vet each candidate and drivers must also make sure that the driver has passed his or her CDL, which stands for Commercial Driver’s License. A CDL is a separate license that a driver must obtain in order to operate a bus, whether that bus is a school bus, city bus, charter, or Greyhound bus.
Even if a company selects a driver who has a proper commercial driver’s license, bus crashes can still occur. Some of the more common reasons for bus accidents are as follows:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver inattention
- Driver inexperience
- Distracted driving
Recently, the University of Washington band team was injured in a bus rollover accident, and it is believed that this accident was caused by icy conditions on the road. It is very important that a bus driver is equipped to deal with icy or snowy roads while driving a bus. It is equally important for a bus company to put a bus on the road that is equipped to handle snowy or icy conditions on the road.
Some buses are simply too old and worn down to be able to handle being on the road that is snowy or icy.Common Bus Accident Injuries
If you have been injured in a bus accident, chances are high that you have significant injuries from the accident. After the accident, you should seek medical care from a qualified healthcare professional. Common healthcare providers are doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists, along with other specialized doctors who treat accident victims.
The most common injuries from bus accidents are:
- Broken bones
- Herniated discs
- ACL tears
If you have suffered injuries that are as described above, or any injury that causes you significant pain, then you need to seek immediate medical attention. While some injuries will resolve themselves on their own, many will not and will need to be addressed by a medical professional who has a special emphasis on the part of your body that ails you.How The Jackman Law Firm can Help
After a bus accident, you are likely dealing with a lot. Pain and medical appointments. Insurance companies calling. Unable to work or do the things you normally did before the accident. Do not go through this process alone. The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover the following:
- Money to pay medical bills
- Money for lost wages
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for out of pocket expenses
In addition to the above, the Jackman Law Firm can also help with another crucial thing you may be facing: proving you were not legally responsible for the accident. Fortunately, many buses now have cameras on them that will capture the accident, which can be necessary in order to prove you were not at fault if the bus company alleges that you were at fault in some way, which normally means alleging you swerved in front of a bus or that you braked suddenly in front of a bus.
In any event, if a bus company and their insurance company alleges this, there is a solution for you, which is to hire an attorney who is experienced and qualified to prove that you were fault-free. This can be done in a variety of ways, but the most common are by sending a subpoena for video surveillance and records, including a police report, and interviewing witnesses and bystanders who might have witnessed the accident.
If your injuries were the result of a bus driver’s negligence, or because of a bus being poorly maintained, then you have a claim that can be made against the bus company. If the bus happens to be a city bus, there are specific requirements and steps you have to take before you file a lawsuit. If you do not follow these very specific steps, your claim could be dismissed, no matter how serious your case may be or how obvious the fault on the driver may appear. The Jackman Law Firm can help you follow these steps.
In addition, if something obvious happened to cause the bus accident, such as brake failure or a tire blowout, then the Jackman Law Firm can help by sending subpoenas and doing discovery to obtain internal company documents to help show that the bus company was negligent in how they operated and conducted business.
If you have questions, feel free to call for a free consultation.