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Bus Accidents in Philadelphia

Many people rely on buses each and every day. Even if you do not use a bus to get to work, perhaps your children use a bus to get to and from school. For travel, some people look to charter busses as a more affordable alternative to flying or a more convenient and stress-free alternative to driving themselves. But, what happens when the bus that you are riding on or have entrusted to get your children to school each morning has an accident? If you are injured, can you receive damages and who has liability?

Bus Accidents Overview

Busses, whether they are owned by a company or run by a state or town government (such as most school buses), fall under common carrier law because they offer a transportation service to people. Common carriers are any company or organization that supplies transportation to individuals or goods for a price.

Common carriers abide by laws that differ from state to state and sometimes even town to town. If a carrier is transporting property or people across multiple states, then the federal government is the primary regulator of common carrier law in this case. At the federal level, common carrier regulation falls under the Interstate Commerce Act and its 1935 amendment through the Motor Carrier Act.

Because of their size and precious cargo of passengers, operators of buses have a broad legal responsibility to show an extremely high level of care and safety when driving. You have a similar duty of attention when you are driving your car, but bus drivers have to take on an added level of care and concern for not only the road and other drivers but also the well-being of the passengers on board.

An accident involving a bus follows a lot of the same processes as a typical car accident case would. All involved parties and available witnesses provide their testimonies to determine whose negligence caused the crash. Sometimes, there is more than one party at fault. When a bus driver is responsible for the oversight, the penalties can be much more severe for the driver, or his/her carrier company, because of the higher duty of care expected of them as a transporter of passengers.

Recovering Damages From a Bus Accident

If you are a passenger on a bus that is involved in an accident and you sustain injuries, it is important to know how to recover damages and from whom, as liability can sometimes be difficult to discern in these situations.

If the accident is caused by the negligence of the bus driver, the drivers carrier company will often assume liability. It is their responsibility to properly train their drivers and perform the necessary background checks to ensure that they are a safe and responsible person, which is why the liability is on them, instead of the driver

This is not always the case. If the driver acted in a way that they knowingly went against their training or company guidelines, then that liability can fall on their shoulders. This, however, is up to the carrier company to determine and not any of the victims.

The process becomes even harder to navigate if the carrier is operated by a local or state government, as a school bus. This is very common. School buses, in particular, are involved in the highest number of accidents where a passenger fatality occurs. 37% of deaths caused by an accident with a bus are carriers transporting students.

If this is the case, you have to file the claim in a relatively quick amount of time, as the statute of limitations is much stricter when a government-operated carrier is at fault. Each state handles this process differently, and there may even be additional forms and hurdles that you must traverse. Thus, the right bus accident lawyer is necessary to help ensure that this process is completed correctly and on time.

In cases where the bus driver is not the negligible party, and another driver caused the accident, you will make a third-party claim with the insurance company of the driver for any damages, including things like medical costs or loss of wages. These bus accident claims usually result in an injury settlement.

Conclusion

With all of the different variables that can go into a bus accident case, having the right legal help on your side can make a huge difference and greatly increase your chances of recovering the damages you are owed. If your son or daughter has been injured as a result of a school bus accident, it is especially crucial to seek the help of an experienced law firm because this process requires both speed and expertise to navigate and file a successful claim.