Bus Accidents: A Legal Perspective

female sitting on a bus listening to headphones

Buses are a chosen mode of transportation for many Chicago commuters. Unfortunately, these heavy vehicles can cause serious injuries to passengers and other vehicles on the road.  There are various causes of bus accidents and many injuries that can result ranging from scratches to severe bodily trauma, and sometimes even death.

Establishing the cause of an accident is critical to be able to file a personal injury claim, and getting your injuries diagnosed correctly after an accident is important for compensation purposes. Let's take a look at common causes of bus accidents, injuries that commonly occur, and how to file a personal injury claim if you've been in a bus accident.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

Bus accidents can happen for many reasons, and no one person is always to blame. Bus accidents aren't handled the same as other car accidents. You can't just deal with it on the side of the road after the fact. The process is much more involved than that because a bus is so large, has multiple blind spots, and is carrying passengers at any given time.

Sometimes, bus accidents can result because the driver doesn't have good enough visibility due to the lack of mirrors or weather conditions. Or the bus driver may not even be at fault because a different car or unforeseen object or person contributes to the accident. A vehicle may have malfunctioning parts that even careful driving can't control or prevent. Whatever the case may be for an accident, it's important to take note of all the details you can so that you can help identify the parties that are liable and can file a personal injury claim. Let's take a look at some common ones.

Negligent Driving

Drivers play a huge role in ensuring the safety of their passengers and other people around them. Bus drivers, in particular, are expected to be well trained and have a commercial driver's license. Their training should be more involved than others, but sometimes a driver gets a job despite not being qualified.

If an unskilled, undertrained driver is given a job, there is greater potential for poor decision-making and they pose a greater risk. If you suffer injuries from an unqualified driver, you should be able to hold the driver and their employer liable.

Defective Roads

Dangerous roads that haven't been fixed by those responsible can be the cause of accidents. Common road defects that can endanger drivers include:

  • Uneven and cracked pavement
  • Broken or missing traffic signs that misguide drivers
  • Inadequate lighting on the street
  • Potholes
  • Obstacles on the road
  • Excessive grades
  • Weak guardrails
  • Lack of speed bumps on a road

Any of these can cause a driver to lose control of a bus and result in injuries. The longer the defection has existed, the stronger your case could be. Whoever was in charge of making sure the defection was taken care of can be held liable for any injuries you sustain. After the accident, make sure to take photos of anything that can identify the hazard, as this can help your case.

Poorly Maintained Buses

Bus companies and owners are responsible for maintaining their buses, and when they neglect to do so, they put their passengers and others on the road at risk. A bus must be regularly maintained and serviced to properly function on the road. Many maintenance defects can be prevented.

Some common issues that can cause a bus accident include: * Worn-out tires * Broken tail lights * Defective brake lights * Faulty steering mechanisms

If you suffer a personal injury from a poorly maintained bus, you could hold the bus company liable. When you file this lawsuit, you'll need to have proof that there was a mechanical malfunction involved that caused the accident. If the mechanical malfunction was caused by a faulty part from a manufacturer, the manufacturer would actually be held liable.

Bus Accident Injuries

Bus accidents typically result in pretty severe injuries. Depending on the nature of the bus accident that you were in, you may experience the following injuries:

  1. Whiplash: This can happen if the bus makes sudden stops or hits another object. The body moves forward and backward so quickly that it causes a snapping of the neck. 
  2. Head injuries: Bus accidents can cause head injuries in a number of ways, including hitting objects or severe shaking. If your head hits anything in an accident, you could suffer from a head or brain injury that may or may not be serious. Even if you think you may be okay, it's better to see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and ensure that you aren't at risk of negative health consequences as a result of the injury. Some bus accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries that can have lasting effects, and may require you to have an extended stay at the hospital. Many brain injuries don't show symptoms right away, so it's always best to see a doctor right away.
  3. Spinal injuries: Spinal injuries are fairly common in bus accidents. If one spinal disc is injured, your entire spinal cord may be damaged. This types of injuries can be either partial or complete. An incomplete injury could cause a malfunction from the lower part of your spine and damage your reproductive organs and bladder. If you have a complete injury, your motor functions will likely be affected. Many spinal cord injuries result in partial or full paralysis.
  4. Broken bones: Depending on the severity of your injury, any bones you break in a bus accident can take a long time to heal. They can also incur high costs to be treated, and may affect your ability to work.
  5. Cuts and lacerations: These are more common on bus injuries, as glass tends to break when there is a bus accident. Deep cuts can require reconstructive surgeries, scars can damage skin nerves and tissue, and your self esteem can be hurt in the process, causing emotional suffering.
  6. Internal injuries: These are some of the most severe that you can sustain from a bus accident. They can result from sharp objects tearing into your body or from forceful impact. They can be challenging to detect and should be tested for following an accident where you think you may have been impacted. The most common types of this injury are ruptured spleens, internal bleeding, brain bleeds, and other injuries to your organs.

Keep all reports of your injuries and treatments from your doctor to be used as evidence when you file a personal injury claim. This can help ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Bus Accident Injury

If you have been left with injuries resulting from a bus accident, don't file on your own. Our lawyers  can get you the compensation you deserve for the injuries and distress you've sustained. Many injuries can take a toll on your entire life, not just your body, and there are things (such as financial burdens and emotional distress) that a lawyer can account for when filing your claim. Submit the form for a free consultation with us and we'll take a look at your case and use our decades of experience to help you and your family during this difficult time.