According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) 19,000 Americans are injured in bus accidents in the US every year. About 100 buses a year are involved in a fatal accident, often involving more than one fatality and many injuries. The US states of California, New York and Florida have the most bus accidents each year.
Buses are large, heavy, and difficult to drive. Human error is the key factor in bus accidents. Inadequate vehicle maintenance, lack of driver experience and poor driver training play major roles in bus accidents. Alcohol also plays a big part.
Bus Accidents Cause Traumatic Injuries.
Bus accidents can cause a variety of traumatic serious injuries including brain and spinal cord injuries, fractures and abrasions, burn injuries, internal injuries, soft-tissue injuries and even death.
Are you safer in a school bus or in a municipal bus? According to the NHTSA, school buses account for 39% of annual US bus fatalities, while muni buses account for 37% of fatalities each year. So it's about the same.
Litigating After A Bus Accident Different From Auto Accident.
But that's where the similarity ends. It is much easier to establish liability against a privately-owned bus than against a government-owned vehicle. Dealing with a bus company, government agency or insurance company after a bus accident is very different from what you have to deal with after a car accident.
Liability for bus accidents is usually easy to establish if the bus is privately owned. Regarding private companies, states consider owners of a bus to be "common carriers". In most states, common carriers have a higher level of responsibility towards their passengers as well as to others on the road. In many cases, establishing liability against a common carrier is relatively easy.
Lack of Vehicle Maintenance a Leading Cause of Bus Accidents.
Buses require regular maintenance in order to function safely. If that heavy-duty braking system isn't regularly maintained, there are soon going to be problems down the road - if you'll excuse the pun. But bus companies only make money when their buses are working, so maintenance is often overlooked or ignored. Airlines are required by the FAA to regularly maintain their aircraft, but no government agency supervises bus safety so closely. If the bus company failed to properly maintain their bus, or if it overloaded its buses or did not provide safety equipment, liability can be established. But issues like road conditions, weather conditions and other factors can further complicate the litigation.
Liability Against Governmental Authority Difficult to Establish.
However, it may be harder to establish liability when a bus is owned by a government authority. Even in cases where it can be established that the driver was at fault, compensation to injured parties may be avoided using "government immunity". These governmental immunity laws vary from state to state and can be fraught with complexity.
Relief For Medical Bills, Lost Earnings, Pain and Suffering.
Victims of bus accidents have to survive the long haul from a long a painful recovery, huge medical bills piling up, loss of income from being disabled, or distress from the loss of a loved one. Law firms have to put in significant time and resources to each case and usually do not see any reward until they collect. This is where Nationwide Litigation Funding comes in: we provide non-recourse funding to law firms until their cases settle. Non-recourse funding is not a loan, and does not have to be paid back if the outcome of the case is not successful. There are no credit checks, employment verification or monthly payments as there would be on a loan from a bank or public institution. And since our investors are private, intimate details of your case and medical condition need not be publicly disclosed as would be required when dealing with a public corporation or institution.