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Who Is Liable for Injuries in Bus Accidents?

Posted on in Bus Accident Injury

Illinois injury attorney, Illinois bus accident lawyer, Illinois personal injury lawyer,Public transportation is a way of life in the Chicago-metro area. Every day, thousands of commuters ride the bus to work both in and out of the city, and children are transported to and from school by bus nearly every day of the year. With so many buses on the road, car accidents are inevitable, and on many occasions, injuries result.

Early this year, at least five people were injured when a school bus and a car collided in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. Yet another accident left 25 people injured, including several high school basketball players, when a car sideswiped a school bus. In most car accidents, it is relatively simple to determine who is at fault and, therefore, who is liable for any injuries sustained, but when a bus is involved, there may be many factors involved that can affect who is responsible for covering the damages.

Bus Accident Data

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that 3,978 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2014, a 5 percent decrease from 2013. Still, the number of fatal crashes has increased 20 percent since 2009. The number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses increased 55 percent between 2009 and 2014. School buses accounted for 41 percent of bus accidents, transit buses accounted for 33 percent, and intercity buses accounted for 13 percent of crashes. The Illinois Department of Transportation reported 1,766 crashes involving school buses in Illinois in 2014 that injured 157 students and 72 drivers. 2014 also saw 2,699 crashes involving other types of buses that injured 546 people and killed at least seven.

Who Is Liable?

Determining who is at fault and thus liable for damages resulting from a bus accident may depend on the cause of the accident. Common causes of bus accidents include negligent drivers, insufficient bus maintenance and repair, and oftentimes other negligent drivers on the road. A bus driver is considered a common carrier and is held to the highest standard of care in transporting passengers. If a driver has been failed to exercise the highest standard of care in protecting his or her passengers, the driver may be found negligent and thus liable for the accident.

In a case where a driver is an employee of a company, the doctrine of vicarious liability may allow an injured party to file a claim against both the driver and his or her employer because it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their employees follow such standards of care and do not drive negligently. In a case where a bus or its equipment has malfunctioned or is found to be defective and consequently caused an accident, the bus company, and its manufacturer may be liable, as it is the responsibility of both parties to ensure that all equipment is in good working order. If another vehicle on the road has caused an accident with the bus due to negligent or reckless driving, the driver of that vehicle may be held liable for any resulting injuries.

In addition to Illinois requirements governing public transportation systems like the CTA, Pace, and Metra, federal requirements also cover passenger carriers and set forth specific laws for filing lawsuits. In some cases, laws protect transportation companies by setting a shorter statute of limitations – the amount of time you have after an accident to file a claim – so it is extremely important to contact an experienced attorney for help if you have been injured in an accident.

Need Bus Accident Help?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to help you through this difficult process. The experienced Lake County accident attorneys at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. can provide the representation you need and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 847-662-3303 to schedule your free case consultation today.





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