Bus Accident Lawyer in Louisiana
City buses are a crucial piece of many people’s daily travel, and thousands rely on them to commute to work, run errands, and more. The people who ride on these buses, as well as the other commuters and drivers who share the road with buses, also trust that they’ll be driven safely and soberly.
Unfortunately, accidents happen for a variety of reasons. In addition, because city buses, school buses, and commercial buses are much larger than most passenger cars, when a crash happens it’s much more likely that the passengers of the smaller vehicle will experience personal injuries than those in the bus.
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that in 2019, Louisiana was the site of 286 bus crashes, resulting in 803 injuries and 5 deaths. While being injured in a bus crash is rare, it does happen—and if it’s happened to you, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. Contact Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys today to schedule a free consultation about your case.
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Causes of Bus Accidents
Louisiana suffers a higher rate of automobile crashes than the rest of the country, for a variety of reasons. Studies by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and others have shown that the following causes contribute heavily to this distressing figure:
- Improper use, or disuse, of seatbelts
- Speeding, tailgating, and other forms of aggressive driving
- Failure to stay within the lane of travel
- Driving while drunk or otherwise impaired
- Young or inexperienced drivers
In addition, there are some broader contributing causes to bus accidents that can lead to a wreck:
- Bus driver negligence, such as driving distractedly, driving fatigued, driving recklessly, or otherwise failing to obey traffic laws, can put bus passengers and other users of the roadway at risk. Because of their public-facing jobs and the relatively primitive on-board safety features of buses, drivers have a great responsibility to stay vigilant while they drive. Negligence of that duty can cause them to be held liable for your injuries during a wreck.
- Vehicle malfunction can be caused by normal wear and tear, but it’s often due to a failure to properly maintain or inspect the tires, brakes, and other vital operating systems on the bus. Defective parts can lead to tire blowout accidents, engine seizing, and other catastrophic malfunctions.
- Other factors include inclement weather, wet or slippery roads, poor road conditions caused by lack of maintenance, and more. Buses are more susceptible to rollover accidents and the like due to their size and shape, so be alert if you’re driving next to one.
Common Injuries Incurred During Bus Accidents
Because buses have only a modicum of safety features for their passengers, they carry a high risk of injury in the event of an accident. Since they are usually much bigger than other passenger vehicles, they also pose a significant risk to the drivers and passengers of other cars on the road. Common bus accident injuries include the following:
- Head injury, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones, dislocated joints, and torn ligaments
- Back and neck injury, including whiplash
- Scrapes, bruises, and cuts
- Spinal cord injuries, possibly leading to paralysis
- Wrongful death
Types of Bus Accidents
A bus is defined by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as “any vehicle designed for carrying more than ten persons.” As a result, everything from airport shuttles, to tour buses, to public and private buses, school buses, and more are considered a bus under the law.
Most buses are common carriers, meaning they offer transport on a per-hire basis for a fare. This is in opposition to private carriers, which are not rented out—such as family vehicles or other personal cars.
- Even though school buses have been found to be some of the safest vehicles on the road, that safety doesn’t necessarily extend to passenger vehicles involved in collisions with a school bus.
- Thousands of people rely on Greyhound, Megabus, and other long-distance commercial buses every year to travel across the country. However, the drivers of these interstate carriers deal with many of the same issues plaguing tractor trailer drivers, specifically long shifts, insufficient rest, and tight schedules.
- Public or city buses are also used by thousands, if not millions, of people every year for transportation needs. Sometimes these bus services are contracted to a third party, but they could also be run by the city or county itself. Either way, it might be more complicated to sue the government entity behind these buses in the event of a crash.
How Do I Prove Liability in a Bus Wreck?
In any accident, proving liability can be complicated; in bus crash cases, it can be even trickier. Several entities could eventually be found liable for the crash:
- The bus driver, if their negligence was the cause of the accident
- The bus company, if they failed to train their driving staff or adhere to safety standards
- Bus maintenance companies or part manufacturers, if the accident was caused by a mechanical issue or faulty part
- Charter or tour companies, if one of the buses they operate is involved in a wreck
- Drivers of other vehicles, particularly in a multi-car pileup accident
- School districts, if a school bus is involved
- Local or state governments, if the bus was operated by an employee of the government
Whatever happened in your case, you need a competent lawyer to ask the right questions and get the results you need. Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys have decades of experience helping Louisianans recover compensation from bus wrecks, and we can help you too.
Give us a call at 888.501.7888 today for a free consultation about your bus accident. A dedicated lawyer will get started investigating your case and collecting evidence right away.
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