Each year, tens of thousands of passengers are injured and killed in bus accidents in Texas and across the United States. Multiple factors can lead to bus accidents. In many cases, passengers and their families can bring claims for compensation if they suffer serious injuries or the loss of a loved one.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Broadly speaking, the causes of bus accidents fall into four main categories:
- Negligence on the part of the bus driver
- Negligence on the part of the bus company
- Negligence on the part of another driver
- Faulty and defective buses
These are not the only possible causes of a bus accident. However, the data show that the vast majority of all bus accidents involve one or more of these issues.
1. Bus Driver Negligence
Many bus accidents occur due to carelessness on the part of the driver. Despite getting paid to drive, bus drivers routinely make serious errors that put their passengers and other motorists at risk.
Some of the most common forms of bus driver negligence that lead to serious and fatal accidents include:
- Distracted driving (i.e., texting, talking to passengers, rubbernecking, etc.)
- Driving while fatigued (which has been shown to cause impairments similar to low-level alcohol intoxication)
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Speeding, tailgating, merging without looking, and other common driving errors
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, medications, or other drugs
Because they transport passengers and operate large commercial vehicles, bus drivers have legal duties beyond the typical motorist. When they behave carelessly or violate the rules of the road, they can and should be held accountable for the accidents they cause.
2. Bus Company Negligence
Fault is often a complex issue in bus accident claims. Although the driver may be principally responsible for causing the crash, it is important to assess the liability of the bus company as well.
Generally, bus companies can be held liable for their drivers’ negligence. The company can also face liability if its own negligence was a factor in the bus accident.
Bus accident victims and families may be able to pursue claims against bus companies for:
- Allowing or forcing drivers to spend too many hours behind the wheel
- Failing to adequately check drivers’ backgrounds and qualifications
- Failing to perform necessary maintenance and repairs on buses
- Failing to provide adequate driver training
- Inadequate policies and/or enforcement of policies regarding substance abuse, distracted driving, and other dangers
As discussed in greater detail below, there are various ways that a bus accident lawyer can prove these and other forms of bus company negligence. When you engage a lawyer to represent you, the lawyer should examine all potential causes and then work to gather the evidence needed to prove your right to compensation.
3. Other Drivers’ Negligence
Bus drivers are not the only ones whose carelessness behind the wheel can cause an accident. In some cases, the driver of another vehicle may be the one who actually causes the crash.
Errors on the part of another driver can lead to a collision with the bus or leave the driver of the bus with no way to avoid a collision. If the driver of the passenger vehicle was at fault and you suffer injury, you can bring a claim against the motorist for your accident-related losses.
4. Bus Defects
The fourth category of common bus accident causes is bus defects. Virtually all components of a bus have the potential to be defective, and many different types of defects can lead to accidents and injuries. This includes everything from defective lights and tires to defective seats and latches on overhead storage containers.
Bus defect claims are governed by the law of product liability. Companies that design, manufacture, and sell defective buses and component parts can be held liable for the losses victims sustain in accidents caused by a defect or mechanical failure.
Manufacturers and other companies will often try to point to bus driver negligence and other potential factors in an effort to avoid liability. A knowledgeable bus accident lawyer can collect evidence to prove that a defect caused the collision.
Proving the Cause of a Bus Accident
Establishing the cause of a bus accident (and thus determining what company is liable for the accident) is one of the first steps toward filing a successful claim for compensation. So, how do you prove the cause of a bus accident?
The key is to conduct an investigation as soon after the accident as possible. A typical bus accident investigation will involve examining the scene of the accident, inspecting the bus and any other vehicles involved, and gathering evidence (i.e., surveillance camera footage or bus maintenance records) from other sources.
You will need a bus accident lawyer to investigate on your behalf. If you have one or more viable claims, you will need to rely on your lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve.
No two accident claims are exactly alike. Cases involving buses and other commercial vehicles are particularly complex.
If you suffered injury or lost a member of your family in a bus accident, Patrick Daniel Law can help. Attorney Patrick Daniel is a top commercial vehicle accident litigator. Our team is Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless. We will leave no stone unturned to find out what caused the crash and who is responsible.
Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free case review. Our bus accident lawyer serves clients in Houston, throughout Texas, and nationwide.