Bus Accident Lawyer in Bossier City / Shreveport
On average, 60,000 bus accidents occur in the United States annually. Most of these collisions result in property damage only. However, a bus collision, like any other accident involving a heavy vehicle like an 18-wheeler or semi truck accident in Bossier City, can result in serious and life-threatening injuries. Aside from the weight and large size of a bus, basic safety features such as seatbelts are missing from most buses on the road today. This increases passengers’ risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a bus accident, obtain the counsel of a qualified bus accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis. Our legal team conducts a thorough investigation into the crash and can help you file a claim and pursue compensation for damages and injuries resulting from the accident.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
The state of Louisiana has greater crash rates than the rest of the country, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation. Per reports, the most common causes of vehicle crashes and fatalities are among the following factors:
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Speeding and driving aggressively
- Vehicles leaving the road (crossing an edge line, centerline, or median)
- Driving under the influence
- Inexperienced, young motorists
Common causes of bus accidents specifically include:
Bus Driver Negligence
Caution and consideration for passenger safety, especially in the absence of seatbelts, are critical for bus drivers. According to the law, any activity that puts passenger safety and well-being in jeopardy — such as distracted driving, driver weariness, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, or failing to respect traffic laws — is negligence. If a crash or accident occurs due to driver error, your bus crash lawyer can file a claim to recover your losses.
Another Driver’s Negligence
If a bus crash is not caused by driver mistake or a bus malfunction, another motorist may be to blame. For example, if a car rear-ends or cuts off a bus driver, causing the bus to crash into a median or collide with another vehicle, the other motorist is to blame.
For regular bus repair and upkeep, every bus company has standard operating procedures. Despite routine inspections of tires, brakes, and other motor equipment, bad parts, recalls, and unavoidable problems are a common reality. Serious accidents occur from tire blowouts or faulty turn signals caused by defective parts.
A higher rate of serious accidents, like rollovers, involve larger vehicles. Many times, this is due to the fact that it’s harder for these vehicles to navigate hazardous driving situations such as wet or slick roads, harsh weather, dangerous highways, and generally poor road conditions.
School Bus Accident Statistics
School buses, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are among the safest vehicles on the road in the United States. Each ride to school puts our children’s safety at stake, so this comes as no surprise. But, despite their relative safety, bus accidents do happen.
In fact, the NHTSA reports that from 2007-2016, 36 single-vehicle school bus crashes occurred (meaning the bus struck a fixed object, overturned, etc.) and 55 multiple-vehicle crashes occurred (meaning the bus struck one or more vehicles) in the United States. That is an average of 4 single-vehicle crashes per year and 6 multiple-vehicle crashes per year. Of these crashes, a total of 118 fatalities occurred from both single and multiple-vehicle crashes.
More recently, in 2019, the NHTSA reported over 13,000 school bus accident-related injuries.
City Bus Accident Statistics
Public transportation is a reliable and inexpensive option for someone without a car or that lives in an area with a local public bus system. Because city busses are driven on a near continuous basis, accidents may occur from any number of factors, including unavoidable wear and tear on the machinery and adverse weather conditions. According to the NHTSA, intercity buses accounted for 12% of all fatal bus collisions between 2008 and 2018 and transit buses for 35%.
What To Do After a Bus Accident
After a bus accident, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and stressed, especially if everyone else involved is panicking, too. However, it’s important that you keep a clear, level head and follow these steps to ensure not only your safety, but to help your personal injury claim later on.
- Get medical help to treat your injuries if you are hurt. Even if you think your injuries are minor, see a doctor right away.
- Call 911 to report the wreck and create a police report. Tell them the details you remember to the best of your ability.
- Take pictures to document the crash scene. This helps you remember the details and also serves as evidence of property damage, injured passengers, and the cause of the accident.
- Get written statements from eyewitnesses. This also serves as evidence and helps build your case.
- Contact a bus accident lawyer to help you gather additional evidence for a successful case. A qualified lawyer like Michael J. Vergis can advocate for your rights and fight for fair compensation.
Filing a Bus Accident Claim
If the bus driver’s negligence is responsible for the accident, you may file a claim with their insurance company. You can also file a claim against the driver’s company under vicarious liability statutes.
Accidents with city busses are governed by different laws and procedures, and as a result, these types of accidents tend to get complicated fast. Your knowledgeable bus crash lawyer knows these statutes and will follow the correct procedures to correctly file a lawsuit against the responsible entity for you.
Who Is Liable In a Louisiana Bus Accident?
It’s hard to determine liability in a Louisiana bus crash. That’s because multiple parties can be at fault at one time. You can always file a claim with a personal injury lawyer to recover damages in an accident caused by a third party. However, the process gets more complicated if the bus driver caused the crash. Your bus accident lawyer helps figure out who to submit your claim with, especially if the bus is owned and run by a private firm or government entity.
Liability for your damages can lie with any of the following entities:
- Bus driver — Driver negligence establishes liability.
- Bus company — The driver’s employer is responsible, in many cases, for an improperly trained driver or lax safety checks and requirements.
- Part manufacturers and bus maintenance companies — An accident caused by a mechanical problem is often the responsibility of the part manufacturer or repair shop.
- Tour or charter companies — These private companies are using passenger vehicles. They may be accountable if an accident happens with their buses.
- Other at-fault car drivers — Another vehicle driver found at fault for the wreck is fully or partly liable.
- School districts — The school employs school bus drivers, so they may be liable for school bus accidents in some cases.
- State or local governments — Similar to school districts, buses operated by city or state employees can be liable for injuries resulting from a bus accident.
Since multiple parties may be liable for your injuries, it’s important that you consult with a bus accident lawyer with a track record of fighting for victims’ rights. Their experience, persistence, and skill negotiating with insurance companies and moving a case or settlement forward can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
How Much Can You Get from a Bus Accident Settlement?
Every case has its own facts and circumstances. Therefore, you need to consult an attorney to get an idea of your case’s value. Your bus crash lawyer will look at several important factors to come up with an estimate that will take into account the severity of any injuries and the future or ongoing cost of care and treatment. In addition, lost wages or future earnings potential and pain and suffering will also be factored into the calculation. The more severe your injury, the higher your settlement will be. For example, someone experiencing a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, internal organ injury, or facial trauma from a bus accident will likely receive significantly more than someone who is suffering from something like whiplash.
Do I Need a Bus Accident Attorney?
Although rare, bus accidents do happen. And when they do, serious injuries and damage can occur. In these cases, it’s critical to speak with a bus accident lawyer regardless of the type of bus involved. Your bus crash lawyer will conduct a detailed investigation to get answers to questions like: Who is to blame for the accident? Who could be held liable? and How much compensation can I receive?
If you or a loved one received injuries in a bus wreck, talk to a Bossier City personal injury lawyer familiar with the laws surrounding large commercial vehicles. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, you don’t have to pay us anything until we win your case and you get compensation. That’s because our personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis. Call the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis at 318-698-3724 to set up your free consultation today.