Bus transportation is often a convenient way to travel. Whether you’re taking a public bus around town or utilizing a private bus company to travel, you won’t have to worry about driving or finding your way to your destination. Unfortunately, bus crashes have the potential to result in devastating injuries. When driver negligence plays a roll in a crash, you have the right to seek representation from a Fayetteville bus accident lawyer. The attorneys at McMath Woods P.A. are well-versed in bus accident litigation and have the experience needed to take your case on and help you get back on your feet.
Reasons Why Bus Accidents Happen
When negligence plays a role in a bus accident, the victims must determine why the crash happened. The reason it happened will likely be the base of any personal injury claims filed against the driver or the bus company. Some of the most common reasons we see bus accidents happening include the following:
- Fatigue. Depending on the bus driver’s schedule, they could be driving for longer hours than they’re legally allowed. If that’s the case and fatigue sets in, they’ll be less focused on the road and unable to fully comprehend what traffic is doing around them. Nodding off for even less than a second can result in a deadly crash.
- Distracted Driving. Bus drivers have a lot to focus on behind the wheel. Not only do they need to focus on the road in front of them, but they need to be aware of the traffic and how much space is between vehicles in addition to ensuring passengers are safe. That is why it takes special training to be a bus driver. If a company hires someone who is inexperienced and doesn’t train them properly, they could become overwhelmed and cause an accident.
- Vehicle Malfunction. There’s the chance a bus could malfunction if it’s not properly maintained. Blown out tires and faulty brakes are among the most common causes of accidents related to vehicle parts.
- Inclement Weather. If a bus driver is unaware of how to drive on slippery or snowy roads or the weather conditions change rapidly, they could lose control of the vehicle.
No matter the cause of your crash, we’ll be by your side every step of the way when you decide to pursue a bus accident claim.
Dealing with Bus Crash Injuries
Because of the size of a bus and a lack of seatbelts, passengers are at a high risk of sustaining serious or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. Because of the nature of these crashes, there are often multiple impacts after the initial crash which causes even worse damage. Passengers may be thrown from their seats or slammed into walls, seats, or windows. There’s also the potential for passengers to collide with each other. When a driver is speeding, distracted, fatigued, or careless, serious injuries can result.
When a bus passenger collides with another person or object, their hands, feet, or legs could get crushed. Serious muscle or bone damage can occur, which could require extensive surgeries to repair. Depending on the extent of the crush injury, amputation could be recommended if the limb is beyond repair.
Bus passengers are also at risk for head trauma. If people are thrown around inside a bus during a wreck, they could hit their heads and develop concussions or more serious traumatic brain injuries. Head injuries often require lengthy recoveries and can have effects on memory, speech, and cognitive abilities.
If a person sustains internal injuries in a bus crash, they may not immediately realize they’re hurt. If they’re experiencing internal bleeding or damage to any of their organs, the body could begin to shut down if medical attention isn’t sought immediately.
Even if you feel fine after a bus accident, it’s imperative to seek medical attention and get an official diagnosis. Even if you’re only dealing with lacerations or minor road rash, you’ll want to have an accurate record of the physical harm the crash caused you. This way, you’ll be more likely to receive full and fair compensation for your suffering.
Determining Fault After a Bus Accident in Fayetteville
Just like with any traffic accident, it can be challenging to determine who is at fault for a bus wreck. It’s important, however, for an official determination of fault to be made because it’s the only way injured victims will be able to seek compensation for their related losses. Depending on the situation, it’s likely either the bus driver or bus company is at fault for what happened.
When you work with a bus accident attorney, they’ll conduct an investigation to determine what happened. They’ll use what you remember about the accident in conjunction with witness statements and collected evidence to make a fault determination. It’s likely the police will also conduct a separate investigation, which your lawyer may have access to.
Understanding a Bus Driver’s Responsibilities
The federal government regulates bus drivers and bus companies to promote safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in charge of the rules that govern bus drivers all across the country. A number of regulations revolve around vehicle maintenance, driver health, and hours of service.
In regard to vehicle maintenance, bus drivers need to make sure the vehicle is safe by regularly checking the tire pressure, lighting, and other components that revolve around keeping passengers safe. As far as driver health goes, bus drivers have to have good eyesight and hearing abilities and have no conditions that limit the control of their arms or legs. The hours of service rules prevent bus drivers from being on the road for too long. The longer a person is driving, the more likely they are to experience fatigue or distractions.
If a bus driver fails to follow through with any of the government regulations, they can likely be held accountable for an accident.
Holding Bus Companies Responsible for a Crash
In Arkansas, the principal of vicarious liability allows injury victims to hold employers responsible for their employees’ actions. That means that the bus company could be liable for the actions of their driver, so long as the driver was acting within the scope of employment when the accident occurred. Depending on the situation, you may be able to take legal action against both parties.
In some situations, the bus company is the only party liable for an accident. If they were directly negligent and failed to perform required maintenance that resulted in a mechanical error the driver could not have prevented, the accident could be the company’s fault. In addition to that, the company could be held accountable if they hired a driver who was inexperienced and unprepared to take on the responsibility of transporting people in a vehicle as large as a bus.
Compensation for Arkansas Bus Accidents
When you work with a Fayetteville lawyer from McMath Woods P.A., we’ll be sure to carefully calculate the compensation you’re owed, so all your losses are taken care of once your case settles. We’ll look at both your economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages refer to calculable expenses. They include costs like medical bills, the future cost of care, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. We’ll be able to determine what you’ve spent or would have to spend to cover the accident and move forward with no debt.
Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate, as they’re based on more subjective losses. For example, if you’re an avid runner and you broke your leg in the bus accident, you could be experiencing a loss of enjoyment in life because you’re unable to carry out your passion. We’ll take into consideration all the pain and suffering you’ve experienced and come up with a fair amount of compensation to seek.
It’s important to note that there’s a chance your case will not settle. If that happens, we’ll be ready to file a lawsuit and take your claim to court to get an official verdict. While going to trial can seem intimidating, we’ll have extensive experience representing clients inside the courtroom and we’ll do the same for you.
Legal Representation from McMath Woods P.A.
If you’re ready to get your life back in order after a crash, a Fayetteville bus accident lawyer can help you file a claim and seek recovery for your losses. We understand how intimidating it can be to file a claim, especially when you have to go up against a company. But we have the skills and resources needed to build a strong claim on your behalf. The sooner you get in touch with us, the better your chances are at maximizing your recovery. Contact us today for more information.