We all ride a bus at one time or another. You may be a regular commuter on an IndyGo route or your child rides a school bus every day. Maybe you take a long-distance bus to see family in another part of the state or your high schooler’s athletic team regularly charters a bus for tournaments. Business travelers regularly ride buses at airports and rental car lots. Whatever the reason, whenever you board a passenger bus, you are at risk of being injured in a crash. In fact, even people who never ride a bus can be endangered by inattentive drivers and poorly maintained busses. Learn about the risks posed by busses and who can be held liable when people are injured.
Why Busses Crash
As passengers, we expect that the bus we are boarding—whether a school bus, city bus, or charter bus—is in good condition and is being driven by a qualified driver. As pedestrians and occupants of other cars, we expect the bus to follow the rules of the road and to be under control at all times. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Busses cause accidents in many ways, including the following:
- Driver error. When bus drivers are not adequately trained or fail to follow hours-of-service regulations aimed at them, they can make mistakes that lead to accidents injuring dozens of people.
- Mechanical failures. Busses should be inspected regularly for mechanical issues with brakes, tires, and passenger evacuation routes. When one of these systems fails, a bus can crash or passengers can be trapped.
- Inadequate regulations. As holders of Commercial Driver Licenses (CDL), bus drivers are subject to federal rules and regulations, including hours-of-service restrictions. If a driver is within the law but still falls asleep at the wheel or becomes distracted, it could be because legislation is too weak.
- Bus company negligence. Bus companies have a duty to hire competent drivers and to maintain their fleets of busses. When owners and supervisors fail to inspect and repair busses or train and test drivers, they could be contributing to a crash.
Bus Crashes Can Cause Serious Injuries
For those of us who diligently buckle up whenever we get in a car, it may seems strange that we don’t wear seatbelts on a bus. After all, busses travel at highway speeds and passengers are just as likely to be tossed around when there is a sudden stop or a collision on a bus as they are in a car. As a pedestrian or driver of another car, the sheer size and weight of a bus pose serious threats to our safety. Whether a passenger on a bus that crashes or a non-passenger who is hit by a bus, victims may suffer any of the following catastrophic consequences:
- Traumatic brain injury. Being thrown out of a bus seat can cause a serious head injury, as can being hit by a bus as a pedestrian or occupant of another car.
- Spinal cord injury. Whether a pedestrian or the passenger of a car that is hit by a bus, you are extremely vulnerable when a bus hits you. An impact of this force can easily lead to a spinal cord injury and paralysis.
- Broken bones. Bus passengers who are thrown from a seat because of a sudden stop—even when there is no collision—can suffer fractures to limbs.
- Burns. A burning crowded bus is not easy to escape from, especially if evacuation routes are blocked or malfunctioning. Trapped passengers can suffer smoke inhalation and third-degree burns.
- Amputations. Being thrown from or hit by a bus can lead to situations where limbs become severed and victims risk losing their lives from loss of blood.
- Death. Any of the above injuries can be serious enough to be fatal.
Our Indiana Bus Crash Attorneys Can Help
If you or a loved one is injured in a bus crash, call the experienced bus accident attorneys at Keller & Keller. We will determine the cause of the crash and hold all potentially liable parties responsible for the devastating injuries you have suffered. Call or connect with us through the link on this page. We will review your case for free and discuss your options with you.