white and brown bus

For most commuters, busses offer a much more ecologically friendly and convenient alternative to driving a car. In general, busses are also one of the safest means of transportation available. As a result, people take them every day to go to work, run errands, see family and friends, and get to where they need to go.

Unfortunately, no mode of transportation is 100% safe, and busses are no exception. As with any other vehicle on the road, they can get into accidents, and when they do, the results can be devastating. The good news is that victims of bus accidents are often entitled to compensation from the responsible party.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

When people start learning about bus accident lawsuits, they quickly realize that the top causes of these types of accidents are different forms of negligence on behalf of the bus drivers. The most common forms of negligence are distracted driving, drunk driving, and falling asleep behind the wheel.

In cases where it’s obvious that a bus driver’s negligence contributed significantly to causing an accident, it’s easy to tell who’s at fault. Things aren’t always that simple, though. Other common causes of bus accidents can include:

  • ¬†Inclement weather

Passenger vehicles blocking restricted bus lanes

Pedestrians stepping in front of busses

Mechanical failures

And others

Who’s at Fault?

Even when the circumstances surrounding a bus accident seem clear-cut, it can be difficult to determine legal liability. The case will often boil down to whether the bus driver was genuinely negligent. More often than not, it’s not the driver but the transportation company that turns out to be liable for damages.

Transportation companies are responsible for ensuring that all of their equipment is in safe operating condition. If a mechanical failure contributes to an accident, the transportation company may be held liable even if the bus driver’s actions contributed in part to causing the crash.

Similarly, a bus driver’s actions could contribute to a crash that turns out to be the fault of the transportation company if his or her actions were a result of inadequate training. Just like transportation companies are obligated to keep their equipment in good operational shape, they’re also required to provide proper training to all of their employees.

Shared Liability

Liability in bus accidents can be relative. If the accident involved other vehicles, for example, determining who is at fault will require taking into account all of the involved parties’ relative liability. Legal responsibility may be shared not just between the bus driver and the transportation company but also between the drivers of other vehicles that were involved, in which case it may be referred to as shared or joint liability.

Why Liability Matters

The reason it’s important to determine which parties are liable for a bus accident is that levels of relative liability usually correspond to the percentage of damages an individual or company is responsible for providing. In most cases, the transportation company’s insurance provider will pay for a percentage of the damages. However, injured parties may also need to file claims against other passenger car drivers.

The Best Way to Determine Liability

The best way to determine liability in a bus accident is to contact a bus accident attorney. An experienced legal team will know the ins and outs of all the relevant state and local laws and can provide both advice and legal representation.