Buses are a commonplace sight on Florida roads and highways, and are responsible for transporting thousands of people millions of miles each year. While many statistics indicate that buses are safer than cars or trucks, they nevertheless are sometimes involved in serious accidents. Bus accidents have the potential to injure bus passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, other motorists, and anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity.
When bus accidents are caused by someone’s negligence, victims may be able to recover for any economic or non-economic losses they have sustained. The best way to determine whether you have a claim after a bus accident is to discuss your case with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Bus accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, some of which may implicate negligence on the part of the bus driver, the company responsible for the operation of the bus, the party responsible for the maintenance of the bus, or even a 3rd party such as another driver. Some of the more common causes of bus accidents include:
It is essential to determine why an accident occurred in order to be able to hold the proper party liable. If, for example, a tire was negligently designed or manufactured and caused a blowout leading to an accident, the manufacturer of the tire could potentially be liable for any injuries that resulted. If, on the other hand, bus driver error caused the accident, the bus driver or his or her employer may be the appropriate party to sue. An experienced attorney will investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine from whom you may be able to recover.
Because commercial buses such as charter or tour buses are in the business of transporting people for financial gain, they are held to a higher standard of care than other parties on the road. Known as “common carriers,” companies and drivers that operate commercially are required to use the “highest degree of care that is consistent with the type of transportation used and the practical operation of the business of a common carrier of passengers.” In addition to this heightened standard of care, buses are also subject to myriad state and federal regulations that are intended to ensure the safety of their passengers and others on the road.
Any noncompliance with these regulations may be sufficient to establish legal liability in the event of an accident. In cases where the bus that crashed was operated by the state of Florida or a particular city, the legal doctrine of “sovereign immunity” may limit the amount of time in which victims may file a claim as well as the amount of compensation that they may recover. As a result, it is important that victims discuss their case with an experienced bus accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident occurs.
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