Many people believe that buses are the safest form of transportation on our roads. However, that is not entirely true since bus accidents are a common occurrence in Florida. While buses are large and sturdy, they lack the safety features to protect passengers in the event of accidents.
The consequences of bus accidents can be disastrous. Each year, over 230 buses are involved in fatal crashes across the United States. Collisions involving buses, including intercity, transit, and school buses, also result in over 20,000 injuries annually.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a bus accident in Palm Beach or Broward County, you might be entitled to compensation for the physical, financial, and emotional harm caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness.
Our bus accident attorneys at Iscoe Law Firm can help you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. You can schedule a free case evaluation with our lawyers by calling 800-800-6500 today. We are available to discuss your bus accident case 24/7, 365.
Types of Bus Accidents
There are various types of bus accidents that can result in minor or severe injuries (or no injuries at all), may involve one, two, or more vehicles, or may not even involve a crash. Let’s review the different types of bus accidents:
- Accidents involving a bus and other vehicles. A bus accident that involves a collision with another vehicle is one of the most common types of bus accidents. If a bus driver was at fault for causing the crash, the injured occupants of the other vehicle might be able to seek compensation from the driver and their bus company.
- Single-vehicle bus accidents. It is not uncommon for bus accidents to involve the bus itself and no other vehicle. Single-vehicle bus crashes can occur when a bus driver loses control of the vehicle or the bus rolls over.
- Bus-pedestrian accidents. Many bus accidents occur as a result of the bus hitting a person waiting at a bus stop, entering or exiting the bus, walking along the road, or crossing the roadway. Bus-pedestrian accidents are common with school buses because drivers of school buses may not notice small children crossing the street or standing at a bus stop.
- Bus accidents that do not involve a collision. Bus passengers may sustain injuries in bus accidents that do not involve collisions. A common example is a passenger slipping and falling while riding the bus.
- It is important to speak with an experienced bus accident attorney regardless of the type of your accident. Your lawyer will help you determine whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident to pursue the compensation you deserve on your behalf.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
After a bus accident, it may not be immediately clear what caused the crash, which is why it is essential to contact a bus accident attorney to review your particular situation.
There are different contributing factors to bus accidents. However, some causes are more common than others:
- Bus driver error
- Another driver error
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Mechanical defects
- Faulty brakes
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Inadequate bus driver training (or lack thereof)
- Improper screening and background checks before hiring a bus driver
- Overloaded buses
- Driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Failure to see other vehicles due to blind spots
- Adverse weather conditions
- Poor road conditions
- Defective road design
When a bus accident occurs, the operator of the bus is not always the one who made an error. Other drivers on the road may also be at fault for causing accidents involving buses. In fact, it is not uncommon for bus crashes to involve multiple negligent parties.
That is why it is advisable to speak with an experienced attorney to determine what caused the bus crash and identify all liable parties.
What Are the Unique Risks and Dangers in Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents are associated with some unique risks and dangers that increase the risk of injuries and deaths for bus passengers. These risks include:
- Most buses are not equipped with seat belts and other safety features, which means bus passengers are less protected against the force of impact than occupants of other vehicles;
- A fully loaded bus can carry up to 80 unrestrained passengers, which can result in catastrophic consequences when a bus is involved in a motor vehicle accident;
- Buses are larger than passenger vehicles, which makes them harder to maneuver safely to avoid collisions;
- Buses weigh much more than an average passenger vehicle, which substantially increases their stopping distance; and
- With its higher centers of gravity, a bus is at a greater risk of rollovers.
Each of these risks can increase the likelihood of severe injuries and deaths when a bus accident occurs. If you have been injured in a bus accident, do not hesitate to speak with a lawyer to determine what caused the collision and discuss your compensation options.
School Bus Accidents in Fort Lauderdale and the Surrounding Areas
Statistically speaking, school bus accidents are one of the most common types of bus accidents in the U.S. Each year, more than 100 people die in school bus-related accidents across the country, and thousands of others get injured.
Of the people injured in school bus accidents, school bus passengers account for 34% of the injuries, while 53% are occupants of other vehicles. Many children get struck by buses when standing at a bus stop. A bus driver may simply not notice the child.
When a child is injured in a school bus accident, they are likely to suffer severe and catastrophic injuries. Families of children injured in school bus crashes may incur hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in economic and non-economic damages and losses.
It is vital to contact a school bus accident attorney to help you pursue the compensation to which you and your child are entitled. Since most school buses in Florida are owned by school systems, which are run by government entities, you may have a hard time recovering damages after a school bus accident.
Government entities are generally shielded from civil lawsuits due to Florida’s sovereign immunity doctrine. However, you may still be entitled to compensation by pursuing an injury claim against the negligent bus driver, school board, and/or government entity.
Our bus accident attorneys at Iscoe Law Firm are prepared to help you navigate Florida’s sovereign immunity laws and ensure that you receive compensation from a liable government entity. We have vast resources and extensive experience to help you pursue a successful injury claim.
Who is at Fault in a Bus Accident?
Under Florida law, bus operators are considered “common carriers.” Common carriers owe their passengers certain duties of care. When the duty of care is breached, the injured party can hold the common carrier responsible for their resulting injuries and losses sustained in the bus crash.
However, bus drivers are not the only parties that can be held at fault in a bus accident case. The following parties may be deemed at fault in bus accidents in Florida:
- The bus driver. Many bus accidents occur as a result of operator error.
- The bus company. A bus company may be held liable if the bus was not adequately maintained or the company failed to properly train its drivers before transporting passengers.
- A government entity. Most buses operating in the State of Florida are owned by government entities. A lawyer may be able to help you sue the liable government entity that owns the bus on which you were injured.
- A municipality in charge of the road where the accident occurred. If a bus accident was caused by poor road conditions or defective road design, the municipality that maintains the road where your crash occurred might be held at fault.
- The tour company. Tour companies owe a duty of care to bus passengers who purchase tour packages.
- The manufacturer of the bus or its parts. Not all bus accidents occur as a result of driver error. Some are caused by vehicle defects or faulty automobile parts.
- Other negligent or reckless drivers. The other driver involved in a bus accident might be at fault if they were negligent or reckless.
When someone is injured in a bus accident, an attorney’s primary concern is to determine what caused the accident and who can be held responsible for causing it. That is why you need a bus accident attorney to investigate the unique facts surrounding your crash to determine liability in your particular case.
How to Strengthen Your Bus Accident Case in Florida?
If you have sustained injuries in a bus accident in Florida, there are certain steps you should take to strengthen your personal injury case and ensure that you get compensated for all your damages and losses:
- Seek medical attention right away. Do not delay going to a hospital or emergency room after being involved in a bus accident.
- Report the bus accident to the authorities. Under Fla. Stat. § 316.065, motorists are required to report motor vehicle accidents that involve bodily injuries, fatalities, at least $500 in property damage. When the police arrive at the scene of your bus accident, they will prepare an accident report.
- Gather witness statements. Witnesses play a major role in the success of a personal injury claim stemming from a motor vehicle crash. Fortunately, bus accidents usually involve dozens of witnesses.
- Contact a bus accident lawyer. It is in your best interests to consult with an experienced attorney to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Your lawyer will help you through every step of the claims process to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your losses and damages.
Florida law limits the amount of time you have to bring a personal injury claim after the accident, which is why it is vital to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. At Iscoe Law Firm, our skilled attorneys provide free consultations to prospective clients. Call 800-800-6500 to get a free case evaluation.
Common Types of Bus Accident Injuries
The types and severity of injuries depend on the circumstances of your bus accident. However, some of the most common injuries resulting from collisions with buses include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Knee and leg injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Sprains and strains
In addition to physical injuries, a victim of a bus accident may also suffer emotional injuries that linger long after the incident. Emotional injuries include post-traumatic stress disorder, mental anguish, anxiety, depression, and many more.
With a skilled attorney on your side, you can seek compensation for both your physical and emotional injuries. If you have been involved in a bus accident, it is critical that you go to a hospital to obtain medical care and diagnose your injuries.
Damages That You Can Recover After a Bus Accident
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a bus accident, you might wonder what compensation you can seek to cover your expenses and losses. A skilled bus accident lawyer can help you pursue maximum compensation for all the damages and losses you incurred as a result of another party’s negligence.
While the damages you can recover after a bus accident vary from one accident to another, many victims of bus accidents can seek compensation for their:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of medical treatment and surgery, rehabilitation, medication, physical therapy, and hospital bills.
- Lost wages to compensate the victim for the time they missed from work due to their injury.
- Diminished earning capacity. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may not be able to earn as much as you did prior to the bus accident.
- Property damage. For example, if you were driving a passenger car when a bus crashed into you, you may be able to receive compensation for the cost of repairing your vehicle.
- Pain and suffering damages, which should compensate the victim for all the emotional hardships that they endure due to their injuries.
- Wrongful death damages, which include funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, loss of guidance, and other losses, when a loved one dies in a bus accident.
Punitive damages, which are rarely available in motor vehicle accident cases. Under Fla. Stat. § 768.72, you can recover punitive damages when the defendant engaged in intentional misconduct or gross negligence. It is advisable to contact a knowledgeable bus accident lawyer to carefully examine your particular situation and determine what compensation you can recover in your specific case.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state that requires motorists to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance, which is why your compensation options may be limited. However, Florida law allows injured victims to step outside the no-fault system when they suffer a serious injury, and their damages exceed PIP coverage limits.
You need to speak with an attorney to determine all the compensation options available in your case. Our lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm are committed to helping you maximize your compensatory damages to make sure that you have all the compensation you need to return to normal life as soon as possible.
Why You Need a Bus Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a bus accident, it is highly recommended to hire an attorney to help you receive the compensation you deserve. You need a skilled bus accident lawyer to help you handle the following aspects of your claim:
- Gather the necessary evidence to strengthen your case
- Prepare the required paperwork to fight for your compensation
- Conduct a thorough investigation to determine what caused the bus crash
- Talk to witnesses and gather their statements
- Determine liability to ensure that all the negligent parties are held accountable
- Negotiate with insurance companies to protect your rights and preserve your entitlement to compensation
- If necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent your best interests in court
It is critical to contact a bus accident attorney right away because there is a limited period of time during which you can sue negligent parties in Florida. Under Fla. Stat. § 95.11, an injured victim in general has four years from the date of the accident to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Florida Statute of Limitations sets a strict deadline for filing claims against Governmental Entities, as well as all injury claims. If a bus accident resulted in a person’s death, the deceased’s surviving family members only have two years to file a lawsuit.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Palm Beach and Broward County Bus Accident Attorney
Our reputable and results-driven bus accident lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm are committed to advocating for your rights to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your damages and losses.
We are prepared to dedicate all the resources you need to get fair and full compensation in your bus accident case. Our experienced attorneys have represented injury victims and their families throughout West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and other parts of Florida for several decades.
We understand that you want to get your life back to normal as soon as possible. That is why we are prepared to give your case the personalized attention it needs to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free case evaluation with our bus accident attorneys at Iscoe Law Firm by calling 800-800-6500. You can also book a free consultation through our contact form