Who Is Liable After a Crash Involving a Bus?

by NPHM | September 7th, 2020

Riding a bus is a part of daily life for many people. In the U.S., 26 million students ride 480,000 buses to and from school daily.

In addition, millions of adults also ride buses. In Cleveland, nearly 25 million people rode a bus in 2019, with an additional 19 million in Columbus and 13 million in Cincinnati. Millions more ride charter buses for work outings, tourist excursions, private functions, and more.

Statistically, riding a bus is one of the safest ways to travel—but when an accident occurs, the consequences can be severe for bus riders. That’s because many buses aren’t equipped with seat belts or other safety features for passengers.

After bus accidents, it’s important for all injured victims, whether they were on the bus or in another vehicle, to seek compensation. But pinpointing liability can be difficult after bus accidents, especially when multiple vehicles are involved.

Four Parties That May Be Liable After a Bus Accident

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we begin bus accident investigations the same way we begin all our investigations: we work to find out who was responsible. For these types of crashes, the liable party is usually one or more among these four:

  1. The bus driver—Bus drivers shoulder a lot of responsibility. They’re tasked with maneuvering large vehicles that may be dozens of feet long on busy interstates and through congested urban areas. All bus drivers are prone to making mistakes, but when those mistakes are caused by negligence such as distracted driving, speeding, or intoxication, they can be held liable for any injuries that occur.
  2. A person outside the bus—Bus passengers can be severely injured when another driver crashes into the bus they’re riding on. However, direct impacts aren’t the only causes of bus accidents. Drivers can also contribute to bus crashes without ever making contact with them by forcing bus drivers to swerve or slam on their brakes. Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians can also contribute to bus accidents in similar ways.
  3. A person on the bus—An unruly or disruptive passenger may cause or contribute to a bus accident in a variety of ways. They may distract, touch, or even attack the driver, or they may cause a disruption that causes the bus driver to lose control of the vehicle.
  4. A governmental or private owner of the bus—All vehicles should be well-maintained and kept in road-worthy condition to keep their occupants safe. That’s especially important for buses, which can carry dozens of passengers. Buses owned and used by school systems and communities, municipalities, and cities should be serviced on a regular schedule to avoid putting occupants in danger. Private buses should also be kept in good condition by their owners.

It’s important to contact a lawyer right away if you’re injured in a bus accident, whether you were a passenger on the bus or in another vehicle at the time of the crash. Pinpointing liability can be difficult, and it often requires years of experience in analyzing crash scenes and other forms of evidence.

How Do You Get Compensation After a Bus Accident?

Bus accident claims aren’t always cut and dry.

For example, if a bus driver appears to be liable for a bus accident, they ultimately may not be held responsible for any injuries. That’s because the fault may in fact fall on the governmental agency or private company that hired them for failing to ensure they had their license, training credentials, hours of service, and other requirements. Being able to differentiate and determine where liability truly falls requires an experienced law firm.

In addition, filing a lawsuit against a governmental body, such as after a school or city bus crash, requires an in-depth knowledge of the law and an aggressive approach. That’s because governmental bodies often deal with accident claims in-house, and they may be uncooperative. When that happens, victims are forced to file lawsuits—which means getting an experienced lawyer.

We’re Here to Help

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we believe in representing all injured Ohioans when someone else’s negligence caused them harm. That includes people hurt in bus crashes, whether they were riding to school, around town, or on a cross-country trip.

We have more than 90 years of experience helping victims just like you, and we know what it takes to win. Your injuries are serious, and you shouldn’t have to worry about standing up to a school board, a city transit agency, or a private charter company on your own after a bus accident. Let us handle that for you.

Contact us today for a free consultation. You owe us nothing up front, and you’ll never see a bill from us unless we win your claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee®.