Buses are a common site across Illinois as hundreds of thousands of passengers use buses every year to get from place to place. Some buses provide local transportation around a city and service commercial districts while others use buses as their means to commute to and from work. Still others choose to ride on a bus as they travel out of state to see family or friends. Whatever the reason, Illinois residents are boarding buses in large numbers every year and that is a trend that is expected to continue in the coming decades.
Most of these residents travel safely while aboard these buses but unfortunately, thousands of people are injured every year in Illinois bus accidents. Often these injuries are very serious, in part because passengers do not wear seat belts while riding on most buses. With many bus companies servicing Chicago and Illinois as a whole, including CTA, PACE, Greyhound, and private chartered buses, it may not be surprising that these bus accidents account for many injuries each year and unfortunately may result in death.
Bus accidents can result in injuries such as:
- Fractures (broken bones) that require surgical repair;
- Head and brain injuries;
- Back & neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Scars and lacerations;
- And in some cases even death.
Who is Responsible for a Bus Accident?
Like in any type of accident, the facts of each bus crash are unique and specific to that one accident. This means that each time a bus is involved in an accident, the cause of the crash can be different and the person deemed to be at-fault might not always be the same.
Often, bus crashes result when another driver in a car, truck, or van acts negligently. Whether the driver is distracted or simply not paying attention, the failure to drive safely as required by law can result in that other driver causing a collision with a bus. This also can happen in heavy traffic where another driver follows a bus too closely and is unable to stop a bus in time to avoid an accident. Common across the nation are crashes where a driver is speeding, rushing, or otherwise running late and making careless decisions as a result. If a driver runs a red light or a stop sign, fails to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic, or drives in areas restricted for buses, the driver is likely to cause a crash.
Other bus-related collisions occur as the result of the negligence of the driver of the bus. This can happen if bus driver is operating on a fixed route that the driver is not familiar with, causing him to miss a bus stop or drive the wrong way down a one way street. Public bus companies also may require certain on-time performances by their drivers. This means that if a driver fails to arrive at designated stops at a pre-determined time, the driver can be penalized or punished. If a driver is running late, this can become an extra incentive for the driver to speed or hurry through a route and can lead to situations where the safety of passengers is placed at risk.
Even other crashes occur due to a design flaw or the negligent maintenance of a bus. If the bus itself is unsafe or if a mechanic who performed maintenance on the bus failed to do so in a safe manner, the driver and the passengers on board may be at risk. One of the most obvious examples of this is when a bus undergoes maintenance on its brakes and that maintenance is negligently performed. A bus operating on faulty brakes will not be able to stop as necessary to keep its passengers safe and may cause a collision with another car or a fixed object in the road.
What Legal Rights are Available to a Bus Accident Victim?
When you become a victim of a bus accident, the law may provide you one or more civil claims to pursue so that you can obtain a monetary settlement for your damages. The claims available to a victim depend mostly on the circumstances of the specific crash and who is at fault in the accident.
If another driver causes a collision with a bus while you are a passenger on that bus, you may have a claim against the other driver for your injuries. If the other driver does not have enough insurance coverage available for all of the injuries sustained in the crash or if the other driver has no insurance available at all, you may also have a right to bring an uninsured or underinsured claim against your own insurance company or the bus company itself.
Alternatively, if the accident was caused by the driver of a bus and you were either a passenger in the bus or in another vehicle involved in the accident, you may have a claim against the bus driver and the bus company. This is true even if the bus is owned by a municipality, like a city bus used for public transportation.
Finally, if the accident is caused by some defect in the bus itself and not through actions by any drivers, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the bus, the seller of the bus, the owner/operator of the bus, and anyone who performed defective maintenance or negligent maintenance while servicing the bus. Any bus driver who is injured in an accident will also have a claim for worker’s compensation for their injuries.
The possibility of so many claims makes a bus accident case complicated and complex. The more vehicles involved in the accident, the more complex the claim(s) becomes. This is a reason that when choosing a personal injury attorney, you want to select one with experience bringing bus accident claims and taking those claims to court.
Injured in a Chicago Bus Accident?
The attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. will work to help you get a financial recovery for your pain and suffering from a bus accident injury in Chicago that may include: medical expenses, disfigurement, loss of normal life, loss of income, and any other losses sustained in the accident. We also look to recover present and future costs when representing an injured person.
If you have been injured in a bus accident in Chicago, Illinois, request a Free Case Consultation or call (855) LAW-CHICAGO to speak with a personal injury lawyer now.
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