Have You Been Injured in a Bus Crash?
Buses are a common site across Illinois. 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, many suffer injuries 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, School Bus, and private chartered buses, it may not be surprising that these bus accidents account for many injuries each year and unfortunately some may result in death. If you sustain an injury, make sure to consult with a Chicago bus accident lawyer ASAP.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
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;
- Wrongful 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 in an accident, the cause of the crash can be different and the person at-fault might not always be the same. Sometimes the bus driver is at fault, and sometimes it’s another third party.
Other Negligent Drivers
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 for buses only, that driver is likely to cause a crash.
Negligent Bus Drivers
Other bus-related collisions occur as the result of the negligence of the driver of the bus. This can happen if a 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 predetermined 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. This can lead to situations where the safety of passengers is put at risk.
Bus Maintenance Negligence
Some crashes may occur due to a design flaw or the negligent maintenance of a bus. If the bus itself is unsafe or if a mechanic performs maintenance on the bus in an unsafe manner, the driver and the passengers on board may be at risk. One of the most obvious examples of this is when there is negligent maintenance of brakes. A large vehicle with faulty brakes may not be able to stop as necessary to keep its passengers safe. This could 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. The claims available to a victim depend mostly on the circumstances of the specific crash and who is at fault in the accident.
At Fault Third Parties
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, if there is UM coverage available.
At-Fault Bus Driver
Alternatively, if the accident is due to a negligent bus driver and you were either a bus passenger or in another vehicle, you may have a claim against the bus driver and the bus company. This is true even if the bus owner is a municipality, like a city bus used for public transportation.
Safety Defects on a Bus
Finally, if the accident is caused by some defect in the bus itself and not through actions of 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 negligent maintenance while servicing the bus. Any bus driver who is injured in an accident may 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. Often the more vehicles involved in the accident, the more complex the claim(s). This is a reason that when choosing a bus crash attorney in Chicago, you want to select one with experience prosecuting personal injury claims.
Chicago Bus Accident FAQ
Bus accidents happen more often than you may think. Below, we’ll cover some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bus accidents.
How often do bus accidents occur?
The most recent statistics available about bus accidents from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) show 15,000 bus accidents in the United States that resulted in injuries, as well as an additional 274 bus accidents involving fatalities.
When is a vehicle classified as a bus?
The FMCSA defines a bus as any vehicle that carries nine people or more, including the driver. Therefore, some vans are classified as buses.
What are some of the common causes of bus accidents?
Bus drivers face many of the same challenges as any driver, plus some other unique issues. Some common causes of bus accidents include:
- Driver distraction – Drivers who pay more attention to their phones or other electronic devices are more prone to accidents. Due to the number of occupants on buses, bus drivers also are more prone to passenger distractions than someone operating a car.
- Driver fatigue – Much like a truck driver, bus drivers have a schedule to meet. This often means they work long hours without taking sufficient breaks. The loud atmosphere of a bus can also wear on a driver.
- Speeding – To make their scheduled stops, drivers may ignore speed limits or road conditions due to inclement weather.
- Vehicle maintenance – A poorly maintained bus can crash due to a failing part.
- Insufficient training – Too often, drivers lack proper training on the safest practices for operating a bus. The lack of training or poor training can result in a driver error that can cause an accident.
How often do Chicago bus accidents occur?
In 2018, there were 421 people injured in bus accidents in Chicago. There were no fatalities reported that year.
How common are injuries in Illinois bus crashes?
In 2018, just over 850 sustained injuries in bus accidents, and eight victims lost their lives in Illinois. Further, around 1,500 Illinois crashes involve a school bus every year. An additional 2,733 crashes involved other types of buses.
How are bus accidents different from car accidents?
There is a significant difference in car weight versus bus weight. The differences vary depending on the type of bus, but at a minimum, a bus outweighs a car by as much as three times. In addition, you’re probably holding not just a driver responsible, but the bus company or transportation authority that employs the driver. Claims cannot only be much larger, but more complex.
What types of buses operate on Chicago roadways?
In addition to school buses, it is common to see Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses, some Pace suburban public transit system buses, carriers such as Greyhound, and privately operated charter buses.
Who is liable for bus accidents?
This is not an easy question to answer due to the potential variables. In most cases, either a bus driver or another driver is the cause of the accident. However, there could be liability for the manufacturer if it built a defective bus. Or, the company responsible for the maintenance of the bus may have done something wrong. Even further, there could be negligence by the company or municipality responsible for driver training and hiring. Bus accident liability can be complicated. This is why you should consider working with an attorney who has experience handling these types of claims.
What injuries are common in bus accidents?
As with any type of accident on Chicago roadways, the injuries from a bus accident may in part depend on the speed of travel and the size of the other vehicle or vehicles in the crash.
The most common injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries – Victims of a Chicago bus accident may suffer spinal cord injuries. This may include bus passengers, or occupants of another vehicle, or even a pedestrian or cyclist hit by a bus.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – Anytime you are in a Chicago bus accident, the potential for TBI is high. The force of a bus accident can result in your head banging on the seat in front of you, hitting a pole on the bus, or striking the floor.
- Other potential injuries – Depending on the severity of the accident, victims could suffer crushing injuries, internal injuries, and broken bones.
How much can I recover financially after a bus accident?
The amount of money you may collect following a bus accident will depend a great deal on the severity of your injuries. In general, you may recover the costs of your medical care, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Families who have lost a loved one in a Chicago bus accident may also collect for any care their loved one sustained before dying as well as compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and other damages. Speak with an experienced Chicago bus accident lawyer to learn all of your options.
Why contact a lawyer after a Chicago bus accident?
If you sustain injuries in a bus accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as practicable. You will want to work with an advocate who will represent your best interests. Insurance adjusters will attempt to get you to accept a lower settlement than you deserve. The company will not want to pay a large amount of money. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. A good attorney will fight for the maximum compensation that you deserve under Illinois law. Call a bus accident attorney in Chicago for free consultation and learn about your rights.
Bus Accident Injury Statistics in Chicago, IL
Have you been injured in a Chicago Bus Accident?
The Chicago bus accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. will work to help you get the financial recovery that you deserve. Bus crash damages may include: medical expenses, disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of normal life, loss of income, and more. We also look to recover present and future costs when representing an accident victim.
We keep a lawyer standing by 24/7 to take your call at (312) 924-7575. Further, there is no obligation on your part for speaking with us. If you are suffering after a bus accident, call us now and let’s see if we can help you.
If you have been injured in a bus accident in Chicago, Illinois, request a Free Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a personal injury lawyer now.