New Jersey Bus Accident Lawyers
Bus Accident Injury? Our Firm Will Fight For You.
Most of the time, traveling by bus is safe and accidents rarely occur. In 2017, there were nearly 39,000 transportation fatalities and just 44 of these were due to a bus crash. School buses ferry children back and forth without harm each day and provide parents with peace of mind throughout the year. City dwellers rely on public buses to get around inexpensively and tour buses let travelers to see new places and attractions with the help of local guides. Interstate motor coaches transport passengers long distances more cheaply than the airlines or trains.
However, when bus crashes do happen, passengers and drivers often sustain serious injuries or lose their lives. Bus accidents are notoriously harmful for several reasons. One is simple physics–the large size and heavy weight of a bus results in a much more forceful impact.
Bus Safety Requirements are Lacking
Another contributing factor to the seriousness of bus accidents is the lack of safety features commonly used in other modes of travel. The New York Times recently reported that regulators of Greyhound and other transportation carriers have not adopted National Transportation Safety Board standards commonly used in cars and airplanes. These include improving window safety and overhead baggage restraints and installing modern seatbelts and making their use mandatory. While all commercial buses made after 2016 are required to have seatbelts, they can’t protect passengers who won’t use them.
Causes of Bus Crashes
Common causes of bus accidents include:
Bus company negligence–Unlike airplane carriers, bus companies do not always stringently adhere to federal or state safety regulations. Their vehicles may not be properly maintained and routinely tested, they may not hire qualified drivers or they may even pressure drivers to exceed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service Limits., which in turn can cause driver fatigue.
Bus driver negligence —Sometimes drivers use their cell phone while driving, allow themselves to be temporarily distracted or simply have no business being behind the wheel. Recently a 78-year old bus driver was indicted on charges of reckless vehicular homicide and other serious crimes when the New Jersey school bus he was driving crashed into a dump truck, killing a student and teacher and injuring more than 40 other people. Law enforcement authorities verified the driver had his license suspended 14 times and received 8 speeding tickets among other citations.
Bus fires–The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a detailed report on bus fires in November 2016 which analyzed motorcoach and school bus fire safety. They determined that most bus fires start in the engine, running gear or wheel areas.
Some key findings of the bus fire study:
- School bus fires occur slightly more often than daily; motorcoach fires slightly less than daily
- Mechanical failure or malfunction was the most frequent cause of bus fires, followed by electrical failure or malfunction
- A significant number of school bus fires were intentional
Thankfully, fatalities and injuries in school bus and motorcoach fires are rare.
If you have been injured or lost a family member in a bus crash the personal injury lawyers of Keefe Law Firm can help you recover financially and emotionally from this traumatic event. Our team of attorneys, paralegals and investigators will gather all the hard facts and evidence to thoroughly support your claim. We go to bat for you with the carrier, insurance companies and healthcare organizations such as Medicaid.
Our team is relentless in pursuing our clients’ accident claims so that they receive fair and just compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and/or reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Bus Accident Injury FAQs
What are the most common injuries in a bus accident?
Bus accident injuries are often more severe than those suffered in other motor vehicle accidents, due to buses’ general lack of safety features, such as airbags, seatbelts, rollover protection, and crumple zones. Passengers in a bus accident may be sitting sideways, facing backward, or even standing in the aisles; this increases the likelihood of being thrown about the bus upon impact.
Additionally, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers and passengers of other vehicles are also vulnerable to severe injuries due to the sheer size of a bus. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Head and spinal cord injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal injuries
- Loss of a limb
- Broken bones
- Bruises, cuts, and scrapes
Who can I sue if I was injured in a bus crash?
There may be many contributing factors to the bus crash that caused your injuries and with that, numerous parties responsible for compensating you. An experienced bus accident lawyer will identify potential defendants and pursue your claim against negligent individuals, organizations, or other entities. These can include:
The Bus Driver – A thorough crash investigation will determine if identify the bus was at fault or contributed to the accident. Your attorney will gather the evidence any evidence pointing to driver fatigue, speeding, distracted driving, intoxication, physical impairment, or violation of traffic rules and/or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
The Bus Company – If the driver was at fault the bus company might also be legally liable as well. For example, the bus company may be held accountable for negligent actions such as failure to hire a qualified, trained bus driver or because they scheduled the driver to operate the vehicle for a length of time outside legal limits.
Bus Tour Company – If the accident occurred while you were on a tour bus, your lawyer could file a claim for compensation against the tour company, the bus owner, and the negligent driver. The tour business could be found negligent if they failed in their duty to only use a bus vehicle company that hires competent drivers and maintains an excellent safety record.
The Maintenance Company – Motor coach maintenance companies are required to maintain vehicles in good working order to ensure that the tires, brakes, engine, lights and other safety features provide a safe ride for all passengers.
The Bus Manufacturer – If your bus crash was caused in full or in part by a defective part or component on the bus that led to a crash or collision the manufacturer could be held responsible. In this event, your lawyer could file a claim under New Jersey product liability laws to hold the manufacturer of the bus or any of its parts or systems responsible for damages.
What if I was traveling on a New Jersey Transit Bus?
If you were a passenger on a New Jersey Transit bus that crashed, your personal injury lawyer would pursue a claim against them.Keefe Law Firm was extremely successful in obtaining judgements against this public entity, having secured a $10 million settlement against them in a wrongful death case.
Injured In A Bus Accident? Our Lawyers Will Provide A Free Case Evaluation
At Keefe Law Firm, we stand for our injured clients to attain nothing less than the compensation they deserve. Talk to a Keefe Law Firm lawyer today about your options.