Bus accident claims differ depending on the type of bus involved. Due to the nature of complex laws and regulations surrounding bus accident claims, an injured individual should consult an attorney who has experience with specific type of claim.
Depending on whether it’s a public or private bus, regulations and laws involved are not necessarily the same. Some of the typical bus accidents include commercial buses, city and public buses as well as school buses.
Commercial Bus Accident Claims
Common carriers – buses for the general public have to exercise special care, because they are held to higher standards. These types of buses are not for hire, meaning they are not chartered. However, don’t confuse higher standards with requirement to insure every passenger, as this is not always the case.
Government Employed Bus Drivers
Unlike common carriers, government employees have significantly more protection in some areas and are protected by full or limited sovereign immunity. There are exceptions to this protection, though sometimes difficult to apply. Negligent behavior of the driver (gross negligence, that of beyond “ordinary” negligence) can trigger such exceptions. Depending on whether gross negligence was involved, the drivers’ employer may or may not be sued. This is where it helps to talk to an attorney who is familiar with your jurisdictions bus injury laws and exceptions.
Government-ran Buses and Protections
Certain government agencies restrict the amount of money you can recover from a claim against a governmental employer or their employee. Depending on the jurisdiction, government agencies can also deny your claim if you fail to give proper notice before proceeding with your claim. This is another reason you should speak with a bus accident lawyer to help you figure out what those time limits may be.
How Negligence can be proved in a Bus Accident
In order to prove the actual cause of the accident and determine a party was negligent, an attorney will look at several different elements, including but not limited to:
Bus driver’s qualifications – just because a driver is required to have certain credentials and licenses, doesn’t mean the rule for such requirement is always enforced.
Bus driver’s record – negligent hiring or entrustment can be argued if the driver has had a bad driving record such as previous tickets, accidents and other factors. Inadequate training, lack of driving experience in general are all calls for investigation.
Company’s negligent supervision – can also be argued if the bus driver was not supervised properly. Factors such as lack of disciplinary actions and driver fatigue can affect the outcome of proving negligence.
Poor maintenance - if the responsible company fails to maintain vehicles in a timely and proper fashion, issues of negligence can be argued when maintenance (or lack thereof) is responsible for the accident.
Other factors – exceeded weight capacity on the bus among other factors typically overlooked can make a strong case for your claim.