When a bus accident happens, determining who to blame is important. Bus passengers and other injury victims could sue the bus driver or bus company depending upon the circumstances. Others hit by a bus could also sue the driver or the company employing him. In some bus accidents, however, it is another driver's fault because that driver strikes the bus. When this happens, injured motorists must often fight to protect their legal rights.
An experienced accident lawyer in Orlando knows many accidents involving buses are rear-end crashes. In fact, according to one study conducted by the National Center for Transportation Research, an average of 38.3 percent of all bus accidents from 2008 to 2012 were rear-end accidents. Rear-end accidents can cause soft tissue damage and other serious injuries. Determining the cause of the crash is essential to taking legal action and getting compensation for damages.
Risks of Rear-End Bus Accidents
Buses can rear-end other motorists due to driver error or brake problems. Bus brakes must be carefully maintained and drivers need to account for the fact that buses have long stopping distance as a result of their large size.
Buses are rear-ended for a lot of different reasons. The National Center for Transportation Research found failure to exercise due care was one of the biggest driver-related factors when motorists rear-end buses. In close to 25 percent of cases where a bus is rear-ended, the driver was distracted at the time of the accident. In a similar number of rear-end bus crashes, alcohol or drugs may have played a role. Getting an accurate estimate of distraction or substance use among drivers who rear-end buses can be difficult because there is not always proof of distraction and chemical tests are not performed after every crash.
The National Center for Transportation Research identified certain risk factors that could make it more likely for a bus to be rear ended. One of the biggest was where the stop was located. A stop that is located in a lane of traffic is a more dangerous place for a bus to be than when a stop is within a bus bay. A bus in a lane of traffic is a sitting duck with nowhere to go if another motorist is about to hit the vehicle, while a bus in a bus bay is protected. In fact, only one crash involved in the National Center's study occurred in a bus bay and it happened because the driver that struck the bus was trying to avoid a different collision.
Near-side stops were also much less likely to be the site of rear-end bus accidents as compared to far-side stops or mid-block stops. Because near-side stops are typically not possible on six lane divided roads with right turn lanes, six lane divided roads were more likely to be the site of rear-end bus accidents as compared with two or four lane local or state roads.
A bus passenger injured due to a poorly located stop could not just have a claim against the driver who struck the bus, but also against the company or agency responsible for the placement of bus stop locations. The same may hold true for the driver and occupants of a passenger vehicle.
Central Florida accident victims and families can contact Orlando personal injury attorney Richard B. Troutman by calling 866-434-5770 or visit http://www.richardtroutman.com. Serving Orlando, Winter Park, FL and surrounding areas.