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Personal Injury Claims for Bus Collisions

With strict laws in place to prevent collisions, the rate of accidents in this country is much lower than in other countries. The Department of Transportation requires state transit systems to evaluate potential bus drivers by considering the following factors:

  • Minimum age requirement;
  • Personality / attitude evaluation;
  • Minimum of 5 years of driving experience;
  • Review of the driver’s record;
  • Mental examinations; and
  • Physical examinations including drug and alcohol testing.

In a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Administration division bus causation study, the department examined 39 specific bus accidents by investigating police reports, interviewing those involved, and examining the scene of the accident.

Results of this study showed that most of the 39 bus accidents were linked to driver error from either driver. The most common error committed by bus drivers was related to inadequate surveillance, whereas the most frequent mistake made by the vehicle drivers was entering an intersection incorrectly.

Some less frequent causes of bus accidents resulted from maintenance issues with the buses such as brake failure, and pedestrians walking in the street. Recovering injuries for these types of accidents is complicated and requires the skill of an experienced personal injury attorney.


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Lawyer for Bus Collision Claims in Satellite Beach, FL

Being involved in a bus accident is a traumatic situation. It may take time to recover from your injuries. At The Law Offices of James B. Coulter, James B. Coulter has handled numerous bus accident cases and is aware of the proper steps to take to protect the rights for you or your loved one. Please call now at (321) 586-9944 for your free consultation. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter serves clients in Brevard County including Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Titusville, and neighboring communities.


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Bus Collision Claims Information Center

  • Common causes of bus collisions
  • Common bus collision injuries
  • Common bus collision suits
  • Potentially liable parties
  • Statute of limitations
  • Recovering damages
  • More information on bus collisions

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Common Causes of Bus Collisions in Melbourne

Despite being considered a safer mode of transportation, bus drivers still owe a higher duty of care to their passengers. Furthermore, buses have a duty of care to other motorists on the road. When a bus driver breaches this duty resulting in an accident, he or she may be liable for the damages. Some common causes of bus accidents in Florida include:

  • Failure to follow traffic regulations;
  • Overloaded buses;
  • Poor bus maintenance;
  • Fatigued bus drivers;
  • Drivers operating under the influence;
  • Inadequately trained bus drivers; and
  • Distracted drivers;

To show a bus driver’s negligence, the injured must prove the following:

  • The bus had a duty of care to passengers;
  • The bus driver breached his or her duty;
  • The claimant suffered an injury; and
  • The injury was the result of the bus driver’s breached duty.

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Common Bus Accident Injuries

With a lack of safety precautions for passengers aboard buses, the possibility of injuries or death is heightened for these passengers. In the event of a bus accident, common injuries include the following:

  • Seizures;
  • Paralysis;
  • Death;
  • Brain injuries;
  • Burns;
  • Broken bones;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Whiplash; and
  • Lacerations.

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Types of Civil Suits arising out of Bus Collisions

Product Liability

If either of the vehicles involved in the accident had a factory defect at the time of the accident, and the defect can be linked to the accident, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
To connect the factory defect to the accident, an attorney can conduct an investigation to verify that the accident was connected to the defect. This can be determined by working with experts to see if the car had a labeling, manufacturing, or some other related issue. If the defect is successfully linked to the accident, courts will require the plaintiff to show:

  1. The bus was being operated as intended
  2. The defective part was “unreasonably dangerous”; and
  3. The performance of the bus remained the same as it was at its initial purchase.

Numerous product liability claims against manufacturers have involved brakes, defective tires, windows, accelerators, seats, and defective fuel systems.

Wrongful Death

In most wrongful death lawsuits, your claim will rely on negligence or product liability. In other circumstances, where malicious behavior or disregard for human life contributed to the death, you may be able to recover punitive damages against the offender to discourage similar behavior in the future.

Negligence

The most frequent type of lawsuit for bus collisions involves negligence, or failure to behave responsibly, therefore, causing injury to another. Proving negligence against a bus driver may be slightly easier due to their heightened duty of care.


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Parties Potentially Liable in Bus Collisions

  • Manufacturer of the bus or any part of the bus;
  • The Florida municipality in which the accident occurred;
  • Negligent third party;
  • Bus driver;
  • Owner of the bus, including Florida state, other government entities, and private companies; or
  • The company overseeing maintenance of the bus.

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Florida State Government Liability Limitations

If the bus involved in the accident was owned, maintained, or operated by the government, your potential compensation may be limited. Due to sovereign immunity, the government is shielded from liability, in some cases, completely barring recovery. However, in Florida, sovereign immunity is waived in certain circumstances to an extent.

For claims for damages of up to $200,000, the state of Florida is liable similar to any other party; however, sovereign immunity still applies for claims exceeding this amount. If your claim exceeds $200,000, you may be required to name multiple defendants.


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Potential Damages for Your Injuries

A bus collision victim may be able to receive damages for the following:

Mental Anguish: Victims may recover for emotional suffering resulting from an accident. Some examples of this include embarrassment, fright, worry, nervousness, grief and other forms of emotional stress. Parents may not be able to receive compensation for mental anguish due to injuries to their child during a school bus accident; there are few circumstances in which recovery is possible.

Loss of Consortium: An injured party’s spouse may be able to receive compensation for loss of affection and comfort, marital benefits, and sexual relations.

Past and Future Medical Costs: Medical costs may include hospital fees, emergency room fees, surgery, assistive devices and appointments with necessary medical professionals.

Lost Wages: Injured bus accident victims may be able to recover for wages lost due to injuries from the accident. Even if the injured party was unemployed at the time of the accident, they may be eligible to receive lost wages if they can show earning potential during the relevant time period.

Pain and Suffering: This includes damages for physical pain suffered due to injuries from the accident. Damages for pain and suffering will depend on various factors including the type of the injury, the severity of the pain, and the amount of time the victim is expected to suffer are considered when awarding these damages.


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More Information on Bus Collisions

Section 1012.45 on Requirements and Duties of School Bus Drivers - Visit Florida’s state site to find full statutes on duty of care and requirements for bus drivers. This site also shows legal definitions for terms included in the relevant statute, related laws with regard to bus drivers, and possible penalties for those found in violation of Florida’s laws.

2014 Statistics on Bus Crash Facts - Search the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to find the web version of Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts spreadsheet from 2014. This site contains statistics and data for each report’s data tables and graphs. This site also displays the latest edition of the Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts which contains statistics about bus collision fatalities, injuries, and property damages.


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Finding a Bus Collision Attorney in Brevard County, FL

If you were a passenger on a bus involved in an accident, or a third party injured in a bus accident in Satellite Beach, Brevard, County, or Melbourne, you may be eligible to receive damages.

To learn more about how personal injury attorney James B. Coulter may be able to help you, please fill out The Law Offices of James B. Coulter’s free case review form today, or call (321) 586-9944.

This article was last updated on Monday, October 10, 2016.

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