Bus Accidents

Bus accidents can be devastating, resulting in serious injuries and even fatalities. Whether you suffered harm or lost a loved one on a private or a public bus, you have a right to take legal action against those negligent.

Bus Accident Facts and Statistics

Accidents involving all types of buses result in thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities every year:[1]

  • In 2018, school buses accounted for 40% of fatal bus crashes. Transit buses accounted for 35%, and intercity buses for 12% of fatal crashes.
  • In 2018, 85 school buses were involved in fatal crashes out of a total of 234.
  • Accidents involving buses caused 15,000 injuries in 35,000 people in 2018.
  • Buses caused 50,000 incidences of property damage in 2018.

Common Bus Accident Injuries

Bus accidents can result in injuries to multiple people, some mild and many severe. They can also cause deaths. Some of the most common injuries suffered in bus accidents are:

  • Head, brain, or spine injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Bruising and contusions
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries, such as organ damage and bleeding

Causes of Bus Accidents

Bus accidents occur for a number of reasons. Some accidents result from one error or poor judgment, while others happen because of several factors. Some of the most common causes of bus accidents include:

  • Errors made by the driver
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driver intoxication
  • Failure to follow safety guidelines
  • Mechanical failures on the bus
  • Faulty equipment on the bus

Some accidents may result from external factors over which the driver has no control: bad weather, poor road conditions, other drivers being careless, or distracted pedestrians or cyclists.

Who is Negligent in a Bus Accident?

An accident may truly be accidental, but in most cases, someone is to blame. Most accidents are preventable. This means someone is negligent. One or more people did not act reasonably and breached a duty of care, a responsibility to protect passengers and pedestrians.

Determining who is negligent is simple in some cases. For example, if the bus driver violated safety guidelines, resulting in an accident, they are negligent. In other cases, it may not be so obvious. A lawyer experienced in bus accidents can help you determine who is at fault:

  • The bus driver
  • The bus or transportation company
  • The local government that operates public transportation
  • The manufacturer of the bus or equipment on the bus
  • Workers who maintain and repair buses

Can I Sue for Damages after a Bus Accident?

If someone can be proven negligent in causing the accident, your injuries, and resulting damages, you can sue. The process, time limits, and damages amounts vary depending on the state in which the accident happened and the type of bus:

  • Private buses. If you suffered injuries on a tour bus or other private transportation vehicle, you can sue the company, the driver, or even a manufacturer for damages. The exact defendants in your suit depending on the situation and who was negligent in the accident.
  • Public transportation. Public bus systems, such as city buses, are government-run, so suing for damages is a different process. The rules depend on state laws, but you generally have less time to take action than in a private suit. You must also file a special claim first.
  • School buses. For public school bus accidents, you must follow state laws for suing the government.  

You must prove that an individual or organization was negligent for your injuries in any bus accident lawsuit. This means showing they had a duty of care—a bus driver has a duty to avoid distractions, for instance—and breached that duty, resulting in the accident, injuries, and damages.

What to Do After a Bus Accident

It’s not always easy to know what to do after an accident that leaves you injured. There is a lot to consider and it can be confusing, but a lawyer can be a big help.

Take these steps if you suffered injuries from a bus accident:

  1. Get medical attention.
    This should be your priority, especially in an emergency. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, get checked out. There may be more damage than you realize.
  2. Report the accident.
    It’s important to call the police in the event of any vehicle crash that causes injuries. By calling the police, you make sure a report is filed. You’ll want it as evidence if you take legal action.
  3. Gather evidence.
    If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries. Write down what you remember about the accident as soon as possible.
  4. Collect information.
    Talk to witnesses to get their contact information and recollections of the accident. Get the information about the bus and the driver as well.
  5. Contact a lawyer.
    A personal injury lawyer specializing in bus accidents can evaluate your case and advise on taking legal action and recovering damages.

Being hurt in a bus accident can be life changing. If you have medical bills or cannot work because of the accident, talk to a lawyer about your options.

  1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2018). Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2018.
    Retrieved from: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2018