You never imagined such a thing could happen to you, but the bus bumped over the median and before you could react, it hit a car head-on. Thrown from your seat like all the other passengers, you hit your head on a window and fall to the floor. People and luggage fall on top of you as the bus stops with a metallic scream.
Time loses meaning as passengers begin moving and helping the injured off the bus, to the roadway. Once off the bus, if you are physically able, what should you do?
- Make a mental or written account of the events as you remember them
- Note the bus company and the bus number
- Note the actions of the driver during the ride
- Ask other passengers about their impressions of the accident
- Ask witnesses to describe what they saw
- Only answer questions asked by law enforcement agents
- Do not sign any documents at the scene or hospital
The bus company will send their insurance agents to the scene as quickly as possible to assess the accident and have passengers sign waivers agreeing to take a small settlement without going to court.
A grim future
Look at what your future holds after an injury for which you are not at fault:
- Hospital bills
- Time missed from work
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain from injuries
- Limited mobility
Pennsylvania laws regarding bus accidents become complicated when determining fault, who is the registered insurer of the bus and driver negligence. Mechanical failures and the maintenance schedules followed to prevent failures come under investigation, as well. The investigation into an accident may take months, but you need a Pennsylvania bus accident lawyer immediately.
The faster you find an attorney, who specializes in bus accidents, the safer your claim for compensation becomes. The attorney will take all the information you gathered directly after the accident, any documents you have from the bus company and investigate on his own. He will look for:
- The black box
- GPS equipment
- The driver's log
- The accounts made by witnesses and other passengers
According to Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics commercial bus accidents accounted for 0.5-percent of Pennsylvania's vehicle accidents in 2016. This equals 637 accidents involving commercial buses, which caused 9 fatalities and 452 injuries.
An increase in bus collisions
Recently, a passenger bus collided with a tractor-trailer on I-80 near mile marker 206. One fatality and 44-injured passengers were reported immediately following the accident.
Just prior to the Pennsylvania bus collision, eight fatalities and 14 injuries occurred when the front tire of a bus malfunctioned, causing a collision in eastern Tennessee. The crash involved the bus, which carried elderly church members from a three day religious event, a tractor-trailer and an SUV.
Ultimately, the bus owner takes responsibility for the safety of all the passengers and pays high insurance rates as mandated by most insurance agencies. When a bus accident happens, owners do not want to compensate passengers for injuries or pain and suffering.
Bus accident attorneys know the laws concerning your claim and work quickly to find the insurance carrier, owner and driver of the bus. A driver may face law suits for driving recklessly, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving without a valid CDL license.
Call an attorney at the Lassen Law Firm as quickly as possible when involved in a bus accident. Do not sign documents or talk to anyone except emergency personnel while at the scene of the accident. Keep your life as normal as possible even when it happens to you.