Many people never consider what a fundamental role buses pay in our everyday lives.Â When we put our children on a bus as we send them off to school or jump on a city transit bus as we go to work or a shopping center, we are entrusting our safety to others.Â Most of us never even consider the possibility that the bus may be involved in an accident or that we will be injured or killed.Â This is somewhat naÃ¯ve considering that from 1990 to 2001 there was an average of 50,000-63,000 bus crashes per year.
With bus accidents being this common, it is not surprising that between 15,000 and 21,000 people were injured in bus accidents each year between 1991 and 2004.Â The real possibility of being seriously injured in a bus crash can result in significant emotional and financial consequences for the passengers as well as their dependants and loved ones.Â The experienced bus accident law firm of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC (NST Law) recognize the importance of aggressively pursuing fair compensation for the serious injuries or death suffered by you or your loves ones as a result of a busing accident caused by the negligence of others.
The high duty of care owed by a bus driver and busing company to its passengers comes from the legal classification of a bus as a common carrier.Â A common carrier is a commercial enterprise publicly offering to transport people for a set fee.Â To be a common carrier, the enterprise must offer services to the general public for a ticketed price.
A common carrier must exercise extreme caution and vigilantly guard against dangerous conditions.Â Usually even minimal fault on the part of a bus driver or busing company may result in a portion of legal liability if a passenger is harmed, even if the injury was caused in part by another party.
The safety of the vulnerable traveling public is in the hands of those controlling the means of transportation.Â Â A common carrier cannot transfer, delegate or assign its special duty of care to any other entity.Â The busing company bears the responsibility of keeping its passengers safe.
As common carriers, busing companies must carefully operate, inspect and maintain their equipment and facilities.Â Bus drivers and maintenance people must be properly trained and the bus service must be professional and cautious. The busing company must also take reasonable precautions to protect passengers from foreseeable hazardous behavior on the part of either its employees as well as other passengers.Â Bus companies must make sure bus drivers are properly trained and drive legally and safely.Â Bus doors, steps and handrails must be safely designed and maintained, and the bus must take care not to lurch dangerously when there are walking or standing passengers.Â There are many special regulations that apply to buses as common carriers, and the experienced bus accident lawyers of NST Law will determine how these regulations apply to your case.
A bus companyâ€™s very high duty of care to it passengers is not unlimited. The busing company is not required to provide a complete guarantee of safety under extraordinary circumstance nor must it take precautions that radically deviate from its normal operation. Highly unusual and unpredictable accidents or events that cause harm to passengers may be beyond the scope of a busing companyâ€™s responsibility. In addition, courts hold passengers responsible for their own safety to some degree.Â Bus passengers should conduct themselves reasonably under the circumstances, follow bus rules and not expose themselves to dangerous conditions when the bus has offered safer alternatives.
Despite the high duty of care owed by busing companies, a person who is injured by the negligence of a bus company must take appropriate steps following an accident that causes injury.Â A person who is injured in a busing accident or by unsafe conditions on the bus should seek prompt medical treatment.Â Because a bus is a common carrier, employees of the bus company will typically summon medical help for passengers who are injured.Â Anyone who is injured should insist on a complete medical evaluation of any injuries including head, back and neck injuries.
A person injured in a Tennessee busing accident should also act promptly to retain an experienced attorney as the statute of limitations may create a bar to ones claim if they do not act promptly.Â Many busing accidents involve bus lines that are owned by county or municipal governments which usually require special filing (notice) requirements and an even shorter period of time within which a claim must be brought.Â The attorneys of NST Law are familiar with these special requirements and time limits under Tennessee law and can act promptly and diligently to ensure that your right to be compensated for your injuries and those of your family are not compromised.
There are many different potential parties who may be partially or totally responsible for injuries that are caused by a busing accident or other dangerous condition under the control of the busing company.Â The lawyers of NST Law know the importance of identifying all appropriate parties who may bear responsibility for ones injuries early in a case so that an injured party is fully compensated.Â Among those parties that may bear responsibility are the following:
- The Busing Company – The busing company may be responsible for a collision caused by faulty brakes or tires or for inadequately trained or supervised drivers or maintenance employees.Â The busing company is required to repair and maintain buses so that they are safe to operate.Â Other hazards that are posed by poor maintenance of the bus are also the responsibility of the busing company.
- Independent Maintenance Company – Busing companyâ€™s often contract with other companyâ€™s to maintain and repair their buses.Â If the company fails to adequately maintain the bus, the maintenance company may be responsible for resulting injuries.
- Government Entities – Many times government entities including cities and counties own transit bus lines.Â If the bus driver or the public employeeâ€™s negligence result in injury to a passenger, the governmental entity can be liable.
- School Districts/Boards – If a child is injured in a school bus accident, the school district or school board may be culpable.
- Bus Driver â€“ The bus driver may be liable if he drives carelessly or is under the influence but many times the driver may not have the means to pay a judgement.
- Bus or Part Manufacturer – If the bus or parts on the bus are defective when they are put into the marketplace and cause an unreasonable risk of harm, the manufacturer or supplier may be responsible for a bus accident that results from the defect.
- Driver of Other Vehicles – If a driver of another vehicle contributes to the accident, the other driver may also be a defendant.
- Tour or Charter Company â€“ Often bus trips are part of a tour package offered by a tour company.Â The tour company may be liable for a tour related accident.
At NST Law, we will apply our familiarity with the special regulations that govern common carriers to the specifics of your bus accident.Â Our lawyers recognize the importance of taking prompt action to preserve your claims and comply with all appropriate procedures and time limits for pursuing compensation for you injuries.Â We will also carefully investigate the circumstances of your case to make sure all potentially responsible parties are part of your case.Â NST Law has been recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the top 5% of law firms nationally.Â If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus accident, you should contact NST Law today.