Who Is Liable If A Bus Gets Into A Crash?
Bus accidents can occur due to a variety of factors, including driver error, mechanical failure, poor road conditions, or the actions of other drivers. Understanding the specific circumstances of the accident is crucial in determining liability.
Potentially Liable Parties
The following parties may potentially be liable for a bus accident:
Bus Driver Liability
Bus drivers are considered professionals, and as such, they are held to a higher standard of care when operating a vehicle. In many cases, the bus driver can be held liable if their negligent actions contributed to the accident. Negligence can include behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, or failing to adhere to traffic laws.
If the bus driver is employed by a company, school district, or government entity, the employer may be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employee. This is known as “respondeat superior,” which holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees during the course of their employment. Additionally, if the employer is found to be negligent in areas such as hiring, training, or supervision of the bus driver, they may be directly liable for the collision.
Manufacturer or Maintenance Provider Liability
If the accident is caused by a mechanical failure or defect in the bus, the manufacturer or maintenance provider may be held liable. This could include issues with brakes, tires, or other critical components. Establishing liability in these cases may involve a thorough investigation into the maintenance records of the bus and an examination of whether the manufacturer adhered to safety standards.
In cases involving public buses operated by government entities, such as municipal or state-owned transit agencies, special rules may apply. These entities may have immunity from certain types of lawsuits, but exceptions exist, particularly in cases of gross negligence.
Passenger and Third-Party Liability
If a bus crash involves actions by other drivers, pedestrians, or third parties, they may be liable for their contributions to the incident.
Passengers who engage in disruptive behavior or actions that distract the bus driver may also share liability.
What Should I Do If I Get Hit by a Bus?
Immediately call 911 to request an ambulance and law enforcement to attend the scene. This ensures that injured parties receive prompt medical attention, and it helps in creating an official accident report.
Document the Scene
If you are not transported to the hospital, remain at the scene and document important details. Take photographs of the bus, other vehicles involved, the surrounding area, and any injuries you sustained. Obtain contact information from fellow passengers, the bus driver, their employer, other involved parties, and any witnesses.
Seek Medical Care
Even if you are not taken to the hospital, it is crucial to see a doctor immediately after leaving the accident scene. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms, plus medical records will strengthen the link between your injuries and the collision.
Speak To A Philadelphia Bus Accident Lawyer
Consult a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer as soon as possible for assistance in determining liability. They can guide you through every aspect of your claim, helping you understand your rights and responsibilities.