We Expect Taking the Bus to Be Safe and Easy- But What Happens When There Is an Accident?
Taking the bus in Philadelphia can be a quick, easy, and inexpensive substitute for driving your own car or using rideshare services within the city. What’s more, many commercial bus companies offer convenient bus routes to take travelers to destinations outside the city.
When we take the bus, we assume the driver will get us to where we’re going safely and without incident. Even still, in 2021 alone there were over 426 accidents involving a commercial buses, and an additional 222 involving school buses in Pennsylvania. What happens if you or a loved one is injured while a passenger on a bus? What happens if a bus crashes into your car or onto your property? An experienced Philadelphia bus accident attorney can make sure that you aren’t left on the hook for the costs of such accidents.
$32 Million Wrongful Death
$26 Million Truck Accident
$17.5 Million Car Accident
$12 Million Product Liability
$9 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$7.5 Million Auto Accident
$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Accident
$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury
$5 Million Medical Malpractice
$5 Million Bus Accidents
What Are My Options After a Bus Accident?
Every crash is different, and so every case is different. The best way to learn whether you might have a bus accident claim is to speak with a lawyer familiar with navigating legal claims after bus accidents in Philadelphia.
But before doing so, it may be helpful to have some background on what exactly an attorney has to prove in order to win your case. If you have specific questions, the bus accident lawyers at Munley Law are more than happy to discuss your case with you free of charge. During an initial consultation, we will listen to what happened, explain your rights, and help explain what evidence we will need to prove your claim.
A negligence lawsuit
To recover compensation from a bus driver, bus company, or even the city, you must first prove that those parties (the defendants) were negligent. You’ve likely heard of “negligence” lawsuits. Negligence is a legal concept and has a special meaning in the law.
There are four elements of a negligence claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
To prove the duty element, a bus accident attorney must prove that the person who did wrong (for example, the bus driver), owed you a duty not to cause harm. Whether a duty exists is a complex legal question. But generally, under the law, a person owes you a duty to not cause foreseeable harm by their actions. That means that you can generally hold a bus driver or bus company liable when their negligence results in a bus crash because those parties owe you, as a passenger, pedestrian, or fellow driver on the road, a duty not to cause harm.
The breach element requires proof that the wrongdoer (the defendants) failed to act according to a specific standard of care. Generally, all people must act as a reasonable person would in a given situation. If a bus driver crashes because he wasn’t paying attention, or if a bus company or the city fails to properly maintain their buses or permits an unskilled or overtired bus driver to be on the road, they may have breached a duty.
Causation is simple in theory, but often a difficult factual and legal issue. To successfully bring a negligence claim, there must be proof that the breach of a duty, what the wrongdoer did, caused your injuries. This can sometimes be difficult when it comes to medical injuries. That’s where expert witnesses come in.
The final element of a bus accident claim is damages. You must prove that the breach of a duty caused you financial or emotional damages. Said differently, this is where we must prove the amount of money involved.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
There are numerous reasons a bus could crash. Indeed, you’ve probably seen plenty of examples of obscure bus crashes on the internet or on the news. But, generally speaking, when we see bus accidents, there are several “repeat offenders” when it comes to their causes:
City Driving Complications
Driving in the city is difficult for even small cars, but doing so in large buses presents unique challenges for even experienced bus drivers. Bus drivers must pay careful attention to the city around them. Be it unexpected or poorly marked construction, pedestrians crossing when and where they shouldn’t, or other irresponsible drivers on the road, city driving is hard for large buses. Furthermore, Philadelphia presents an even bigger challenge, given its many narrow streets. Finally, other drivers sometimes get impatient with buses, meaning they use drastic, and sometimes dangerous, maneuvers to get around buses on the street. Oftentimes, these maneuvers lead to accidents. When a bus driver fails to react to these challenges as they should, you may have a legal claim.
Federal law generally prohibits bus drivers from using their cell phone while driving, but there are plenty of distractions that could affect a bus driver’s ability to drive safely. For example, unruly or distracting passengers, eating and driving while driving, adjusting the seat or other vehicle settings, or even just daydreaming as a result of a long shift can all result in a distracted driver.
Bus drivers sometimes work long shifts or work multiple jobs. While studies have demonstrated that doing so contributes to a lack of sleep by drivers, and therefore an increased risk of accidents by drivers, it still happens. Research suggests drowsy driving can impair a driver just as much as alcohol, and therefore a tired driver is a dangerous one. When a driver is overworked and the city or bus company permits it to happen, you may have a claim.
Buses have weight restrictions, and regulations govern how weight should be distributed to avoid a driver losing control of a bus. Failing to abide by these restrictions can cause an accident. The risk is especially high when bus traffic is higher than usual, for example, during major events like football games, concerts, festivals, and other times when more people are in the city than usual. Furthermore, when buses exceed passenger limits in these contexts, the risk of passengers misbehaving is higher.
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: buses, like all vehicles, must be properly maintained. Buses are on the road all day every day, and as a result, suffer more wear and tear than the usual car. So when a bus isn’t properly maintained, be it to cut costs or because the maintenance was done negligently, it can cause a catastrophic mechanical failure, resulting in an accident.
Poor Hiring or Training
The City, school districts, and bus companies alike have an obligation to hire qualified people to drive their buses and provide those people with quality training to prepare them for their jobs. Driving a bus, especially in Philadelphia isn’t easy, and mastering the driving skills required takes time, and all parties have an obligation to ensure drivers are trained, and retrained, when necessary, to ensure they are prepared to drive passengers.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
While after a bus accident, you may be contacted by the city or the bus company with an offer, you should talk to an attorney first. The right bus accident lawyer is always going to work to make sure your rights are protected in the wake of a bus accident. No matter how big or small, bus accidents have consequences, and you and your loved ones should be able to focus on getting medical care and dealing with any damage caused by the accident. Your lawyer can focus on holding the wrongdoer, be it the driver, the bus company, or someone else, accountable and getting you the financial relief you need to move forward.
Here are just a few reasons you shouldn’t try to navigate the aftermath of a bus crash alone:
Bus accidents are legally complex, given the number of players involved
While it may seem simple, there are many players involved in making bus transportation work. For that reason, bus crash cases in Philadelphia are complex. To make matters worse, many times the different players involved are going to react to an accident by trying to limit how much money they could have to pay. You need a Philadelphia bus accident lawyer to make sure you’re not left holding the bill for the damages caused by someone else’s wrongdoing.
Passengers, the bus driver, the driver of any other vehicle involved, the bus company, insurance companies, the bus maintenance company, the company that makes the parts, and even sometimes the city, all have a vested interest in the aftermath and outcome of a bus accident. It’s hard to know which of these parties is financially responsible for the injuries you suffered. In fact, multiple parties could be held responsible. A lawyer can help you get to the bottom of it.
A Philadelphia bus crash accident attorney can help resolve a dispute before it really starts
Of course, lawyers are familiar with fighting cases in court. But, sometimes, the best option is to resolve a dispute well before a formal lawsuit. Sometimes, lawyers can do this just by being involved in negotiations. After all, people can be more forthcoming if they know that you are armed and ready to take a dispute to court.
Other times, we can help by writing a formal demand letter. This is essentially a letter explaining your claim, the reasoning behind your entitlement to money, and the underlying law. Sometimes, all it takes is someone who can speak the insurance company’s language, or who can get through to the lawyers representing the bus driver or bus company who did you wrong. These letters sometimes resolve cases long before a formal court case could.
Bus accident lawyers can investigate your claim and gather evidence
Because of the complexity of bus accidents, there can be a lot of groundwork to cover to investigate and prove your claim.
A lawyer can identify and interview witnesses. Many people could have seen the accident or the events leading up to it. For example, the bus driver, other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and other witnesses who happened across the accident scene can have invaluable information. We can also figure out who maintained the bus or buses involved. We’ll find witnesses with information, interview them, and preserve their testimony for use in court.
We’ll also gather documents and other physical evidence. We can take pictures of the bus involved, the accident scene, and any damage caused. Furthermore, we can track down surveillance video and other camera footage of the accident. We know where to look, and have experience tracking this evidence down for our clients.
Furthermore, sometimes you will need an expert witness. This could be a medical expert who can testify to your injuries and how they will impact your life. It could also be an expert tasked with calculating the different ways the bus accident has cost you money. Bus drivers and bus companies are subject to numerous interlocking government regulations by the local, state, and federal governments. There are experts that can explain these regulations and why any violation of them was unreasonable. These witnesses can be the difference between winning and losing a case. Munley Law has worked with experts across Pennsylvania, and the country, to support our clients. We know how to do it effectively and efficiently.
A Philadelphia bus accident attorney can help you estimate how much money you could recover and help you weigh your options
After a bus accident, you and your family will undoubtedly have questions, and it’s completely common to not know whether, and how, to seek compensation from the at fault party. A lawyer can help. At Munley Law, we can help you estimate how much money you could be entitled to during a free initial consultation, and we can help present your options in plain English.
Why Choose Munley Law for Your Personal Injury Case?
With so many personal injury law firms to choose from, how do you know who you can trust to fight for you and your family? Selecting a Philadelphia bus accident attorney is an important decision. But Munley Law sets itself apart, and we’re ready to prove it to you. Here are just a few reasons to let us fight for you and your family:
Experience – When it comes to a bus accident lawsuit, experience counts. Each of our partners has decades of experience representing individuals and families who have suffered serious injuries or been denied benefits following an injury. Because we are a family firm, we often work closely together on our cases to achieve the best possible results for you.
Industry Leaders – The board-certified Philadelphia bus accident lawyers at Munley Law are among the highest-rated and most respected legal advocates in the country. All of our credentials (including Best Lawyers in America, Best Law Firms, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, and Million Dollar Advocates Forum) reflect the extremely high standards we’ve set for ourselves, and the recognition of our clients and peers.
Resources – Successfully recovering money after a Philadelphia bus crash is challenging. At Munley Law, we have access to resources that are typically available only to big law firms. We work closely with our network of engineers, investigators, experts, and in-house medical personnel to build your case. What’s more, unlike at other law firms, you aren’t on the hook for paying these professionals out of pocket.
Our No-Fee Promise – We do not collect a fee unless we win your case. If we do not produce results for you, you owe us nothing. Also, at no point will you ever pay anything out of pocket; even when we win, our fee comes out of the money we recover for you.
You can contact our attorneys by phone or by using the form or chat feature available on our website. Contacting us is free, and doesn’t obligate you to do anything. But the first step to getting you the recovery you deserve is to speak with one of your Philadelphia bus accident lawyers, who are ready to get results for you.
Philadelphia Practice Areas
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
1617 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19103