Bus Crash Accidents in North Palm Beach
Quite a number of people in North Palm Beach need to rely on different types of public transportation in order to get where they’re going. This may include travel to school (sometimes via school buses) or possibly to work. In any case, most people consider public transportation to be one of the safest means of transportation. One of the reasons for this may be due to the perception that public transportation drivers are trained professionals and that the vehicles are under rigorous inspection processes. However, there can be cases in which bus crash accidents may occur in North Palm Beach, leading to potentially severe injuries or even fatalities.
The size and construction of large bus-type vehicles are designed with the safety of the passengers in mind. In addition, buses are also able to withstand vehicle impacts from smaller, standard automobiles. However, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, bus fatality accidents have increased over the years.
For example, there was a 28% increase in the number of fatal accidents that involved large buses or trucks between 2009 and 2016. And from 2015 to 2016 the number of fatal bus and large truck crashes increased by 6%.
Experiencing a bus crash can be a traumatic experience for the passengers onboard. Moreover, the causes of bus accidents can vary and determining liability can become a complex procedure. If you have been injured in a bus crash accident in North Palm Beach, you should speak to an experienced bus accident attorney who will know what steps to take in order to handle these types of potentially difficult cases.
Even in cases in which the bus crash is a single-vehicle accident, serious injuries can occur. That’s because most passengers on standard buses do not wear seat belts or any other type of safety restraint. In addition, a bus exhibits a high center of gravity that makes it easier for the bus to roll over. In these circumstances, passengers can collide and roll over each other with a significant amount of force. Passengers may also smash into windows, the ceiling of the bus and other objects located in the vehicle.How do Bus Crash Accidents Occur?
When a smaller car collides with a large bus, serious injuries can be suffered by both the occupants of the car and the passengers on the bus. In cases in which the bus driver’s negligence has caused the accident, then the injured parties on both the bus and in the car may be able to hold both the bus company (who hired the bus driver) and the driver responsible for the injuries and property damage.
There are a number of reasons that a bus crash accident may occur. These can include:
- Bus crashes that result from hazards on the road
- Malfunctioning bus parts
- Bus drivers violating traffic laws
- Bus drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distractions that hinder the bus driver’s attention
When it comes to determining the true cause of a bus accident, an experienced bus crash attorney will try to perform the necessary investigation in order to get to the truth and determine liability. When this is achieved, you will then know who you can hold liable for medical expenses, loss time from work and other accident-related losses.Consequences of Bus Crashes
Not every bus crash-related injury is the result of a highway traffic accident. There are also occasions in which an accident can occur inside a bus that hasn’t been involved in a traffic accident. These can be the result of a dangerous situation located inside of a bus. An example of this would be a situation in which the steps leading up to the bus haven’t been properly maintained by the bus company.
The same holds true for the aisles located inside the bus. When these create a slick surface, a passenger can slip and fall. Although slipping and falling may not seem as serious as an actual bus crash, they are able to produce injuries that involve broken bones or they can even be life-threatening. If the interior of a bus isn’t properly maintained, the bus company may be found liable for the results of an accident.
You may not be aware of this, but pedestrians are also the victims of bus accidents on a number of occasions. These include those pedestrians who are either crossing the street, walking at an intersection or walking along the sidewalk. One of the reasons for this may have to do with the fact that a bus driver may sometimes have difficulty when it comes to seeing smaller people and children who happen to be crossing in front of the bus. These individuals can be struck by a bus in which the bus driver isn’t paying proper attention. Accidents may also occur in cases in which the bus driver fails to properly yield to those who are crossing at an intersection.Types of Bus Accident Injuries
These are some of the accidents that may be sustained by victims of bus-related accidents:
- Spinal cord damage that may lead to paralysis
- Back injuries that can lead to chronic back pain
- Whiplash injuries and neck trauma
- Soft tissue injuries
- Fractured bones
- Internal injuries
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions
These forms of injuries can all require medical treatment and these treatments may need to be on-going. In some cases, medical treatment will need to last the remainder of the victim’s life. This can especially be true in cases such as paralysis-causing injuries and brain damage accidents. The expenses that are involved with these treatments can include home care assistance, physical therapy and the use of expensive medical equipment. In addition, serious injuries may keep the individual from going back to work and they may end up losing significant earnings that were needed to support themselves and their families.
While spinal injury-related paralysis can certain affect the quality of someone’s life and finances, even a less severe injury (such as a broken bone) may lead to a serious disruption in someone’s life. This can be in the form of; medical bills, missed work and the stress that can be caused by the ensuing financial struggle. An experienced bus accident attorney will understand just how to calculate all the current and potential future losses that may be incurred as a result of a bus accident.
Recovering compensation for your losses after a bus accident can sometime prove to be complicated. First, your attorney must identify all of the negligent parties whom you should hold responsible. Next, your attorney must file the proper insurance claims on your behalf, collect all the medical records and bills and try to negotiate a fair settlement. If an insurance company refuses to offer a sufficient amount to cover your losses, your lawyer should prepare to file a personal injury lawsuit against any negligent parties. Such lawsuits can involve bus companies, government entities, or individual drivers, and you will likely need a seasoned litigator who can successfully represent your rights in such cases.What to do if you are Involved in a Bus Crash Accident
If you are involved in a bus crash accident in North Palm Beach, there are some things that you should do. These\will assist your attorney when it comes to filing a claim in order to protect your rights.
- If possible, take extensive photos of the accident scene and damaged vehicle
- Get contact information from witnesses and other passengers
- Seek medical care and have yourself evaluated medically. Your health always comes first.
- Adhere to the doctor’s medical advice and keep accurate records of all medical procedures, expenses and results.
- Obtain a police report. It may identify the cause of the crash.
If you were injured in a city bus accident, there may be a significant limitation regarding the amount that you may be able to recover. This has to do “sovereign immunity”. (Statute 768.28) This means that a Florida government entity is protected under the law and is therefore liable up to $200,000.00 per individual and $300,000.00 per incident. Therefore, in order to recover more than that, you may have to seek damages recovery from other parties that are involved. Another consideration has to do with the fact that although the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for a standard car accident injury is 4 years, filing against a Florida municipality or government entity is generally shorter than that, so, it’s important to seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible.Florida Bus Accident Laws
Some of the more notable laws that govern Florida bus accidents are:
- There are specialized laws that regard the types of lights that must be exhibited by buses and taxicabs according to s. 316.2399. In this case, a bus must be equipped with two flashing lights that can warn of an emergency situation aboard a bus.
- School buses that were purchased new after December 31, 2000, must be equipped with either seat belts or other safety harnesses in order to transport students in grades K – 12, according to s. 315.6145
- Physical requirements that must be met in order to operate a school bus are specified in s. 316.615
- Safety rules that govern non-public sector buses are specified in s. 316.70
- If you’ve just been in a bus accident and notice that you are beginning to feel “stiff” and sore, you should definitely seek the assistance and care of a physician immediately. You need to understand that Florida government-owned bus drivers are not required to carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Insurance.
- If you are offered an immediate settlement by an insurance adjuster for the bus company that is responsible for your accident, do NOT accept that offer without speaking to a personal injury attorney first! It’s not uncommon to be approached with a settlement agreement while you are still recovering from your injuries. However, these settlements can sometimes be very low, while the adjuster does their best in order to make the settlement look generous. Remember – they are experts at doing this. The insurance company is also counting on you to not understand your legal rights and the possibility of long term injury ramifications. You should seek the advice of a lawyer before considering accepting any settlement.
- Another concern to consider is the fact that injuries that have been sustained in a bus accident may not appear until after the crash, itself. This occurs when the body’s adrenaline reserves have subsided and the body begins attempting to heal.
- In addition, long-term injuries may remain hidden until weeks or months after the initial trauma. This can sometimes show up when someone is attempting to go back to work and discover that they are unable to do so.
When you have been involved in one of the many North Palm Beach bus crashes accidents, it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney, in order to try to receive the best care and compensation that you rightfully deserve. Therefore, when you are involved in a North Palm Beach bus crashes accident, seek immediate medical care and contact a Florida personal injury attorney.
Discuss Your Case with a Bus Accident Personal Injury Attorney Serving North Palm Beach Today! If you were injured in a bus accident in North Palm Beach, turn to Frankl & Kominsky for comprehensive legal guidance. Call (561) 800-8000 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.