When a bus of any type collides with a person who is in a passenger car or who is a motorcyclist, pedestrian or cyclist, it can lead to tragic consequences. This is mainly due to the massive size and weight of buses. Passengers aboard buses can also be severely harmed when collisions occur.
As the most recent N.C. Department of Transportation figures show, out of the 1,457 bus crashes that occurred during the course of a year, 503 (or 35 percent) resulted in injury or death.
Unfortunately, many of these bus accidents in North Carolina occur due to the negligence of drivers or the companies, public transportation agencies or school districts that employ them.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a bus in Goldsboro or a surrounding area, you should seek help right away from an attorney who knows how to handle these highly complex cases.
Contact Strickland Agner Pittman. A lawyer from our firm can provide a free, immediate consultation and get to work today on protecting your legal rights.
Why Do Bus Accidents Happen?
Any type of bus can be involved in a crash. However, school buses and commercial buses, including private tour buses, interstate motor coaches and public transportation vehicles, account for most of these accidents.
For instance, out of the 1,457 bus accidents that occurred in North Carolina during a recent year, 83 percent (1,211) involved school or commercial buses.
The reality is that many of these crashes are not random events. Instead, they are the foreseeable results of careless and reckless decisions and actions.
As Strickland Agner Pittman investigates the bus crash that has harmed you or caused the loss of a loved one, we will seek to determine whether such negligence contributed to the harm you have suffered.
Types of negligence that can lead to bus accidents include:
- Driver error (including speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, failing to keep a proper lookout and operating a bus while under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
- Mechanical defects (including defects that could have been addressed if the bus had been properly inspected and repaired)
- Lack of adequate supervision (including the failure to hire qualified drivers, properly train drivers and monitor adherence to state and federal rules and regulations).
If our investigation reveals that you or a loved one was harmed in a bus accident due to the negligence of one or more parties, we can take steps to pursue just compensation for all of your losses in a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
How a case is litigated often will depend on the type of bus involved in the crash.
School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents frequently occur in North Carolina, injuring other motorists, student passengers and pedestrians and cyclists (who often are children).
The reality is that school bus drivers can make dangerous errors while driving through congested areas surrounding schools or neighborhoods. If a school bus driver’s negligence causes a crash, the driver and the local school district may be held liable for the harm caused.
In some cases, the school district may be liable for its own negligent conduct. For instance, the district may have hired a driver without a proper commercial driver’s license (CDL) or with a history of traffic or criminal violations.
In some cases, a district may have failed to properly train and supervise the driver, or it may have allowed the driver to operate a bus that needed to be serviced and was unsafe for the road.
A claim against a school district must be brought under the State Tort Claims Act. It is important to work with an attorney who knows how to navigate a claim through the issues that often arise in these cases.
As one North Carolina TV station reported, school bus accidents in North Carolina cost taxpayers $66 million over a recent 12-year period, or an average of $5.5 million per year.
Commercial Bus Accidents
In addition to the bus driver, a public transportation provider such as the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority (GWTA, or Gateway) could also be held liable if its own negligence or a careless error by one of its drivers caused a crash that hurt you or caused the death of a family member. These cases involve issues surrounding sovereign immunity and must be carefully litigated.
Many crashes that occur in Goldsboro and surrounding areas involve tour buses and interstate motor coaches. An investigation may reveal that a crash was caused by a violation of federal regulations that govern the tour bus industry.
For instance, a crash may be traced to driver fatigue that was caused by the driver’s violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours-of-service rules that restrict the number of hours that a bus operator can be on the road.
A personal injury or wrongful death claim involving a tour bus may be complex due to the need to file the lawsuit against an out-of-state company.
Contact a Goldsboro Bus Accident Attorney Today
As you can see from the above, bus accident lawsuits can be highly complex. These cases can involve extensive investigation that must be conducted as efficiently as possible in order to avoid the risk of evidence being lost or destroyed. Litigation may also involve handling issues such as employer liability, sovereign immunity and jurisdiction over an out-of-state party.
This is why it is important to work with an experienced accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been harmed in a bus crash.
At Strickland Agner Pittman, we will put our personal injury background to work for you and seek maximum compensation for your losses suffered in a bus accident, including past and future medical expenses, past and future lost income, pain and suffering and more.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We can review the facts of your case and discuss how we can help you to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Sources / More Information
- I-Team: North Carolina School Bus Accidents Cost Taxpayers, WTVD
- North Carolina Traffic Crash Facts, N.C. Department of Transportation