Buses transport millions of Americans daily to work, school, and other activities. They are also the only mode of transportation for many Champaign-Urbana area residents, with more than 9 million rides in 2020.
However, bus crashes can be just as dangerous as motor vehicle accidents. The Illinois Department of Transportation states that in 2021 there were 1,839 bus accidents, 18 of which ended in personal injury. If you or someone you cared about sustained injuries or wrongful death in a car accident with a bus, the experienced bus accident attorneys at Nessler & Associates can help you with your case.
We understand the physical pain and suffering you have endured since your bus accident and will guide you through the legal process of filing a claim against the responsible bus driver, their employer, and the insurance company. We dedicate ourselves to protecting your future and ensuring that a fair settlement covers all your financial and medical needs related to your injury.
What Are the Common Causes of Bus Accidents?
Our Champaign County, IL, bus accident attorneys at Nessler & Associates can investigate the cause of the accident to identify the negligent party person responsible for your injuries.
During the investigation, your attorney may uncover some of the most common causes of bus accidents.
Bus Driver Age and Experience
According to a 2012 study, the driver’s age can affect the severity of a bus crash. There is a high risk of serious bus accidents among young drivers under the age of 25 and older drivers over the age of 55.
Inexperience and an inability to predict risk contribute to more accidents among younger bus drivers. A false sense of multi-tasking while driving can lead older drivers to engage in risky behaviors, including eating or talking on the phone.
Bus drivers interact with passengers, causing them not to pay attention to the road and oncoming traffic. A 2015 study of bus drivers found they experienced the most frequent distractions with passenger interactions and finding personal items. These distractions often occur on city streets, highways, and buses with over 20 passengers.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, commercial drivers who carry passengers cannot drive over 10 hours following 8 hours of consecutive break time or for more than 15 hours after 8 consecutive hours off. Private bus companies also dictate how many hours a driver can drive before they go on break and how often they must take a break.
However, bus drivers can experience fatigue due to long shifts and tight schedules to transport passengers to their destinations on time. A 2016 study reported that 19% of city bus drivers must fight to stay awake at least 2 to 3 times a week while driving a bus. Nearly half of city drivers experience sleepiness 2 to 4 times per month.
Our attorneys can review accident site photos and videos, interview witnesses, and check the police reports. Once we discover the cause of the bus accident, we can move to file a compensation claim against the parties responsible for your injuries.
Who is Liable for a Bus Accident in Champaign County?
Your attorney may handle your bus accident case differently depending on whether a private company or a public entity operated the bus.
Private Bus Companies
Private travel companies like Greyhound typically provide a fee for transportation between cities and states. They must follow federal regulations regarding work hours and breaks for their drivers and inspect their buses. Your lawyer can hold them responsible for your injuries if they do not allow their drivers to rest or fail to maintain their buses.
Product liability occurs when a manufacturer knows of a faulty component but does not recall it. For example, the manufacturer may be held responsible if defective parts in a bus caused your accident.
School districts and local governments must ensure they inspect and maintain their fleets of buses and hire experienced drivers who keep the children’s safety in mind. From 2010 to 2020, 38% of all fatal bus accidents involved school buses. The school district, city, or county government may be liable for your child’s injuries if sustained in a school bus accident.
If an accident involves a public transit bus in Champaign County, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is likely responsible for your injuries.
However, a local governmental institution, such as a school district or a public transportation entity, enjoys sovereign immunity. This law means they cannot be held accountable for their actions.
Working with a bus accident lawyer can help you show that the bus driver’s behavior caused your accident. The state of Illinois requires you to establish a government employee’s actual or deliberate intention to cause harm and complete disregard for others’ safety that led to your auto accident. Your lawyer will highly recommend that you file a claim against the state of Illinois within a year of the injury.
Then, your lawyer can create a legal strategy proving the bus driver’s negligence through surveillance footage and witness statements. Medical bills and records can help your lawyer show how a bus accident injury, such as brain injuries, affected your finances and quality of life.
Contact a Bus Accident Lawyer at Nessler & Associates
If you were injured in a bus crash, work with an experienced bus accident lawyer at the law firm of Nessler & Associates to safeguard your right to fair compensation. Our compassionate attorneys can help you and your family file a lawsuit and settle with the liable parties’ insurance companies during these stressful times.
Contact our office today at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers.