In cities, it is common to see buses carrying students and commuters. Buses are also frequently seen on major highways and freeways carrying passengers to faraway destinations. With so many of these large vehicles in use on our roadways, it is no wonder there are a number of accidents involving buses every year.
If you have been involved in an accident while riding a bus in Las Vegas, contact Dallas Horton and Associates. There are some unique procedural rules which you may need to comply with if making a personal injury claim after being involved in a bus accident.
Injuries Resulting from Bus Accident
Traffic accidents can be as simple as a fender bender in a parking lot or at a stop sign, to a full-blown catastrophic collision on a roadway. Accidents involving buses are no different. Injuries sustained in a bus accident can also fall across a spectrum of seriousness. Some suffer from whiplash with a sudden stop or collision, and others experience severe head trauma or broken bones.
Whiplash can involve a number of neck injuries. It generally refers to damage occurring to the soft tissue in the neck. Many rear-end collisions result in passengers suffering from whiplash symptoms.
When a vehicle is rear-ended, the impact of the collision sends the passengers bodies forward as their head remains in place. This movement exposes the neck to an extreme and sudden flexion and extension. The action is much like a whip motion, and the injuries to the neck area from this excessive jerking or snapping are what causes whiplash injuries.
Many personal injury attorneys like to stay away from the term ‘whiplash.’ This term has been overused and is beginning to be associated with exaggerated or fake personal injury claims. Your personal injury attorney at Dallas Horton and Associates may refer to your neck injury as a myofascial injury, neck strain or sprain, cervical sprain or strain, or a hyperextension/hyperflexion injury.
The most common cause of a whiplash injury is when a person is riding in the front of a vehicle when it suffers a rear-end collision. Occupants of the hit vehicle are often unprepared for the sudden impact, but other accidents can cause this form of personal injury.
- Contact sports such as soccer, hockey, and football
- Assaults from another where you suffer an intentional hit or hard shove
- Accidents while snowboarding or skiing
- In cases of child abuse, the shaken baby syndrome will cause whiplash
- Accidents where a person falls or slips on poorly maintained walkways
- Bus or truck accidents that have not received rear-end collisions
The whiplash injury does not always occur from high speed, serious collisions. Whiplash is a common injury received during low speed, rear-end, low impact vehicle collisions. The factors involved to cause a whiplash injury are complex. They can range from your position in the vehicle, the position of your head at the time of impact, your height and gender, the position of the seat you are in and the type of restraints you were wearing at the time, as well as the weight and size of the vehicle involved in the collision.
A huge misconception about a whiplash injury is that many people think it is not serious. The truth is, however, because it involves the soft tissue, it can be very serious and cause you long-term effects.
Whiplash symptoms can include:
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Back and shoulder pain
- Reduced range of motion
- Burning, tingling, or prickling sensations in your arms
- Trouble concentrating, fatigue, or other sleep disturbances
- Psychological or other cognitive difficulties
It can take several days for these symptoms of whiplash to begin. If you’ve been involved in a bus accident or any form of accident, seek medical attention immediately. Keep a detailed record of the accident, your symptoms, along with all medical expenses and treatments. If the doctor suspects you are suffering from whiplash, you need to call Dallas Horton and Associates right away to learn your rights for a personal injury claim.
Bus accidents tend to have added safety risks that crop up when it comes to an accident. These risks involve the characteristics of most buses and practical aspects when one uses buses as a travel mode. One is the risk of a roll-over risk is much higher in a bus than a standard vehicle. Another is the fact that buses do not use safety features such as seat belts or supplemental safety devices. In other words, you do not have the protection from airbags and seat belts on a bus as you would in another vehicle. While there may be a lower risk of being involved in a bus accident over that of a car or truck, the risk of serious injury is much higher if you are involved in a bus accident.
Other common injuries sustained from bus accidents include:
- Spinal Cord and Head Injury
If a bus is forced to stop suddenly, you are at risk of striking your head on a seat or the window. This sudden strike causes a sudden blunt force trauma to your head, which can have severe effects. Minor blunt force head injuries can cause loss of consciousness, nausea, insomnia, and blurred vision. Severe blunt force head trauma can lead to loss of mobility, affect your cognitive functions, paralysis, and seizures.
Spinal cord injuries are also common with bus accidents as passengers are not restrained to their seats. When a collision occurs, passengers are thrown around inside the bus, and some are even ejected out of the vehicle. A serious spinal cord injury can result in death or paralysis.
- Breaking Bones
When a bus is involved in a powerful collision, passengers can be thrown from their seats as there are no restraints to hold them in place. Being tossed around inside the bus puts you at risk of striking objects in the bus’s interior and can cause bruises and broken bones. You can incur serious medical expenses from broken bones and in some cases, even require surgery to fix the break. It is also possible that there will be prolonged physical therapy involved with your recovery. Having a broken bone can impact your ability to work for a prolonged period of time, so you will also suffer lost wages. Some breaks, such as the transverse or impacted fracture, never fully become as strong as they once were.
- Deep Cuts and Lacerations
There is much glass and breakable parts inside of a bus. When involved in a bus accident, the passengers on the bus are at high risk for suffering deep cuts and lacerations. On the surface or at first look, it may appear these are not serious injuries; however, they can have long-term effects on your health. Lacerations and cuts should be treated by a medical professional right away to reduce your risk of infection. Some of the cuts or lacerations may require stitches or other emergency medical attention, and others may even require plastic surgery to repair. Suffering from deep cuts and lacerations from a bus accident can leave permanent scars or result in severe damage to the skin, nerves, and tissue.
Any injury sustained in a bus accident or any other form of vehicle accident should be treated immediately by a medical professional. If you do not seek medical help, you are at risk of not being able to make a full recovery from the injury. Should your injuries lead to a personal injury claim, it is important to your case to show you did seek medical attention right away.
Types of Bus Accidents
It is the responsibility of the bus company to provide you with safe transportation. This safe transportation means they have to serve you with the highest level of care possible. You have legal rights to this safety, and if you’ve been injured from a bus accident, contact a personal injury attorney at Dallas Horton and Associates. Bus accidents are not as common as other vehicular accidents, but they do occur, and they do injury a large number of passengers. These are some of the common types of bus accidents:
- City Transit Bus Accidents
When you want to get around a crowded city, the city bus is one of the best options. It is a fast, inexpensive way to travel in large cities. Riding the city transit bus is a popular and common mode of getting around, which means there are many people at risk of receiving an injury if a bus accident occurs. City transit buses are run for an extended period of time and all-year-round. The authorities in charge of these buses must maintain their vehicles and ensure they are in good working condition. Failing to maintain city transit buses can place passengers in danger.
- School Bus Accidents
School bus drivers are entrusted to transport children to and from school safely. If a bus driver displays negligent driving habits, it will put your child at needless risk. A personal injury attorney at Dallas Horton and Associates can make sure negligent drivers and their employers are held accountable for any bus accident that occurs. Most school buses do not have seat belts installed, which raises the risk for child injury if the bus is involved in a crash. Many times, school districts are slow to update their fleet, which leaves their buses poorly maintained and neglected. If poor maintenance was involved in causing a bus accident, your attorney at Dallas Horton and Associates will protect your child’s rights and seek compensation.
- Freight Bus Accidents
Often the freight bus is overloaded with bulk goods, which involves much weight. This overload of weighted items makes it difficult for them to slow down and increases their chances of mechanical failure. When a freight bus is not appropriately loaded with the weight distributed evenly, it increases the risk of the driver losing control of the bus at high speeds.
- Tour Bus Accidents
A tour bus is a relatively safe and efficient way to transport a large group of people to tourist destinations. Buses are often called ‘common carriers’ by state and federal law. As a common carrier, a tour bus is an entity that charges a fee to transport people from one destination to another. This rule not only applies to tour buses, but also commercial buses, school buses, cruise ships, taxicabs, commercial airlines, and certain forms of trucks.
As a common carrier, the tour bus has to use a high degree of diligence and care in regards to the safety of their passengers. Lawsuits against these carriers are generally a result of negligence or acts done intentionally. As in other negligent claims, the courts will determine ‘reasonable’ standard.
A reasonably careful bus driver is expected to stop at a reasonably safe location for their passengers. Bus drivers are expected to follow all traffic laws and not engage in any dangerous maneuvers. If through their negligent driving, an injury occurs, the injured person is able to sue for damages. If the accident is not due to the driver’s negligence, then the courts would likely not find them responsible.
While it may appear simple to determine who is liable for a bus accident, it is not always clear. There are different entities involved with bus transportation that could be considered responsible for liability. The company which is contracted to provide the bus service or the bus driver could be held accountable. The determination of who is liable can become even more complicated for injuries incurred during an accident on a chartered bus tour. The parties who could be held accountable include:
- The Tour Companywho entered into a contract with the bus company. It must hire a bus company that has a clean safety record. If injuries happen on a bus operated by a company with numerous safety violations, then the tour company could share in liability with the company who owns the bus. If the tour company owns their bus fleet, they are held to the same level of liability.
- The Bus Company, which owns the bus fleet, has to have reasonable safe buses as part of its fleet. They must only hire properly licensed drivers who have met basic requirements. Even if they have hired drivers who meet basic requirements, the bus company can still be liable for bus accidents the driver is involved in.
- Destinations of the Tour Busare normally at various locations. It is the responsibility of the tour bus to ensure the conditions at these stops are safe. Should a tourist from the bus slip and fall on an unsafe walkway after departing the bus, the tour bus company might be held accountable.
Bus Accident Injury Claims
When negotiating a personal injury settlement for most types of accidents with an insurance company, the procedure is generally straightforward. With bus accidents, the accident may have been the driver’s fault or could have been caused by another truck or car on the road. If you are a passenger on the bus and received injuries as a result of the accident, you may be able to make a third-party claim. You may be able to file for compensation for your losses and medical expenses. Losses can include lost income as well as non-economic damages like your pain and suffering as a result of your injuries.
If the accident you were involved in was the fault of the bus driver, the law becomes complicated in determining liability. The reason for this is that many buses are operated or owned by government entities. Some of these entities include public transportation bureaus or school districts.
Filing a personal injury claim with a government body can become involved. Depending on your state and the jurisdiction, you may have to start by filing a notice of claim or similar paperwork with the responsible entity. There is usually a time limit on this filing, so you should contact Dallas Horton and Associates as soon as you are able when involved in a bus accident. We understand these laws and will be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve for any injuries you are suffering.
Determining Fault in Bus Accident
There may be some investigation required to determine who was at fault when a bus accident happens. Several factors can contribute to a bus accident:
- The bus driver may have been tired while operating the bus
- The driver may not have received adequate training or been properly screened
- The driver may have been under the influence of intoxicants
- The bus could have been improperly loaded or overloaded
- The bus may not have been properly maintained
The main thing to remember after you’ve been involved in a bus accident is to seek professional medical attention right away. You need to put your health first, and then contact Dallas Horton and Associates to learn how to seek compensation. Make sure to keep all medical bills and records as a means of documenting and supporting your injuries.
Filing a Claim for Injuries from a School Bus Accident
When an accident happens with a school bus, there could have been a variety of reasons that caused the crash. The district could have been negligent with their maintenance, or there could have been issues concerning the driver’s abilities. What is important for parents of children who have been injured in a school bus accident to remember is that bringing a legal claim against a state agency is different from bringing one against a private party.
In cases involving a school bus and children suffering injuries, there are time restraints on when claims can be filed. It is essential to contact Dallas Horton and Associates as soon as possible to ensure your claim can be discussed, and appropriate filing is completed on time. Other rules are in place are related to statutory dollar caps put in place by the legislature, and your attorney will need to help you navigate through these rules.
Contacting Dallas Horton and Associates as soon as possible helps you find the angles needed to get around to preserve your child’s right to recovery. Some of the liability may fall on the driver, the school bus company or school district, the roadways, or possible product defect issues.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney After Bus Accident
Those who drive commercial buses are entrusted with the safety of the passengers. They have a higher degree of responsibility and are held to higher standards than non-commercial drivers. Bus drivers have additional rules that govern their physical condition, licensing, and buses are expected to ensure stricter safety features than non-passenger carrying vehicles.
Many who have been injured in a bus accident are unaware of the potential violations that may have been committed by the bus driver or the commercial carrier. You want an experienced Nevada law firm such as Dallas Horton and Associates to help investigate the accident and make sure that all violations are uncovered and addressed.
Determining what caused the accident and how much fault can be appointed to any or each entity can have an impact on how much compensation you will be entitled to recover as a victim of the bus accident. Depending on the specifics of your case, and who is responsible for the crash, you might have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the State of Nevada or the City of Las Vegas.
Under Chapter 41 of the Nevada Annotated Code, victims with injuries sustained from a bus accident can file a claim against the State of Nevada. Your attorney at Dallas Horton and Associates can discuss your case and evaluate your injuries to determine the best course of action for your claim.
If you are filing a claim against the City of Las Vegas, there are distinct steps involved in filing a personal injury claim against a city from those against a private party. You and your attorney will need to:
- File a Notice of Claim. The notice has to be filed with the Risk Management of the City of Las Vegas. This notice will alert the City of Las Vegas that you will be requesting compensation for injuries you believe are the city’s responsibility
- The City of Las Vegas will conduct an investigation and determine liability that can either be the city’s or another party's
- The city will then provide you and your attorney with a written determination of liability within four to six weeks after you have filed the Notice of Claim. The timing of the letter can vary depending on your case and the facts involved.
Contact Our Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer
It is a challenging course of action to determine liability in a bus accident. If you have been involved, or someone you know has been in a bus accident in Las Vegas, call Dallas Horton and Associates at 702-380-3100. We can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries and make sure you receive the compensation you need and deserve.