Buses are common means of transport in Nevada for school children, tourists, and locals. Although bus accidents are uncommon, they could leave a trail of seriously injured victims when they happen. Injuries resulting from a bus accident can change your life because many bus passengers especially in tour buses fail to use seatbelts. This increases the risk of injury in case of a collision.
Individuals injured in bus accidents are entitled to compensation by filing personal injury claims against the parties liable for the accident. When you file a compensation claim after a bus accident, you must understand the cause of your accident. This will help you narrow down to the liable parties responsible for your injuries for a successful personal injury claim. If you need legal guidance and representation in a bus accident personal injury lawsuit in Las Vegas, NV, we have skilled attorneys at Dallas Horton & Associates.
Overview of Bus Accidents in Nevada
Buses are a popular way to go around Las Vegas, transporting school children and the numerous tourists who frequent the area each year. Buses are heavy vehicles, making them difficult to maneuver and exceptionally dangerous when involved in an accident. If you or your loved one suffers injuries from a bus accident, you can file a civil lawsuit to claim compensation for the injuries and other losses resulting from the accident. Some of the most common types of bus accident claims include:
- Metro bus accidents. When you are injured in an accident in public transportation, you must file a claim against the government, which can be very complicated. When filing a lawsuit against the state, you have up to two years to bring the lawsuit, after which your attempts to recover the damages will be invalidated. When dealing with the government, it is vital to have all the details of your suit handled by a competent personal injury attorney.
- School bus accidents. School bus transport is provided to thousands of children in Las Vegas. A shocking number of school bus accidents occur each year, ranging from fender-benders to severe and life-threatening accidents. If your child suffers an injury or dies in a school bus accident, you will be entitled to compensation.
- Motorcoaches. Las Vegas is a destination for many tourists each year. Many tourists frequent the city in private tour buses. With the excitement of the new place, many people ignore the safety measures, and an accident involving these buses often causes severe injuries to all the involved parties. Due to the large size of motor coach buses, the number of bus accident victims is likely high.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Crashes involving busses or other public transit vehicles are often very catastrophic. Understanding the cause of your accident is a vital step in establishing liability and claiming compensation for your injuries. Some of the common causes of bus accidents include:
Drivers operating public transport vehicles are held in high regard and have a great responsibility in ensuring the safety of their passengers and other road users. Driver error is one of the leading causes of bus accidents in Nevada. Bus accidents may be a result of:
A driver is considered distracted when their physical or mental concentration is not on the vehicle. One primary distraction contributing to a severe bus accident is using a cellphone when driving. The increased popularity of smartphones has unintended consequences that affect the safety of our roads.
Another way a driver can be distracted is by looking away from the road. Anything in the vehicle that causes the driver to look away from the road is considered a distraction. Five seconds away from the road can be dangerous for bus passengers and other road users.
Eating and drinking while on the wheel is another distraction that can cause a bus accident. Bus drivers often have hectic schedules and may cut corners to save time. Usually, this may mean grabbing a bite while they drive. Eating while driving involves switching between holding the steering wheel and the food, which can be dangerous when an emergency reaction is required.
It is essential to understand that even conversing with passengers could be a potential distraction for a bus driver. Buses are large vehicles that require maximum concentration to operate. Therefore, turning to speak to a passenger could have catastrophic results. If you are injured in a bus accident resulting from the negligence of a distracted bus driver, you will be entitled to compensation.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
It is beyond dispute that drink driving is irresponsible and dangerous behavior. Unfortunately for drivers operating in Las Vegas, alcohol consumption is promoted as one of the pleasures you get from the city. Despite the numerous efforts to discourage drunk driving behaviors, people get behind the wheel with high alcohol levels in their system and cause serious accidents. Nevada adheres to the national standard that discourages commercial drivers from operating with a BAC of 0.04 or more.
Use of alcohol or drugs when driving impairs a driver's ability to make the right decisions on the road, which increases the chance of a collision. Driver conduct at the accident scene may prove that they were drunk driving. AL's, the police may administer a breathalyzer test to all drivers at the accident scene to detect instances of drunk driving.
A tired driver is close to one that is intoxicated. Driver fatigue causes bus accidents since drowsiness behind the wheel will slow a driver's reaction to an emergency, cause impaired judgment and cause inattentiveness to the road. Driver fatigue is one of the most common forms of human error that cause bus accidents. Drivers who experience fatigue are highly likely to lose control of the vehicle and crash onto other cars, pedestrians, or barriers on the road.
When it comes to buses that require extra skill, fatigue can cause the driver to make haste moves like swerving off the road or unconscious acceleration. Different factors could cause a driver to be fatigued. Sometimes driving at naturally drowsy hours can be a cause of the accident. Often, it can be very challenging to avoid fatigue in the afternoon.
Taking certain medications before driving could contribute to drowsiness. Some over-the-counter medications have directions that suggest avoiding the operation of heavy machinery after use. Bus drivers often have a tight schedule, and some drive during late hours. This leaves minimal time for rest and can cause the driver to be drowsy behind the wheel. Although bus drivers are not the only road users who experience fatigue, the nature of their working hours may make it inevitable.
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
One of the rules drivers must learn before approval for a driver's license is to yield the right of way. Knowing who has the right of way is essential since passing through when it is not your turn could result in confusion and a severe crash. Buses are large vehicles, and failure to yield the right of way for these vehicles may have dangerous consequences. If you or your loved one has been injured in a collision caused by the failure to yield the right of way, you can file a compensation claim.
Speeding is a serious problem on the roads in Las Vegas and throughout the country. Speeding involves exceeding the limit and aggressive driving in unfavorable weather conditions or poor roads. In addition to the apparent dangers of speeding, exceeding the speed limit is common in accidents involving drunk and distracted drivers. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can assess the role of speed in your accident and hold the driver liable for your injuries.
In addition to the criminal consequences, speeding may be hazardous for bus passengers and other road users. A vehicle traveling at high speed may take longer to stop and has a more significant potential to lose control. Bus collisions that occur at high speed are often catastrophic and may leave behind a trail of dead bodies and seriously injured victims.
Poorly Maintained Vehicle
When it comes to bus accidents, many people quickly blame the driver's conduct. Although bus drivers contribute significantly to these accidents, poor vehicle maintenance may be another cause of the bus accident. Auto maintenance issues that could lead to a bus collision include:
- Cracked windshield. Having a cracked windshield may not seem like a big issue. However, the windshield is crucial in ensuring that the driver observes the outside of the vehicle. A cracked windshield can obstruct the driver's vision and slow down their reaction to emergencies.
- Faulty wipers and lights. Lights and wipers play a significant role in safe driving. If the driver cannot see the vehicles or road ahead clearly, the chances of involvement in a collision are high.
- Unroadworthy vehicles. Due to the weight of the buses and the long distances they travel, constant maintenance is necessary. Some cars are generally unroadworthy with different issues which could cause them to break down in the middle of the road and contribute to a fatal accident.
When it comes to bus collisions, many accidents have a clear cause. Maybe one driver was drunk, tired, or distracted. However, in some cases, the cause of the accident is not clear. The roads in Las Vegas are designed to withstand the heavy traffic in this city. However, despite the engineer's best predictions, conditions may change. Generally, a poorly constructed road or one that is not maintained could be a risk factor for bus accidents.
Poor road conditions may lead to more than a bumpy ride. Sometimes, minor misconstructions could deteriorate and become very dangerous. Road conditions that may contribute significantly to collisions include broken concrete, potholes, road cracks, and uneven road surfaces. If the bus hits a large pothole, the tire could burst, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
Accidents caused by dangerous road conditions can lead to severe and life-threatening injuries. When you are involved in an accident resulting from poor roads, you may consider contacting the police to assess the accident. Government entities often shoulder the responsibility to maintain proper roads. Therefore, you may file a claim against the city government if you are involved in such an accident.
Faulty Vehicle Parts
Some bus accidents are no fault of the driver error or failure to maintain the vehicle, and a defective vehicle part could also cause an accident. Different vehicle parts play different roles in ensuring efficient movement of the vehicle. A driver may operate a vehicle with utmost safety and still be involved in a collision. A defective vehicle part is often a flaw in the vehicle part's construction, design, or performance. The following are some common bus safety defects that could cause an accident:
- Seat belts. Defective seat belts are likely to unbuckle during a collision which increases the risk of injury for the passengers.
- Steering wheel defects. The steering wheel is one of the essential vehicle parts since it helps the driver control the vehicle and steer away from dangerous situations. When the steering wheel is at fault, the driver will have little or no control of the vehicle direction, which is risky for the bus passengers and other road users.
- Brake failure. When acceleration or the brake system breaks, the driver may lose vehicle control, making it impossible to stop the vehicle. Due to their large size, buses take a while to stop. When the brakes are faulty, there is an increased risk of collision with other vehicles or hitting pedestrians on the road.
- Tire defects. Tires help maintain the grip and stability of the vehicle. A worn-out tire may burst and cause the vehicle to lose control. Aloe, vehicles with excessive air or less air could risk rollover accidents.
- Engine Failure. Sometimes, manufacturers make mistakes during the design or manufacture of a bus engine. In this case, an accident may be inevitable even when the driver exhibits a high level of care when driving the vehicle. If you are involved in such an accident, you can file a claim against the bus engine manufacturers.
Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Sometimes, drivers are challenged with poor weather conditions. Unfortunately, many drivers underestimate the danger posed by these climatic conditions and thus fail to adjust their driving techniques. Research has shown that at least 24% of all collisions in the Unites=d States result from poor weather conditions. Some adverse weather conditions include flooding, rain, fog and mist, smoke from forest fires, strong winds, and driving towards the sunrise or sunset.
These weather conditions may present some unique challenges to the driver, including:
- Reduced visibility. Reduced visibility makes it difficult for the driver to avoid obstacles or barriers on the roads, and tusk may hit other vehicles.
- Decreased steering ability. During extremely windy weather, the driver steering control is reduced significantly. A bus is already difficult to control. When you add the strong winds above that, the likelihood of a collision is increased.
- Decreased traction. With heavy rains and flooding, roads tend to become slippery. This reduces traction on the tyros, making it challenging to control the vehicle.
- Increased time or space is needed to stop the vehicle.
Steps to Take After a Bus Accident in Nevada
When you are involved in a bus accident, you will likely suffer serious injuries. Once you step onto a school bus, public transport, or tour bus, you entrust your safety to the bus driver and owner. If the bus is poorly maintained or the driver fails to follow the required safety standards, you could wind up in a serious accident followed by a challenging claim process. The following are some steps you can take after an accident to increase your chances of recovering compensation:
Seek Immediate Medical Care
The first step you need to take after a bus accident is to seek medical care. Even when you do not believe that our injuries are serious, it is crucial to seek medical assistance. Due to the initial shock of the accident, some injuries may not be detected immediately. If the bus staff does not call emergency medical care providers, you will need to do it yourself. Often the unseen injuries are the most serious ones. Depending on the cause and severity of the collision, bus accidents often result in the following injuries:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Whiplash injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Head and brain injury
- Back and spinal cord injuries
The injuries can be life-changing. You will not only need to spend a significant amount of time in hospital recovering but may incur substantial medical bills. Seeking medical care after an accident does not only ensure early detection and treatment of your injuries but also provides a key piece of evidence in your claim. When you file a compensation claim, you will be required to present your medical record. The injuries you will be compensated for are often indicated in the medical reports.
Collect Necessary Information at the Accident Scene
If you are not seriously injured, you can note down the contact information of other passengers and witnesses. Also, you will need information on the bus driver. Any information regarding the accident should be relayed to the police officers without exaggerations or speculations.
Take Photos of the Scene
Having photos of the accident is an important step. Photos or videos provide a solid piece of evidence that can be difficult to dispute compared to oral testimony. Although the police will take their photos, obtaining evidence from the police report can be challenging. Therefore, obtaining your resources to provide to your lawyer is a wise move.
Contact Your Attorney
Your choice of a personal injury attorney can make the difference between struggling with your claim and recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Bus accidents involve filing claims against both private and public entities, and often there is a statute of limitation within which you must fake your claim failure to which your claim will not be accepted. The legal issues surrounding a communication claim could be challenging to deal with, especially when you are healing from the bus accident injuries. Therefore, having a knowledgeable attorney by your side will go a long way for you.
Before you contact your attorney, you need to avoid speaking to anyone except the police about the accident. The insurance company may attempt to contact you after the accident, and they are not always focused on your best interests. An insurance adjuster may try as much as possible to demean your situation and offer a lower settlement than you deserve. When the insurance adjuster contacts you, you need to avoid speaking to them before your attorney arrives.
Often insurance adjusters are tasked with evaluating the information you provide regarding the accident to:
- Determine liability for the collision.
- Advise the insurance company on the compensation you deserve.
- Negotiate the claim.
Find a Competent Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Involvement in a bus accident is the worst ordeal that could happen in your life. Far worse, it may be more challenging to battle a personal injury lawsuit with the hope of recovering compensation for your injuries. Certain pieces of evidence are required to ascertain your claim and ensure that you recover your rightful compensation.
Since the evidence does not last forever, it would be wise to enlist the help of a personal injury attorney in collecting and preserving this evidence. Also, your attorney can offer guidance and representation in your claim to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
By determining the cause of your accident, you can identify the liable parties and file claims against them. Contact your attorney if handling a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after a bus accident in Las Vegas, NV. At Dallas Horton & Associates, our group of competent attorneys will help you navigate all the stages of your claim to ensure the best possible outcome. Call us today at 702-380-3100 to discuss the details of your claim.