Atlanta bus accidents can cause devastating injuries. In most circumstances, bus accident passengers are not wearing seat belts when the accident happens. The risk of serious injuries increases when passengers are not wearing seatbelts. Additionally, the large size of buses makes them extra dangerous when they collide with vehicles or pedestrians. There are several common causes of bus accidents that result in serious injuries.
If you or a family member have suffered an injury in a bus accident, you might be entitled to compensation. Under Atlanta personal injury law, when a person’s negligence or reckless behavior causes an injury, they must pay for damages caused by the resulting accident. Injuries resulting from bus accidents can be severe and even fatal. When serious injuries occur, victims often have mounting medical expenses. Contact our Atlanta personal injury law firm today to discuss how we can help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Negligence on the Part of the Bus Driver
Bus drivers are just as susceptible to distracted driving as other passenger vehicle drivers. All types of distracted driving accidents have one thing in common. Distracted bus drivers fail to focus their attention on the driving. Common causes of distracted driving in bus drivers include the following:
- Use of a cell phone or other personal electronic device
- Smoking while driving
- Moving objects inside the bus that distract the driver
- Adjusting mirrors, seatbelts, the car seat, or the radio while driving the bus
- Eating or drinking while driving the bus
- Reaching for a device such as a cell phone while driving
- Distraction from other occupants of the bus
- Bus drivers who are lost in thought instead of focusing on the other passengers.
In addition to distracted driving, driving while fatigued can also cause bus accidents. Fatigue caused by overwork, lack of sleep, or sleep apnea is dangerous. Sleep-deprived drivers are at a significantly higher risk of having a highway accident. The American Trucking Association states that at least 28% of its drivers suffer have sleep apnea problems, compared to the 4% of the general population that suffers from sleep apnea. Bus drivers who drive long hours are in a similar field. Like semi-trucks, large commercial buses are bulky and have the potential to cause grave damage.
Finally, some drivers simply make negligent decisions while driving. In some instances, drivers make mistakes because their employers failed to train them adequately. Operating large buses requires extra training as maneuvering buses is a different skill than maneuvering passenger cars. In other instances, bus drivers make negligent decisions by making a left hand turn too soon or too late. In other instances, bus drivers misjudge the time it will take them to come to a complete stop. Failure to adequately check the mirrors before making a lane change can also cause serious highway bus accidents.
Negligent Hiring on the Part of the Bus Company
Private companies and city governments employ bus drivers. One of the leading causes of Atlanta bus accidents is negligence on the part of the bus company. The United States is home to several major commercial bus lines, such as:
- Greyhound Bus Lines
- Jefferson Lines
- BoltBus, Greyhound’s economy bus line
- Peter Pan
- Red Coach
- Jet Set Express
- Lux Bus America
- Washington Deluxe
- Baron Bus
- Express Arrow
- Lux Bus America
Commercial bus transport companies are subject to federal safety regulations. Bus companies must follow strict federal guidelines when hiring drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all commercial motor vehicles to conduct background checks and hire reasonably safe drivers. Companies are required to keep records on every employee. The record must include the driver’s record for the last three years, the driver’s annual certification of violations and yearly review, and the driver’s road test and certificate.
When bus transport companies or local city governments negligently hire busy drivers, they may be liable for any injuries caused by the negligence of their driver. For example, if a bus driver had a history of car accidents, and the bus driver hired the employee anyway, the employer may have engaged in negligent hiring. Even if the employer did not know that the employee could reasonably be an unsafe driver, the company may still be liable if they should have reasonably known the driver could be dangerous.
Negligent Maintenance of the Bus
Commercial bus companies have a legal duty to maintain their buses for safety purposes. When commercial bus companies fail to conduct regular maintenance on bus engines, accidents can result. In some instances, bus accidents occur due to mechanical problems caused by a lack of reasonable maintenance. Common types of dangerous mechanical failures that happen to buses include the following:
- Brake failure leads to a bus driver failing to steer correctly, causing a collision
- Stalling and starting problems caused by engine issues can lead to rear-end collisions
- Faulty steering mechanisms prevent the bus driver from avoiding a collision
In addition to the dangerous mechanical failures mentioned above, bus mechanics can cause vehicle damage. In some instances, faulty mechanical repairs can cause Atlanta bus accidents. The bus company may cause maintenance errors when any of the following incidents occur:
- A bus mechanic overlooks an issue that needs urgent repair
- A bus mechanic installed a faulty or incorrect part
- A mechanic left foreign objects or debris in the bus’ engine
- A mechanic unintentionally damaged part of the vehicle during a repair
Bus companies that engage in interstate commerce have an elevated duty of care to maintain their vehicles adequately. Federal laws impose strict requirements on commercial bus transport companies to document repairs and sufficiently maintain their fleets of buses.
We can Help
If you have suffered an injury in an Atlanta bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. We conduct thorough investigations into our client’s bus accidents to determine which parties may be at fault. Contact the experienced attorneys at Cambre & Associates can help. Our experienced attorneys can advise you as to your legal options.