St. Louis Bus Accident Lawyer
Bus Accident Claims in Missouri
Between school, city, charter, tour, and shuttle buses, over 360 million passengers travel via bus each year in the U.S. Although overall, buses have a good safety record compared to other modes of transportation, when bus accidents occur, they often result in injury both to the bus passengers as well as those in other motor vehicles involved. This is largely in part due to the bus’s size and the lack of safety features in most buses.
If you’re injured in a Missouri bus crash, it’s important to contact an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights. The St. Louis bus accident lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm are available to offer legal guidance and representation for claims throughout Missouri.
Contact us today at (314) 208-2808 to schedule your free consultation.
Bus Accident Injury Statistics & Oversight
A study conducted by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that over a recent ten year period, 302,000 people were injured in bus accidents in the United States. In addition, there are estimated to be in excess of 850,000 registered buses traveling U.S. roads every year.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the federal agency responsible for bus safety throughout the U.S. The FMCSA classifies most buses as commercial motor vehicles, making their companies and drivers subject to numerous additional safety rules.
These rules govern various aspects of driver operation and management that all bus drivers must abide by, such as:
- Maximum driving times
- Regular bus maintenance
- Vehicle registration
- Record maintenance and retention
- Post-accident procedures
- Drug testing
- Medical fitness to drive
- Driver qualifications
The entire list of federal rules and regulations applicable to bus companies and their drivers is far too large to reproduce on this site. The FMCSA website provides more details on the federal rules which govern bus safety. In addition, most bus crashes are promptly investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
School Bus Accidents
Each year approximately 12,000 kids are injured in school bus accidents—and, sadly, 11 lose their lives. Although this is a small percentage of the over 23 million school-aged children who ride school buses each day, the idea of children being injured in the vehicle that’s supposed to safely transport them to school and back makes any number seem like it’s too high.
The lack of seatbelts in most school buses has seen increasing scrutiny in recent years. Other, smaller buses are required to have seatbelts, yet only five states (California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas) have any type of school bus seatbelt law in place. This lack of seatbelts can result in injuries to children that could have been avoided.
The National School Transportation Association offers tips to help children who ride school buses to stay safe. Before you cross the street in front of a bus, always make sure the driver can see you. Tell the bus driver if you drop something near the bus before you bend down to pick it up—otherwise, the driver may not be able to see you. An adult should supervise children at a bus stop. It is also important for children to wait until the bus has fully stopped before approaching the bus. Parents should always encourage their children to sit still on a bus.
Commuter & Metro Bus Accidents
Buses are an important provider of public transportation in most major metropolitan areas. Not only do commuter buses transport thousands of people to and from work each day, but many of those who reside in large cities depend on these buses for their everyday transportation needs.
Like school buses, buses that provide public transportation generally do not have seatbelts, and in addition, they’re often very crowded and can frequently require some passengers to stand. In many cases, these buses are owned by a city or other government entity, so if you’ve been involved in a metro bus accident it’s especially important to retain the services of a skilled personal injury attorney such as Christopher Dixon.
Motor Coach Accidents
Motor coaches and charter buses transport millions of people long distances each year. Statistically, motor coaches are the most common type of bus to be involved in a bus crash, due to factors such as driver fatigue and improperly maintained vehicles. However, charter buses usually have safety features that other types of buses lack. Therefore, those involved in charter bus accidents are less likely to be seriously injured or die. Still, motor coach accidents do happen, and they result in around 500 injuries and 20 deaths each year. Those who are injured or lose a loved one in a motor coach accident are just as entitled to compensation for their damages.
Common Bus Accident Causes
Uncovering the cause of a bus accident is the first step in holding the company responsible for their actions. According to studies, most bus accidents are the result of human error. This includes things like bus driver inattention as well as larger scale problems such as a lack of proper bus driver training. However, other factors can also contribute to bus accidents, including faulty equipment, dangerous roads, and poor weather conditions. Because multiple factors can contribute to a bus accident, it’s important that a full investigation of the facts takes place.
While there are countless combinations of factors that contribute to bus crashes, some of the most common causes are as follows:
- Driver fatigue
- Aggressive driving
- Driver error
- Poor bus maintenance (i.e. worn tires, bad brakes, etc.)
- Driver cell phone use
- Lack of adequate safety measures
What Should I Do After a Bus Crash?
Following a bus crash, you should immediately seek medical care for your injuries. Seeking medical care will ensure your injuries are properly treated and nothing is overlooked. Following a crash, there is no need to speak to any insurance company or sign anything. Often, the insurance company will pressure you into signing documents and providing a recorded statement. Despite what they tell you, refusing to speak to them will not hurt your case. However, signing the wrong document can prevent your ability to seek damages for your injuries.
After you have received medical treatment, you need to make sure an investigation is conducted into the facts of the crash. Buses often have data recorders on board that contain vital data from the bus accident, such as driver speed, braking data, stopping distances, and other mechanical and system information. This information needs to be downloaded immediately. In addition, it is crucial that the vehicle, driver logs, and company documentation is preserved for inspection. Lost evidence can prevent your full recovery for your injuries and allow the bus company to escape liability.
How a St. Louis Bus Accident Attorney Can Help
An experienced Missouri bus accident lawyer can help recover damages for those who were injured or who lost a loved in a bus accident. Bus accident cases often involve negotiations with corporations, government entities, and insurance companies, which can be difficult for an individual to handle on their own.
In addition, it may be necessary to invest in an accident reconstructionist, hire an expert to analyze the circumstances of the bus crash, and obtain police department and medical records. Missouri bus accident attorney Chris Dixon is familiar with the Missouri statutes and Federal Safety Regulations related to bus accidents and can effectively advocate for those who have suffered damages related to a bus accident.