Some of us in Beaver County regularly take a bus to work or send our kids to school on a bus and we may not think about the potential dangers associated with bus accidents. In 2017, there were 861 bus accidents in Pennsylvania. 292 of those buses were school buses and the other 569 were commercial buses. Buses are designed to transport large numbers of people at the same time, which means that there is potential for large numbers of people to be injured at the same time. Also scary about bus accidents is that school buses transport large numbers of children at a time, which means that there is potential for large numbers of children to be injured at the same time.
Who may be liable
Bus accident liability can be complicated and confusing because there are a number of different parties who may be responsible for injuries sustained in a bus accident. Bus accident liability may fall on the bus driver, the driver’s employer, a school district, the bus owner, another vehicle driver who collided with the bus, a third party bus contractor, or the bus manufacturer. If those possibilities are not overwhelming enough, think about the number of insurance companies that may become involved as well. Insurance companies can make things very difficult because their goal is to limit or eliminate liability and they often do this by blaming other insured parties.
Causes of bus accident injuries
Bus accident injuries can occur in a number of ways including collisions and non-collisions. See below for common bus injuries.
- Slips, trips, and falls regularly cause bus accident injuries. These accidents happen when passengers are walking down the bus aisle or when they are entering or exiting the bus. Slips, trips, and falls can be caused by poorly maintained bus floors and stairs, slippery conditions due to rain or snow, and bus aisles cluttered with passenger belongings.
- A bus driver pulling away too quickly can cause injuries to a person who is exiting the bus, but has not made it a safe distance from the bus. This can also cause injuries to a passenger who has just gotten on the bus and has not had a chance to be seated before the bus driver pulls away.
- Sudden stops or acceleration can cause injuries to unexpecting and unprepared passengers
- Passengers entering or exiting the bus can get caught in the door when a bus driver closes the door too soon.
- Buses are high profile vehicles and are often top heavy, which makes them more likely to roll over than other types of vehicles.
- Buses are slower to stop and harder to maneuver than regular passenger vehicles making it harder to avoid accidents and emergency situations.
- Bus driver visibility is limited due to the size and design of buses and they have large blind spots.
- Passengers sometimes distract the driver.
- Another driver on the road causes an accident with a bus.