In 2017 there were 569 commercial bus accidents and 292 school bus accidents in Pennsylvania. 7 of those school bus accidents happened in Somerset County. Somerset County bus accident attorneys know that school bus accidents are scary for two reasons. The first is that there is potential for many people to be seriously injured in one accident because of the large bus passenger capacity and often bus passengers are not wearing seatbelts. The second reason is that buses are massive and in an accident, their size frequently causes severe injuries to people outside of the bus.
People who may be injured in bus accidents
- Passengers – Bus passengers may sustain injuries in accidents, especially in rollover accidents and when buses are traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the accident.
- Bicyclists – Common bicycle/bus accidents occur when buses sideswipe bicycles in a pass attempt.
- Pedestrians – Pedestrians are sometimes struck by buses in crosswalks or when waiting at the bus stop.
- Other motor vehicle occupants – Other motor vehicle occupants are often injured when the crushing force of a bus impacts their vehicles.
Liability for bus accidents depends in part, on what type of bus was involved in the accident. The driver and his or her employer may be responsible for the bus accident. If it is a public bus, the government entity owner may be liable. A third party motor vehicle driver who caused the accident could be liable as well. If a bus defect caused the accident, the manufacturer or seller of the bus may be responsible. If poor maintenance caused the accident, anyone responsible for maintaining the bus could be on the hook as well.
Determining liability in bus accidents can be complicated and insurance company involvement can make these cases even more complicated. Insurance companies in bus accidents are often at risk for a very large payout amount, especially when injuries are severe and there are a number of injured people. Insurance companies typically try to pin liability on other parties so that the payout responsibility is shared with other defendants.
Insurance companies will also try to quickly settle with injured parties in an effort to pay out as little as possible in exchange for a waiver of liability. Early on, injured parties may not even know the extent of their actual injuries and damages, which means that they do not know the true value of their own claim. Insurance companies may also, and often do, use anything that a plaintiff says to try to limit their own exposure. This is why our Somerset County bus accident attorneys recommend that injured parties do not speak with insurance companies until after they have consulted with a bus accident attorney.