Philadelphia bus accidents injure people in two ways. First, a bus that collides with a passenger car, motorcycle, bicyclist, or pedestrian may cause serious injuries. Second, passengers in the bus may be injured if the driver is careless, even if no collision occurs.
Philadelphia bus accident lawyers help bus passengers and occupants of other vehicles obtain the compensation they deserve when they are injured by the negligent actions of a bus driver.
Philadelphia Bus Accident Statistics
In the last year for which statistics are available, more than 200 school busses and almost 350 commercial busses were involved in Pennsylvania accidents resulting in injury or death. The commercial bus category includes busses operated by SEPTA and municipalities.
Nearly all of those accidents involved collisions with another vehicle, although 16 school bus accidents and 16 commercial bus accidents resulted from a collision with a fixed object.
About two-thirds of school bus accidents occurred on state highways (other than freeways). Most of the remaining school bus accidents happened on local roads. Bus accidents on interstates are less common, although a bus operated by a charter company carrying Philadelphia school children on a field trip overturned on a freeway in May 2017, causing 30 passenger injuries
Reasons for Philadelphia Bus Accidents
Schools, governments, and large transportation companies tend to hire skilled drivers. Unfortunately, smaller companies, such as those that operate charters and provide trips to casinos, too often hire untrained drivers. Lack of skill when operating a bus is a recipe for disaster.
Busses are large, heavy vehicles. They have limited room to maneuver in urban areas. They need to take wide turns, sometimes placing other drivers at risk. A bus driver who cuts a turn too short or fails to notice oncoming traffic when starting a turn may cause a collision.
Driver fatigue can be a cause of bus accidents. Although commercial drivers are required to limit the hours they drive, several hours of steady driving takes its toll, even on experienced drivers. And drivers who do not rest or sleep properly during their nondriving time place passengers and other drivers at risk.
Distraction is a primary cause of accidents for bus drivers, just like all other drivers. Passengers who cause a commotion may distract a bus driver, but drivers should always be conscious of the road. Drivers who need to deal with unruly passengers should find a safe place to park before responding. Drivers who fail to do that create a risk of harm for all the other passengers on the bus.
Speeding and other traffic law violations can also lead to bus accidents. Drivers who are on a tight schedule and fear being reprimanded or disciplined for a late arrival sometimes place passengers and other drivers at risk by disobeying traffic laws.
Mechanical failures, including tire blowouts and brake failures, can also cause bus accidents. Those tend to occur on busses owned by smaller bus companies that fail to conduct regular inspections and maintenance.
Kinds of Philadelphia Bus Accidents
Single vehicle crashes occur when a bus strikes a fixed object, such as a guardrail. Occasionally, busses overturn when a driver takes a curve too fast or the bus slips off the edge of the road. Single vehicle bus crashes are almost always due to the negligence of the bus driver.
Multiple-vehicle bus accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- Intersection accidents
- T-bone collisions
- Rear-end collisions
Since busses are heavy vehicles, they can cause substantial injuries to drivers of smaller cars in multiple-vehicle collisions.
Newer busses may have seatbelts, but seatbelt installation is not mandated by federal law. Cars must have safety harnesses, but the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has resisted proposals to require bus manufacturers to equip bus seats with seatbelts.
Bus accidents place passengers who are not wearing seatbelts at risk of being thrown from their seats. Passengers may experience a variety of injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, and neck, shoulder, and joint injuries from being tossed about inside the bus. Broken glass can also cause serious lacerations, scarring, and eye injuries.
In multiple-vehicle bus crashes, the occupants of the smaller car tend to have the most serious injuries. Some of those injuries may be catastrophic. Brain damage, severed limbs, and spinal fractures cause permanently disabling conditions.
Head-on and T-bone collisions usually produce the most serious injuries. Airbags and a car’s crumple zone provide some protection from a head-on collision, but the size and weight of a bus traveling at highway speeds can defeat those protections. Vehicle occupants who are T-boned by a bus may have no protection, particularly if their vehicle lacks side-impact airbags.
Other injuries can have a lasting effect on the quality of life, including:
- Facial injuries, including scarring and a broken nose
- Fractured bones
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Joint injuries
- Punctures and cuts
- Nerve damage
- Stretched and torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons
Whether or not those injuries produce a permanent disability, they can have long-term consequences. Nagging back pain makes it difficult for injury victims to lift their children or to do household chores. Neck and back pain often impair sleep. Knee injuries make it difficult to climb stairs. Scars from an accident affect self-esteem.
Compensation for Philadelphia Bus Accidents
Bus accident attorneys in Philadelphia help injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve. We identify the cause of the accident and the person or company responsible. We may bring legal claims against the company or government that employed the driver, the entity that owned the bus, or the driver of another vehicle who caused a collision that injured bus passengers.
Compensation is designed to restore accident victims to their pre-accident condition. In reality, money can never make pain and suffering disappear, but compensation can replace lost income, pay medical bills, and improve the quality of the accident victim’s life.
When injuries are catastrophic, compensation can help an accident victim pay for vocational rehabilitation, caretaker services, or an assisted living facility. Compensation can also cover the cost of coping with a disability, including wheel purchases and remodeling a home to make it wheelchair accessible.
Injured In A Bus Accident? Our Attorneys Can Help You
An experienced bus accident lawyer in Pennsylvania can advise accident victims of the steps they need to take to maximize their compensation. It may be necessary to file an early claim if the accident was caused by a school bus, municipal bus, or other government-owned bus. Getting immediate advice is essential to protect the rights of bus accident victims.
Those who have suffered injuries can obtain a free case evaluation from our office by calling (610) 660-7780 or filling out our contact form. You owe it to yourself to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. These accidents can result in a life-time of pain, even if the accident was minor. Contact us today to get help from experienced professionals with a long history of highly-satisfied clients.