Buses are the most widely used form of public transportation in the United States. In fact, last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that ridership was up between 63 and 70 percent at peak travel times, suggesting more Americans are choosing bus travel to save costs.
As bus usage increases, so does the risk of accidents and injuries. Due to their size and force, bus accidents can result in severe, life-changing injuries. If you or your family member were injured in a bus crash, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim for your losses.
Pennsylvania Bus Accident Statistics
More than 700 accidents involving commercial and school bus crashes in Pennsylvania were reported in 2022, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Allegheny, Philadelphia, and Montgomery counties had the highest accident rates across the state.
Some crashes involved other vehicles. In others, the bus hit a fixed object like a building or traffic light. More than half of these collisions caused physical injuries.
Causes of Bus Accidents in Pennsylvania
Knowing how and why the crash happened helps law enforcement and Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys to determine liability and pursue the appropriate legal actions.
Bus accident causes include:
Bus drivers have a duty to operate the vehicle in a safe and responsible manner in accordance with traffic laws. But unfortunately, some drivers take unnecessary risks with their own lives and others.
Driver negligence includes:
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Drowsy driving
- Unsafe lane-changes
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Anyone who observes an unsafe bus driver should report their concerns to the police, their employer, or to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. With enforcement and accountability, we can all help to lower the risk of dangerous bus crashes.
Driver Inexperience / Poor Training
Driving a 26,000-pound machine is very different from operating a small passenger sedan, for example. It takes more time and distance to bring a bus to a stop, and they are more challenging to maneuver around turns and ramps.
For these reasons, bus drivers in Pennsylvania and most other states must complete additional training to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL.) Lack of training and experience can lead to poor decision-making and risk-taking that endangers the bus driver, the occupants, and others sharing the road.
Unfortunately, nationwide bus driver shortages may be causing bus companies to take shortcuts, putting inexperienced drivers on the roads. Employers who require drivers to work too many hours may be at fault if that overworked and overtired driver causes an accident.
Bus manufacturers and operators also have a responsibility to ensure that vehicle parts and systems function properly. Routine maintenance is essential for buses to run safely. It’s up to bus companies to inspect and service buses on a regular basis. If they don’t and something goes wrong, they may be liable for injuries and other accident-related losses.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
School buses and commercial buses are equipped with seatbelts and padded seats that are firmly anchored in place to reduce the risk of injuries. But in a high-impact collision, injuries are still possible, especially for passengers who aren’t using their seatbelts.
Common bus accident injuries include:
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries
After a motor vehicle accident, it’s common to feel okay despite being injured. The flow of adrenaline that occurs during traumatic events can mask the pain. It’s also possible to have “invisible injuries,” which are internal injuries that don’t cause immediate, obvious symptoms. Always seek medical attention after a bus crash to rule out these conditions and avoid serious long-term health problems.
Who Is Responsible for My Injuries?
If a defective part malfunctioned, causing the bus to lose control, the company that designed, manufactured, or sold that equipment may be responsible. Or, the bus company may be liable if they made the driver work longer shifts than are permitted by law or put drivers on the road without the necessary training.
Drivers can be negligent too. Careless bus drivers who drive erratically or while impaired or distracted also pose a danger to the public. It’s also possible for another driver or pedestrian to cause a bus accident by disregarding traffic signals and laws.
Ultimately, liability comes down to the evidence. Accident scene photos, dash cam footage, driver tracking systems, and eyewitness accounts can all be used to show how and why a crash happened and who is responsible.
How Long Do I Have to File a Bus Accident Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, injured parties generally have two years from the date of the bus accident to bring a civil claim against an at-fault party. While that may seem like a long time, bus accidents are highly complex. They require time and manpower to gather all the necessary evidence and build a strong case for compensation—detail by detail. It’s best to act as soon as possible to protect your right to seek damages.
Compensation for Bus Accident Lawsuits
Damages for bus accidents are calculated to reflect the impact of a crash on the plaintiff’s life. If you win a bus accident lawsuit or settle out of court, compensation may be possible for:
- Current and future medical care
- Lost income and loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of intimacy, support, or the enjoyment of life
Remember that every claim is unique. A consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania bus accident lawyer is the first step to determining what your case is worth.
How Our Pennsylvania Bus Accidents Attorneys Can Help You
It’s not easy to pursue legal action against a large bus company or public transportation system that has teams of attorneys and insurance carriers at their disposal. However, bus accident lawyers at The Rothenberg Law Firm won’t back down when it comes to protecting our clients. We have over 50 years of experience and have won and collected billions of dollars for our clients.
We use every legal remedy available to reach the best possible outcome for your case, so you can begin the healing process and move forward after a traumatic traffic accident. Call 800-624-8888 or inquire online to schedule a free non-obligation case view today. We have offices in Philadelphia, South Jersey, North Jersey and New York to assist clients across the region.