Buses and other forms of public transportation help to reduce traffic, and keep our economy on an upward swing. In a city like Miami, many residents rely on mass transit buses to get to work, go to school, or move about the city.
Although buses are considered one of the safest forms of travel, like any other large vehicle, they have the potential to cause catastrophic and unexpected changes in the lives of victims involved in accidents. Personal injury cases tend to be lengthy and complex. The success rate of the legal team at Sibley Dolman is due, in part, to our leveraging our vast investigative resources and our in-depth understanding of bus company policies and procedures. We strongly believe that if you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have a legal right to fair compensation.
South Florida is one of the most densely populated urbanized areas in the United States, and according to recent statistics, Florida has the fourth largest number of registered buses nationwide. Only California, New York, and Texas claim more. Putting all things into perspective, we can only expect these numbers to increase.
2018 Florida Population Reports, which predict growth patterns in major markets throughout the state. The Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade markets are all expected to see significant population growth, supported by a growing business community, low unemployment rates, and a broad scope of opportunities.
The results of a bus accident are catastrophic. Charter buses, city buses, and school buses are all driving through our streets and highways daily. In many cases, charter buses present the biggest risk of accidents, as they tend to travel highways and freeways, and at much higher rates of speed.
Compared to cars and small trucks, buses also carry much more fuel. The fuel tanks have a tendency to erupt in flames following a crash. In addition, buses are difficult to evacuate; the windows are hard to open, and doors frequently jam during a collision. Most buses lack basic safety equipment like seatbelts and airbags. This leaves unrestrained passengers particularly vulnerable to serious injury.
The large size and limited maneuverability of a bus make the repercussions of a collision tragic, causing potentially serious injuries or fatalities in the event of an accident.
Physical and psychological injuries have a lasting impact. Following an injury, an active person may now find that even the simplest of tasks causes pain. There is often a dramatic decline in the quality of life. Many people are left with the debilitating effects of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Financial difficulties come into play for injured parties. Some potential expenses victims may face following an accident include:
- Medical bills. Immediate medical care notwithstanding, injuries may necessitate surgery or long-term rehabilitation. Compensation from a personal injury claim is possible if the accident was not your fault, but the process is time-consuming. Until the insurance companies complete their investigations, victims will remain responsible for medical bills. Serious injuries may require expensive modifications to the home in order to do even simple, everyday tasks.
- Loss of wages. An injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident can mean weeks (or months) of recuperation. The resulting loss of wages is devastating when families depend on the accident victim’s income to satisfy household expenses.
Who is responsible for compensation? This is an important question, and the answer is not always simple. There are a variety of buses traveling through our city every day. In addition to city buses and school buses, it is not unusual to see casino buses, charters, tour buses, assisted living facility buses, and party buses on our roadways. As a rule, legal liability will depend on:
- Who caused the accident?
- Who owns or controls the bus?
- What was the bus was being used for?
It is also possible to hold multiple entities liable for injuries caused in a bus accident:
- The bus company: The company that operates charter and tour buses can be held accountable and financially liable for collisions caused by untrained or unsupervised drivers, or lack of sufficient maintenance. Because passengers using a bus service entrust their safety to the company controlling driver training and maintenance, common carriers are held to a high standard of care. Owners have an obligation to thoroughly train drivers, and maintain their fleet according to federal and state regulations.
- A private contractor: When a bus company uses an independent maintenance company, that company may be held legally responsible if damages are the result of their failure to repair or maintain a bus.
- The bus driver: When a bus driver violates traffic laws, exhibits unsafe driving practices, or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she can be found liable for damages. Incidents such as using mobile devices to text or talk, eating or drinking, and doing paperwork while driving are all serious violations. Drivers of party buses are responsible for making sure that guests behave safely.
- Other drivers: The driver of any vehicle found to be at fault for the accident may be liable for monetary damages.
Call Sibley Dolman if You Suffered Injuries in a North Miami Beach Bus Accident
If you or someone you love suffers serious injury or death from a bus accident, you need a lawyer qualified to deal with the unique challenges and regulations that govern common carriers. Recovering damages is complicated, and the time limits for filing a claim are not negotiable. Do not forfeit your rights to fair and just compensation.
Our initial consultation is always free, and representation costs you nothing unless a settlement or judgment in your favor is reached. We have the resources to fight large bus companies, experience taking on state and local bureaucracies, and a track record of excellence in obtaining compensation for our clients. If you have questions about a bus accident claim, contact our North Miami Beach office at (305)-676-8154 for answers.
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162