Bus accidents are comparatively rare, with drivers and company owners preaching a record of safety. However, they are not, in some instances, any safer than cars, and it is possible that if you have the misfortune to be involved in an accident with one, it is still plausible that you may be injured severely. A Philadelphia bus accident lawyer may be able to assist you in obtaining compensation.
Bus Accident Statistics
A 2012 study in the Journal of Safety Research states that nationwide, bus accidents (both school buses and commercial buses) only make up approximately 0.6% of the total number of vehicle accidents. However, the number of accidents per million passenger miles is comparable to the number of car accidents per million driven miles. There are a number of reasons for this, though the most commonly cited is the age and ability of the bus driver. Older drivers were found to have significantly more accidents.
The most recent available data for Pennsylvania shows that more commercial buses were involved in crashes than school buses, with total bus crashes making up approximately 0.8% of the total. However, with both types of buses, one trend appears noticeable: more of the injuries and fatalities are sustained by pedestrians and bystanders than passengers. Buses are likely to roll and behave differently than cars, and pedestrians are often unable to avoid the consequences.
Unusual Factors in Bus Accidents
Compared to standard car accidents, there is evidence to show that serious injuries are actually more common in bus accidents, even though bus accidents are more rare. Buses do not have safety belts or any other form of personal safety device (such as an airbag for each passenger) – also, buses have a different weight distribution than cars, which is more likely to result in the vehicle tipping over.
The manner in which the victim of a bus accident is compensated will also differ from that of a car accident victim in many cases. If the accident is between the bus and a private car, you may be able to bring a third-party claim against their insurance company for your injuries (as you are not a named party in any lawsuit between the bus company and the driver of the private car). However, if the accident is the fault of the bus driver, obtaining compensation will be far more difficult.
Commercial city buses and school buses are both overseen by governmental agencies, and when one of them is involved in an accident, it is both the employee (the bus driver) and the employer (the agency) that are sued. The reason is because of a legal theory known as vicarious liability, or respondeat superior. A chain of cases in Pennsylvania Superior Court establishes the theory in Pennsylvania, stating that an employer is liable for the torts of its employee that are committed during the scope of employment. A bus driver who is proved to cause an accident falls under that description. If you are injured in an accident caused by a city or school bus driver, you would bring suit or file a claim against both the driver and the governmental agency (though filing against a governmental agency can be very difficult and time-consuming).
Enlist A Philadelphia Bus Accident Attorney
Being injured in any manner is demoralizing and difficult. Being injured through no fault of your own is even more frightening. A competent, experienced legal professional can make all the difference. The Philadelphia bus accident lawyers at The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. have years of experience working for victims of negligence. We will do our very best to get you what you need to get back on your feet. Contact us today to discuss your options.