Bus accidents are far too common in Massachusetts and around the country. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, up to 15,000 people are injured and about 300 people are killed in bus accidents every year. Buses are used as public transportation in communities across the country, but also to transport about 25 million children to and from school each day. A 2006 report revealed that about 17,000 children visit the emergency department annually due to school bus-related accidents.
Where are the Seatbelts?
Despite these sobering statistics, buses – including school buses – are not held to the same safety standards as other vehicles. Many buses are not equipped with seat belts; this is dangerous and makes little sense with strict seatbelt laws across the country. In addition to the lack of seatbelts, bus roofs rarely offer adequate protection in the event of a rollover, and windows often lack necessary glazed coverings. Top-heavy buses are prone to rollovers in certain conditions. Without proper roof and window structures, the risk of the roof collapsing increases significantly. Roof collapses often result in serious injuries and death.
The Evolution of Party Buses
Party buses present an even greater risk, combining an already-risky situation with alcohol. One recent case involved a young woman who fell out an emergency exit door while the bus was in motion. Although she should have been seated, and not leaning on this particular door, the door should have had a specific lock to prevent this type of tragic accident.
Who is Responsible?
The short answer is, it depends. If the driver of another vehicle caused the accident, you can make a third-party claim with that driver’s insurance company. However, if the bus driver is at fault, the claims process will depend on who the bus driver works for. Many buses are operated by government agencies, such as school buses and city buses. If the insurance carrier for a government-operated bus company denies your claim, you have the option to file an injury claim. To do so, you will need to also file a ‘notice of claim’ with the responsible government entity. The time frame for doing this is not long, so you will want to act as quickly as possible. Continue reading