Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Articles Posted in Bus Accident

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

11 people are suing GPS device maker for $15 million over injuries they sustained in a 2013 Massachusetts bus collision. The plaintiffs are claiming products liability for what they contend was a defective/unsafe navigation device.

The bus, transporting more than two dozen high school students and their chaperones, was going back from Boston to Philadelphia, when the charter vehicle hit a bridge, causing its roof to collapse. 35 people were hospitalized. Student Matthew Cruz, who sustained a spinal cord injury in the bus crash, is the complaint’s lead plaintiff.

In their Boston product defect case, the plaintiffs argued that if the GPS device had been designed for commercial vehicles, the driver would have been directed to go around the bridge. They say that the packaging of the navigation device should have indicated that it was not appropriate for charter bus use.

15 Plymouth elementary school students were transported to a local hospital after being involved in a school bus accident late yesterday afternoon.

The West Elementary School bus was involved in the crash with a small sedan (which suffered serious front-end damage) around 3:45 p.m. According to witness reports, the bus tipped over slightly before tipping back to its regular balance.

One student said, “When we crashed, it was very scary. A lot of kids started to cry and there were a few injuries.”

Eight area ambulances, several other emergency crews and the superintendent of schools responded to the scene of the accident. The school bus driver and 6 of the 35 kids on board were transported to area hospitals for minor bumps and bruises. No serious injuries have been reported.

Plymouth fire officials and EMS say the driver of the sedan appeared to be uninjured and declined to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
Students who didn’t go to the hospital were sent home with their parents, but kids are a bit nervous about getting back on the bus, rightfully so. Plymouth school officials say they expect transportation will be normal on Friday. The cause of the crash still remains under investigation-it is unclear who may have caused the accident.
Continue reading

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard yesterday, to protect motor-coach and other large bus passengers in rollover crashes. The proposal seeks to improve the structural design of large buses to ensure that passengers are better protected in the event of a deadly vehicle rollover.

In an article published by the NHTSA, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that, “The consequences for passengers in rollover crashes are severe. I want passengers to know that when this Department sees opportunities to make their travel safer so that they can more confidently visit their families or get to work, we are going to do just that and we believe this proposal is a step in that direction.”

The new regulation aims to ensure that performance requirements of large coach busses meet specific and dynamic performance tests in which the bus is tipped over from a raised platform and onto a hard level surface. The most crucial aspect is that the space around passengers remains sufficiently intact and the emergency exits remain operable.

In addition, the new proposed standard would:

– Require space around occupant seating positions to be maintained to afford occupants a survivable space in a crash;
– Require the seats, overhead luggage racks, and window glazing to remain attached to their mountings during and after the test; and – Require emergency exits to remain closed during the rollover test and operable after the test.
(NHTSA)

The testing procedures and performance requirements are closely modeled after the European regulations for large buses. Separately, the Department is planning on finalizing requirements, scheduled to pass this year, for stability control technologies in these types of vehicles, which would help prevent rollovers from occurring.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration administrator Anne Ferro, “Approximately 700 million trips are taken on commercial buses each year. Raising the standard for a motor-coach’s durability, in the event of a crash, is critical to saving the lives of the passengers inside.”
Continue reading

A union representing workers for the MBTA is voicing its disapproval for a new state policy prohibiting operators from carrying cell phones during their shifts.

According to an article published by the Boston Globe, the Boston Carmen’s Union ATU Local 589 stated that it was “deeply disturbed” by the new policy which was put in place following a near disastrous bus crash over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton, where the bus was left dangling over the busy highway and seven passengers were injured. The bus driver on duty was reportedly driving with a cell phone in her hand. She was terminated after pleading not guilty to respective charges.

The new policy calls for MBTA train and bus operators to be suspended for 30 days and recommended for firing if they are caught having a cell phone with them during work hours; whether the cell phone is being used or is stored away. The previous policy, which went into effect in 2009, banned operators from possessing cell phones on the job, however the punishment was much more lenient: operators caught faced a 10-day suspension from work and were recommended for firing after two violations. This new, tougher policy now matches the same policy previously put into effect for operators who are found texting or talking on a cell phone while on duty.

While many public officials have voiced their support for the new policy, MBTA workers as well as their representing union are expressing discontent, saying that not only is the punishment too harsh, but there are also times when “alternative communications are necessary for everyone’s protection, and the MBTA has not offered a resolution to that problem,” according to the Boston Globe and the Union’s website.
Continue reading

It began as any other Tuesday. Students in the quiet city of Torrington, Connecticut said goodbye to their parents, grabbed their lunchboxes, and boarded their school bus. The young students were on their way to Torringford Elementary School when their day took a scary turn. Two school buses were involved in what is being called a “multicar chain-reaction” accident. Twenty-two children were taken to the hospital with minor injuries as a result of the crash; adults in other vehicles were hospitalized as well.

The accident is believed to have occurred at 3:45pm on Tuesday when a man in a pickup truck rear-ended a Jeep, which was pushed into the back of a Kindercare bus, which in turn hit a larger school bus carrying children on their way to elementary school. A Volvo in another lane was also involved in the wreck. All five vehicles sustained extensive damage, with the Jeep coming to rest precariously teetering on a metal guardrail.
Continue reading

Residents in the South Shore town of Marshfield, MA voted 88 to 73 in a town meeting this week to approve a citizens petition to implement three-point seat belts on all school buses transporting children to and from school, sporting events and class trips.

The petition was created by resident Stephen Lynch out of safety concerns. Lynch, who is a father of three, discussed the stark reality of school bus accidents occurring each day-resulting in serious injuries to students and even death.

“Many of these injuries could have been prevented through seat belts,” Lynch stated in the meeting. Retrofitting buses, Lynch added, “Does not compare with the millions of dollars we spend at Town Meeting on discretionary projects that do not save lives.”

The amended petition would not take effect until 2016, when the Marshfield Public School District’s current bus contract expires. The Marshfield School Committee will also spend the next year reviewing the petition and vote, as well as negotiations with bus companies. Cost, according to Committee Chair Marti Morrison, will be a factor in deciding which bus company to contract services with. Marshfield Superintendent Scott Borstel said that it could cost up to an estimated $10,000 to retrofit buses with seat belts. Additionally, many attendees of the meeting raised the question of the sizes of seat belts and how these three-point safety systems would work for both small and large children. Once installed in buses, students will have the option to buckle up, but they will not be required to.

Currently there are six states in the U.S. that require seat belts on school buses: New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Massachusetts does not currently require the use of seat belts on school buses, but some school districts, including Wellesley and Waltham, have already outfitted buses with the life-saving device. According to Borstel, buses weighing more than 5 tons are designed to protect passengers in the event of an accident-that is why there are currently no laws in place for passenger buses that large, and why buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds are required to have seat belts.
Continue reading

Eleven students and the bus driver are recovering after a violent school bus accident in Anaheim Hills, California. The crash happened as the children were being driven home from an afterschool program in the Orange Unified School District. Around 3:30 pm, the bus careened down the hill before jumping a curb and slamming into trees and a lamppost. Two children and the driver were taken to area hospitals in critical condition while nine others were treated for minor injuries.

Photos and video from the aftermath depict the chaotic scene with the severely damaged bus leaning on its side with several downed trees and debris strewn all over the street. The incident took place near the Anaheim Hills Golf Course in an affluent part of the city. According to local authorities, no other cars were involved in the accident. CBS Boston reported that the driver was trapped in the bus for hours before emergency workers were able to free him.

Jak Pintches, 14 told Boston.com the bus was making a turn when it lost control and struck a tree and a lamppost. ”I flew out of my seat and hit the other side of the bus” injuring his back, the student told the Orange County Register as he recounted the scary incident. Pintches also explained that a sharp piece of a tree punctured the metal frame and cut another female student’s leg.
Continue reading

Each year, almost four million people ride the MBTA in Boston. The Transit system is the country’s oldest in operation, and connects all corners of the city through five subway lines and a fleet of 178 bus routes. When passengers board an MBTA bus, they would like to believe that they are safe-safer, perhaps, than they would be anywhere else on the road. Buses are often the largest vehicles on the street, and their sturdy metal frame makes them seem indestructible, but bus accidents are still responsible for hundreds of injuries every year in Boston. As victims of motor vehicle accidents know, some of these injuries can cause permanent damage that can forever alter someone’s lifestyle, or even lead to death.

Bus accidents involve more factors than the common fender bender between two cars. The cause for the accident could be attributed to negligence by the bus driver, the driver of another vehicle, distraction by a passenger, or perhaps faulty equipment on either vehicle. Each incident, of course, is unique and must be investigated thoroughly. Something to be considered, however, is the fact that the buses are usually carrying numerous passengers, which increases the number of injuries. MBTA buses carry a maximum of almost 50 passengers, meaning that every single one of those people has the potential to be injured in an accident.
Continue reading

A school bus was involved in a crash on Massachusetts Interstate 93 on Tuesday afternoon while carrying 58 passengers.

According to police officials, the bus was traveling near exit 8 on the Southeast Expressway when it was involved in the single-vehicle accident. 54 students and 4 adults were on the bus, including the driver. Authorities said that no one on the bus was injured. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Buses and other modes of public transportation are utilized by millions of people each year. As a parent, having a child travel on a school bus can be worrisome, especially since children are particularly susceptible to sustaining an injury as seatbelts are typically not required to be worn on school buses.

When children are injured in school bus accidents, a number of questions race through a parent’s mind as to what the next step, aside from getting the obvious necessary treatment for injuries, should be. Cases involving school buses can become extremely complex as often school bus drivers are technically considered third parties to the school because they are usually employed by a private bus company. It is generally in the best interest of a person who is involved in this type of incident to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes inhttps://www.altmanllp.com/bus-accidents-school-bus-accidents.html school bus accident cases.
Continue reading

Contact Information