Richmond Bus Accident Attorney
Auto Accident Injury Lawyers Who Fight For Your Rights
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a large
bus or motor coach, you may need an attorney to help you navigate the
laws that apply to bus crashes. The personal injury attorneys at the
Halperin Law Center in Richmond have the experience required to litigate your potential claims.
We can take on the following parties:
- Bus companies
- Bus drivers
- Tour operators
- Tour brokers
Accidents involving buses are often more devastating than crashes with
only passenger cars involved, as more passengers are involved in the collision
and the vehicle sizes differ greatly.
When there are serious injuries or
death resulting from a bus accident, the victims should ensure that they seek out a
Richmond personal injury attorney who is experienced in bus accidents cases. They need to ensure they act
fast, as time is of the essence in making these claims and ensuring evidence
is preserved. At the Halperin Law Center, we can navigate the myriad of
complex laws and regulations involved in bus accidents, fighting for maximum
compensation on your behalf.
Regulations for Buses
With private tour buses, commercial buses, school buses and public transportation
buses on the road and the dangers inherent in the operation of buses,
proper regulation of bus companies, buses, and bus drivers is critical.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") has
established a very detailed set of laws, known as the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations ("FMCSR"). These regulations were developed
to keep the driving public safe. In addition, the FMCSA collects, analyzes,
and publishes crash statistics and data in order to understand the causes
and possible ways to prevent commercial motor vehicle injuries and fatalities
in the United States.
measures the safety performance of bus companies in certain key compliance and safety areas as part of their Safety Measurement
System ("SMS"). The system provides an assessment of a bus company's
safety and compliance performance. Performance is evaluated
using Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, or "BASICs."
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The FMCSA Safety Rating System
Another useful tool developed and maintained by the FMCSA with respect
to motor coaches is their safety rating system. They issue three types
unsatisfactory. A bus company that has received a
conditional rating may present a higher safety risk compared to a
satisfactory rated one. Bus companies who have an
unsatisfactory rating should not be operating. If a company has a less than
satisfactory safety rating, it likely does not have proper safety management controls
that would ensure compliance with all FMCSA safety standards.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
There are a wide variety of things that can cause bus accidents, but
violations of the FMCSR are often the root of the problem. Given the large number of regulations included in the FMCSR, there are
hundreds of potential violations that could lead to an accident. These
violations might involve the driver, the bus itself, the driver's
actions, or actions of the bus company.
Some of the most common causes of bus accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Driver fatigue
- Insufficient driver training
- Lack of bus driver experience
- Distracted driving
- DUI or under the influence of drugs
- Excessive speeding
- Defective equipment
- Failure to properly maintain the bus
- Weather conditions
- Driver error
One of the most common factors contributing to bus accidents is
driver fatigue. By some estimates, as much as 30% or more of bus accidents involve a
fatigued driver. Because of their work, some bus drivers suffer from sleep
deprivation and disrupted sleep cycles. In addition, drivers may be driving
for an excessive number of hours and fail to take appropriate rest and
sleep breaks. Many commercial bus and motor coach companies are in competition
for business and seek to increase their profits, often resulting in strain
on drivers. If drivers don't get adequate sleep, they put all their
passengers and those around them on the road in danger.
Lack of Driver Training & Experience
Bus drivers are required to have special training and undergo testing to
obtain a commercial driver's license ("CDL"). There is no
substitute for real-world experience, and thus many drivers may make mistakes
due to lack of experience.
The consequences of lack of experience and proper training include the
inability to react properly to serious dangers on the road, changing weather
conditions, or poor driver decisions. They are also at more of a risk
for failure to comply with Federal and State regulations and safety procedures
that due to a lack of awareness. If motor carriers fail to hire experienced
bus drivers or fail to provide ample training to their bus drivers, they
may be held liable.
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Use of Drugs or Alcohol
Some bus drivers may use stimulants to combat fatigue, drive more miles,
or arrive at a destination at a certain time. An intoxicated driver with
a large, heavy bus or motor coach is dangerous and deadly. The use of
alcohol or drugs by bus drivers can cause the driver, the bus company,
and even a tour company to be liable for damages and injuries caused by
an accident. Hiring unsafe drivers or unsafe bus companies can result
in liability for the tour operator who arranged the transportation. The
failure to properly investigate the safety record of a driver or motor
carrier can have disastrous and deadly effects.
We know that our cars seem very expensive to maintain. Keeping that in
mind, buses and large motor coaches are very expensive to maintain. Unfortunately,
that means many bus companies and drivers will cut corners to save on
their costs and increase profit. The FMCSR requires that buses be inspected
on a regular basis to ensure that they are in a safe and fully operational
condition. Inspection and maintenance of the buses must be documented
and the records of such inspection and maintenance must be kept up-to-date.
Equipment failures on buses and motor coaches can have catastrophic and
even fatal consequences, injuring the bus driver, passengers and others
on the roadway.
Equipment failures due to a lack of inspection can cause accidents, such as:
- Missing lights
- Missing reflective markers
- Defective or worn tires
- Defective or worn brakes
In addition to liability for the driver and motor carrier, third-party
maintenance and repair companies could also be liable for injuries sustained
in accidents caused by defective equipment, as well as bus and bus part
Driver error is often responsible for causing bus accidents. Errors committed
by drivers are a major factor in many accidents and may be worsened by
many factors, including poor weather, fatigue, distractions (texting,
eating, drinking), violations of roadway safety rules, and various other
issues. For example, if a bus driver tries to improperly pass or fails
to yield to another driver, it could lead to a serious collision. The
Richmond personal injury lawyers at the Halperin Law Center have the experience
and knowledge needed to manage your bus accident case from intake through
resolution, including trial if necessary.
Contact us today for a free consultation with our experienced attorneys!