Whether you ride buses for public transportation around Illinois, or your children ride school buses, they are known for being one of the safer vehicles on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2018 nationwide there were 234 buses involved in fatal crashes. As far as Illinois-specific data, the Illinois DOT released an overview of 2018 Crash Facts & Statistics which reveals that “In 2018, there were 1,577 school bus crashes. These crashes account for less than 1% of the total crashes for the year.” Additionally, there were 2,882 other bus accidents for the year. Accidents do occur, even if it’s rarer for a bus, and in the case of a bus accident, injuries and long-term effects may be more severe.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
A variety of factors can contribute to causing a bus accident. Influencing causes and circumstances can help determine where liability lies and what damages can be pursued. Common factors that influence bus accidents can include:
- – Bus driver loses consciousness due to medical reason or fatigue
- – Bus driver crashes due to distraction
- – Bus driver intoxication
- – Bus driver swerves or brakes abruptly to avoid another object
- – Mechanical malfunctions
- – A pedestrian enters a blind spot, resulting in an accident
- – Hazardous weather conditions
- – Overcrowded buses
- – Poor or inadequate driver training or fleet maintenance
What to Do After a Bus Accident
After experiencing a bus accident here are a few things you should keep in mind.
- On-site: Call the police so that you can file an accident report. This will be important documentation. If it’s safe to do so, you’ll also want to gather your belongings to take with you. Make sure to take photos of the accident, if you’re able to.
- Off-site: If you are experiencing any medical challenges or injuries, make sure to seek medical treatment. Ask the ambulance to take you to a nearby hospital, and make sure to treat your injuries. If necessary, do any imaging the doctor recommends
- After-the-fact: Speak with an attorney. Do not speak with the insurance company or provide any statements until you’ve spoken with someone who’s more familiar with how to protect your rights.
Types of Possible Injuries
Injuries from a bus accident can range from personal injuries (bodily) to property injuries (such as a home or a vehicle). Injuries might include nerve damage, internal organ damage, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries, among other things. Another component of injuries could involve emotional distress and pain and suffering. An experienced bus accident attorney will be able to advise you.
Determining who’s liable for the accident will inform your next steps.
Potentially liability could lie with: The bus driver, the bus driver’s employer, a manufacturer of a defective part that directly caused the accident, a government agency, or the bus company.
It’s important if you experience a bus accident in Illinois that you’re aware of a few key statutes. In many cases, with a personal injury lawsuit that involves a car or truck, an individual may file a lawsuit for up to two years from the date of the accident. However, if the case involves a state or government entity, in Illinois, your statute of limitations decreases. You only have one year to file a case. Some buses are driven by private companies and would therefore most likely fall under the realm of the two-year limitation. If a school bus is involved and the school bus driver is allegedly at fault, then the plaintiff would need to file against the school district. Often the districts carry insurance that would provide compensation, however as the school district is a government entity, you would need to file your case within one year.
Whether you were on a bus and in an accident, or hit by a bus, the bus accident lawyers at Cullotta Bravo Law can help provide comprehensive legal assistance. As a firm, they have over thirty years of experience and millions of dollars in settlements for past clients. If you have questions about your bus accident, give them a call today at 630-898-7800 to schedule a free consultation, or reach out to them online now.