Melbourne Bus Accident Attorneys
On any given day, thousands of Melbourne residents and visitors can be found riding a bus to get to work, school, or tourist attractions. As a passenger on a bus, you trust that the bus has been properly maintained and that the driver will safely transport you to your destination. In most cases, that trust is warranted; however, when a bus is involved in an accident the passengers can suffer serious, life-altering, injuries.
If you were injured in a bus accident you may be dealing with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and mounting financial concerns. Finding a doctor who will treat your physical and emotional injuries can be challenging enough without adding in the need to navigate the judicial system if another party caused, or contributed to, the collision that caused your injuries. The good news is that the experienced Melbourne bus accident attorneys at Layman Law Firm, P.L. are dedicated to helping victims just like you. Our experienced bus accident attorneys are committed to using their extensive resources and expertise to ensure that the at-fault party (or parties) are held accountable and that you are fully and fairly compensated for all your injuries.
Melbourne Bus Accident Facts and Figures
- S. Department of Transportation Statistics tell us that there were 73,930 bus accidents in 2019 across the United States. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), school bus accidents alone killed 109 people that same year, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Moreover, data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that Florida had almost twice the number of fatal large truck or bus crashes in 2019 as the number two state (Tennessee) on the list. That year, 202 people died in 182 crashes in Florida and another 3,863 people were injured. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Traffic Crash Facts report for 2019 indicates that 56 people suffered incapacitating injuries in a bus crash while over 1,500 additional victims suffered less serious injuries.
Melbourne Bus Accident Causes
Driving a bus requires a unique set of skills which is why a bus driver must have the proper type of operator’s license. Nevertheless, driver error is still a leading cause of bus accidents. Some of the most common causes of a bus accident include:
- Driver Distraction. Distracted driving is a leading cause of all motor vehicles collisions in the United States. When the driver is operating a bus, however, even the slightest distraction can prevent the driver from focusing on the roadway which, in turn, can result in a catastrophic accident.
- Insufficient Training. While having the proper license is essential to legally operate a bus, it is not enough to ensure that a driver safely operates the bus. Only proper training and experience can do that. If a driver lacks that training, an accident may occur.
- Impaired Driving. A bus driver who is under the influence of alcohol, as well as illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter medications, is a danger to everyone on the roadway. Despite efforts to educate drivers on the risks of driving impaired, a significant number of collisions continue to involve an impaired driver.
- Fatigued Driving. Employers often push bus drivers to work long shifts and/or extra days when demand is high. That can lead to a driver who is too tired to be behind the wheel, creating a risk to passengers and others on the roadway. A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that a drowsy driver can be just as dangerous on the roadway as a drunk driver.
- Failing to Obey Traffic Laws. Given the size and weight of a bus, driving a bus safely requires strict adherence to all traffic laws to avoid a potentially deadly collision. A driver who does not understand those laws or who flagrantly disobeys the traffic laws can cause a serious accident.
- Bus Safety and Maintenance. The owner of a bus is required by law to conduct regular inspections and keep up with necessary maintenance. If an inspection was put off, or necessary repairs and maintenance were not completed, the bus itself may not be safe to operate.
Steps to Take Following a Bus Accident
If you were injured in a bus accident, or you are the parent of a child who was, knowing what to do next is the key to ensuring that you are compensated for all the injuries suffered in the accident. The following three steps should be taken by a victim (or a parent) following a Melbourne bus accident:
- Seek a medical evaluation. Always have a complete medical evaluation done following a bus accident, even if you think you were not seriously injured. Some potentially life-threatening injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, do not produce identifiable symptoms until hours (even days) after the injury. Along with ensuring that hidden injuries are detected, an immediate examination helps provide proof that the injuries you suffered were the result of the bus accident.
- Collect evidence. When possible, take photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved using your cell phone. You should also gather contact and insurance information from parties involved in the collision as well as the names and contact information for witnesses. Start a file for medical bills and other expenses related to the accident as well.
- Consult with an experienced attorney before talking to an insurance company. When a bus is involved in an injury accident, you can almost guarantee that the bus company’s liability insurance provider will contact victims as soon after the accident as possible. If that happens to you, do not speak to the insurance company without first consulting with an experienced bus accident lawyer and never agree to give a taped statement to an insurance company without an attorney present. Keep in mind that the insurance company has a vested interest in getting you to accept a token amount of money in exchange for a release of all liability. One of the most complicated aspects of a bus accident injury case is identifying the liable parties. While the bus driver may be partially at fault, the owner of the bus, the company responsible for maintaining the bus, the bus manufacturer, and other third parties may also share in the liability. For this reason alone, it is not in your best interest to accept a settlement offer without first consulting with an experienced bus accident attorney.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for My Melbourne Bus Accident Injuries?
As the victim of a Melbourne bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation for both your physical and emotional injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and other care costs
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished qualify of life
If you lost a family member in a fatal bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation as the claimant in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, compensation may be awarded to a claimant if the victim was a spouse or parent who can no longer provide the companionship, care, and support they provided prior to the accident.
Contact the Experienced Melbourne Bus Accident Attorneys at Layman Law Firm, P.L.
If you were injured in a bus accident, or you lost a family member in a fatal crash, contact the experienced Melbourne bus accident attorneys at Layman Law Firm, P.L. to discuss your legal options. We are committed to ensuring that bus accident victims are fully and fairly compensated by the responsible party or parties. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 321-989-6631 or by filling out our convenient Intake Evaluation Form online.