Bus accidents are less common than other types of motor vehicle collisions, but when they do happen, they may be devastating because of the weight and size of the bus. A bus driver may walk away from an accident without a scratch, while pedestrians and people in passenger vehicles may suffer catastrophic injuries. Sometimes riders on the bus are injured, but more than half of the injuries caused by bus accidents happen to people in the vehicles around the bus.
Buses are usually considered common carriers, which include any vehicles for hire that hold themselves out to the public to transport passengers. A duty to use the utmost skill, diligence, and care is owed by common carriers to their passengers. Accordingly, bus drivers have a tremendous responsibility toward people inside the bus. They also owe a duty to other people on the road. Unfortunately, many bus crashes are results of driver errors, such as speeding, fatigue, or the use of prescription drugs, illegal narcotics, or alcohol. After a bus accident, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to determine the cause of the crash.
If you suffer injuries while in a car or bus, you may have two paths to compensation. The first is to make a claim against your own no-fault insurance. No-fault insurance was put in place to provide certain economic benefits to motor vehicle accident victims, regardless of fault. You may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, medical mileage, lost wages, replacement household services, and nursing services through your no-fault insurance.
You may also be able to bring a personal injury claim against a bus driver or another at-fault driver for noneconomic damages if you have sustained a certain level of serious injury. Whether the bus is private or public may affect your case significantly. Public buses are buses operated by the government, such as large metro buses. Government entities are protected such that you will need to prove a driver's gross negligence rather than just their ordinary negligence in order to recover damages. Michigan law requires that a person with an injury claim involving a common carrier give notice of the claim to the transportation authority within 60 days.
However, if the bus involved is a private commercial bus, it is usually more straightforward to sue the bus company and driver for ordinary negligence. In an ordinary negligence claim, you will need to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver failed to use reasonable care and that this failure caused your injuries.In the event you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, contact the experienced bus accident attorneys at Neumann Law Group for a free consultation.