There are many different types of buses, and as a result, accidents involving them can take many forms. Unbelted passengers can be thrown against hard objects from a sudden stop or crash. Unsafe driving maneuvers can injure or kill pedestrians and bicyclists. School children can be injured or killed when a driver fails to watch out for them when they get on or off the bus.

Frequently, bus drivers are under-trained and unqualified, and over-the-road tour bus drivers may suffer from the same issues of fatigue and drowsiness that plague tractor-trailer drivers. All of these factors can pose great danger to individuals riding buses or otherwise coming in contact with them.

Bus Drivers Can Cause Catastrophic Personal Injuries

While any vehicular crash can cause terrible injuries, the comparatively greater size and mass of buses, together with the unrestrained condition of bus passengers, can cause any of the following:

Negligence

A bus accident may seem like any other automobile collision case, but special training and regulations govern the operation of most buses. Knowledge of these special laws and procedures distinguish attorneys who routinely do this type of work from others, whose experience may only be car accidents. Virtually all of the traditional forms of vehicular negligence apply:

  • Exceeding the speed limit;
  • Failing to yield the right of way;
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign or signal;
  • Operating at a speed that is unsafe for the road or traffic conditions, even if otherwise within the speed limit;
  • Following too closely;
  • Failing to keep a careful lookout;
  • Driving impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Operating a bus that is not properly maintained or which suffers mechanical failure

Failings, such as those above, can and do cause horrific injuries. In fact, injuries occur to both bus passengers and others using the roadways alongside buses. Bus drivers can cause or contribute to the following injury-inducing situations:

  • Erratic driving or stops that throw passengers around the interior of the bus
  • Striking or side-swiping pedestrians, including people entering or exiting the bus
  • Striking bicyclists or colliding with other motorists
  • Slip-and-falls on bus steps due to ice, snow, or worn conditions
  • Unsafe wheelchair ramps or lifts

In addition to these usual failings, bus drivers can also be in violation of certain regulations and statutes, such as:

  • Exceeding maximum driving, or “on-duty,” hours
  • Failing to properly maintain records and log books
  • Failing to conduct pre- and post-trip inspections
  • Consuming alcohol within the allowable time frame prior to start of a trip
  • Loading and unloading of passengers
  • Proof and fault

As in any type of vehicular collision case, the injured party must prove that the bus driver acted negligently. When a bus driver violates a regulation or statute, the injured party can claim the violation of the written law as an additional ground for negligence. This is sometimes called “negligence per se.”

On rare occasions, particularly if one is the operator of a separate motor vehicle that collides with a bus, the injured party can be comparatively at fault. Judging comparative fault involves the same general principles of negligence (i.e., driving at an excessive speed). For instance, if you are injured because your vehicle collides with a bus, the jury will compare your fault with that of the bus driver.

In Missouri, even if you are largely at fault for your own injuries, you can still recover some percentage of your damages from the negligent bus driver. In Kansas, however, you can recover only if your fault is less than the fault of the defendant. Hence, even a finding that the bus driver and you are 50/50 results in $0 recovery. K.S.A. 60-258a.

Contact Us

An experienced bus accident or injury attorney can help you navigate the special laws and legal issues unique to these kinds of cases. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus accident in the Kansas City area, call 816-361-5555 to discuss your case with an attorney at the personal injury law firm of Monsees & Mayer, P.C.

We expertly handle cases against the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), Johnson County Transit (The JO), school bus companies, and tour bus lines.

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