Bus passengers throughout the United States ride nearly thirty billion miles per year, according to federal government data. Plenty of Kentuckyans rely on bus transit to get to work, go shopping, or simply to spare ourselves a long drive. What many of us fail to consider in all of that bus travel, however, is the unique danger that buses can pose to others on the road, and to their own passengers.
Collisions involving buses can result in severe, even fatal, injuries for motor vehicle occupants and bus passengers alike. Those bus crash victims need caring, diligent, experienced legal representation to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries, especially when a government agency or contractor operated the bus that crashed.
In 2013, A school bus crash in Greenville, Muhlenberg County occurred when the bus hit another vehicle, ran off the road and overturned on its side.
For decades, Flora Templeton Stuart has represented clients throughout Kentucky who have suffered injuries in accidents caused by someone’s careless, reckless actions. To learn how she can help victims of a Greenville-area bus crash in Muhlenberg County, contact her team today online or at 888-782-9090.
Common Contributing Factors in Bus Accidents
Bus accidents, like any motor vehicle accidents, result from a wide variety of factors. In our experience as lawyers for injured bus crash victims, however, the vast majority of those factors trace back to someone’s poor decisions or dangerous actions, such as:
Bus drivers typically need a Class B or C commercial driver’s license in Kentucky. The process of obtaining that license should, in theory, prepare the driver to operate safely and without incident. Unfortunately, bus drivers still make preventable mistakes, and when they do, crashes happen. Some driver errors that can lead to a Greenville bus crash include:
- Distraction. Bus drivers get distracted just like any human being. Unlike many distracted drivers, however, they make this mistake while operating a large, heavy vehicle potentially filled with un-seat-belted passengers. In this day and age, mobile devices constitute one of the most common and hazardous distractions that plague drivers behind the wheel. Bus drivers, because they operate a vehicle in full view of their own passengers, may tend to fall prey to the pull of screens less than other motorists. However, other distractions can draw bus drivers’ attention and cause a crash, such as monitoring the activities of passengers in a rear-view mirror, or paying attention to a roadside feature rather than the road ahead.
- Speeding. Many buses have a high center of gravity and relatively-narrow wheelbase. This makes them somewhat unstable if they need to course-correct while in motion. The higher the speed of a bus, the higher the likelihood of it rolling over if the driver tries to change direction too quickly. Speeding in a bus also increases the risk of a collision because it extends the distance a bus needs to come to a safe stop, while reducing the amount of time a driver has to react to a road hazard.
- Inexperience. It takes practice and know-how to navigate a bus through tight traffic conditions, or around street corners. Bus drivers who lack training and experience can end up causing a crash simply by failing to realize what they need to do to operate safely.
These are just some of the types of errors bus drivers can make, of course. Just about any mistake you can imagine happening behind the wheel of any vehicle can occur on a bus, too.
Buses, like any motor vehicle, need routine maintenance to operate safely. A poorly-serviced bus may have faulty brakes, malfunctioning hydraulics, or worn tires, for instance, all of which can lead to a loss of control and a deadly, catastrophic collision.
Bus safety depends, to a greater degree than for other vehicles, on the roads the buses navigate. A road pitted with potholes, or with a narrow, soft shoulder, or with dangerously-narrow lanes, can put buses especially at risk for an accident.
Greenville Bus Accident Injuries
No matter the cause, a bus crash can have catastrophic, even deadly, results. The size and weight of a bus eclipses that of a standard passenger vehicle, so in a collision the occupants of the smaller vehicle face an extreme risk of severe injuries. Bus riders also face great danger in a crash, particularly those riding in buses not equipped with seatbelts. Some of the serious injuries victims of a bus accident often confront include:
- Spinal cord injuries. In a Greenville bus accident, victims can sustain severe injuries to their spinal columns and, in turn, to their spinal cords. Bruising, swelling, or tearing on the spinal cord disrupts signals that the brain sends to the rest of the body, frequently resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis. Many spinal cord injuries do not heal, leaving victims with lifelong disabilities.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Bus crash victims frequently sustain a blow or jolt to their heads, which in turn causes damage to brain tissue from swelling, bleeding, and tearing. Traumatic brain injuries can cause death, permanent loss of consciousness, and a host of long lasting cognitive, emotional, and motor impairments. Even a “minor” traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion, can leave a bus crash victim struggling with significant difficulties, including chronic headaches, fatigue, and “brain fog.”
- Severe orthopedic injuries. Passenger vehicle and bus occupants alike face a high risk of sustaining major orthopedic injuries in a Greenville bus crash. Broken bones, dislocated joints, and torn ligaments and tendons frequently result from the violent forces in a collision. Although some of these injuries may heal in time with proper care, many can leave victims struggling with lifelong disabilities and chronic pain.
- Internal injuries. Anyone who endures the impact of a Greenville bus crash, even passengers who wear seat belts, runs the risk of suffering injuries to vital organs such as their lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys. If left untreated, these injuries can be fatal. Even when caught in time, damaged organs can leave a bus crash victim with permanent health complications.
The list above merely represents a sampling of the harm that can come to victims of Greenville, Muhlenberg County bus accidents. In fact, virtually any injury you can imagine might result from a crash involving a bus. No matter what kind of harm a client of Flora Templeton Stuart sustained in a bus accident, the firm commits itself to giving that client the best possible chance of obtaining compensation for those injuries.
Legal Liability for a Greenville Bus Accident
Bus crash victims come to Flora Templeton Stuart hoping to hold someone accountable for their injuries. But who? Every bus accident matter our firm takes-on has its own unique circumstances, of course, but as a general matter, we believe our clients should have the opportunity to seek money damages from anyone who’s bad decisions or reckless actions caused their bus crash. From case-to-case, that may include:
- Bus drivers. Because so many bus accidents result from driver error, a bus driver may have legal liability for the harm the crash causes.
- Bus operators. More commonly, however, bus drivers work for transportation companies who operate buses. Those companies may face legal liability for the actions of their employee, the bus driver, within the scope of his employment. They may also face liability for their corporate actions, such as when they fail to hire and/or train competent drivers, or when they fail to maintain their bus fleets in safe working order.
- Local governments. Sometimes, local government agencies operate fleets of buses. Victims of bus crashes may have the right to hold these entities accountable for damages in the same way they might take legal action against a private bus fleet operator, but oftentimes legal actions against government agencies come with legal complications. That is why it is important to hire an attorney with deep experience representing bus crash victims, who knows how to navigate a potential lawsuit against a government bus operator.
- Bus manufacturers. Sometimes, a bus crash can result from a mechanical failure caused by a defective bus part. Manufacturers of bus parts have a special obligation not to sell products that put the public in unreasonable danger. Selling a defective part violates that duty, and could saddle a manufacturer with legal liability.
- Not all bus-related accidents result from something that went wrong with a bus. Experienced Greenville bus accident injury attorneys like Flora Templeton Stuart know the importance of examining the facts of every accident to identify all parties who might have made poor decisions or taken risky actions that led to a crash. That careful case preparation helps to ensure that a bus crash victim has the best shot at recovering full compensation for the devastation caused by the accident.
Potential Compensation for Bus Accident Injuries
Victims of Greenville bus accidents endure severe physical, emotional, and financial harm. The team at the law office of Flora Templeton Stuart works tirelessly to obtain compensation for those victims. We recognize that the money damages we achieve for our clients cannot erase the trauma of a Greenville bus crash. It can, however, help to provide our clients with the foundation they need to recover their health and sense of wellbeing.
Although every bus accident case we handle has its own unique circumstances, and we can never guarantee that our client will recover compensation, typically the kinds of damages bus accident victims can seek through the legal actions we take on their behalf include:
- Medical expenses. Bus crash victims can seek to recover their past, present, and future medical costs associated with injuries they sustained in an accident. This includes not just the expense of hospital stays and doctor visits, but all medical-related costs, including ambulance rides, prescriptions, physical and emotional therapy, custom medical equipment, and in-home care. Flora Templeton Stuart takes special care to make sure she evaluates a client’s full medical needs, both present and future, to ensure a client never ends up with less money than necessary to meet long-term medical needs.
- Lost Wages and Earning Capacity. Greenville bus accident victims who sustained severe injuries often miss time at work while they recuperate. Sometimes, their injuries prevent them from returning to work in the same capacity, necessitating reduced hours or modified responsibilities. In other cases, injuries inflict such severe disabilities that a bus crash victim can never return to work. Those victims deserve to recover every last dollar of income they lost because of a preventable, senseless bus crash that was not their fault.
- Pain, Suffering, and Loss of Quality of Life. Out-of-pocket expenses constitute just one of the many ways a Greenville bus crash harms its victims. Many of the clients Flora Templeton Stuart represents suffer long lasting physical pain and emotional suffering. Their injuries take a massive toll on their ability to enjoy their lives, engage in everyday activities, and maintain important personal relationships. These harms are no less real than out-of-pocket expenses, and victims who suffer them deserve full compensation.
The categories of damages above reflect some of the most common types of “damages” a Greenville bus crash victim may seek to recover with the help of an experienced bus accident injury attorney. Speak with our team today to learn about the damages you might recover for the trauma you suffered in a bus crash.
Flora Templeton Stuart: Compassionate and Knowledgeable Greenville Bus Accident Attorneys
At Flora Templeton Stuart, our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys understands that a bus accident can change your life for the worse, and for a long time. We know how overwhelming and unfair life can feel after suffering severe bus crash injuries. Our compassionate, dedicated team works tirelessly to help ease our clients’ difficulties. Our mission is to make sure the parties at fault for a Greenville bus crash pay the fair compensation our clients need to renew their health and restore their lives.
If a Greenville, Kentucky-area bus crash has upended your life and left you feeling like a boat without a rudder, contact us. You can reach our personal injury attorneys by phone at 888-782-9090 or online, to get a free consultation to discuss your rights to compensation.