Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?

Determining who is liable for a bus accident depends on the circumstances which led to the accident.

The process of filing a traffic accident claim feels daunting even under normal circumstances, let alone when a large bus is involved. If you or someone you care about was involved in a bus accident, call S. Burke Law: 404-842-7838.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

Like other motor vehicle accidents, liability hinges on determining which party caused the accident. Accidents occur for a variety of reasons and bus accidents are no exception. The following are among the common causes of bus accidents:

  • Distracted driving
  • Bus driver error
  • Driving under the influence
  • Poor driver training
  • Poorly maintained buses
  • Violation of bus regulations
  • Speeding

As you can see above, bus accidents happen for a variety of reasons. And those reasons directly influence who is liable in an accident. For example, if the bus driver in your accident did not have the proper licenses to operate the vehicle, then it is likely the bus driver, or whomever he or she works for, will be liable.

Conversely, if a passenger car driver was speeding, runs a red light, and rams into a bus attempting to make a turn, then the passenger car driver would be at fault.

Common Carriers

Buses are common carriers. The term common carrier refers to vehicles that transport people or goods. In this category are tour buses, school buses, and any other type of commercial bus.

Because common carriers transport goods and people, they must exercise a higher degree of care. Thus, they often have lower thresholds for liability. So, if a bus driver is at fault in an accident, this factors heavily into who is responsible for your variety of damages.

Differences Between Commercial Buses and Public Buses

Some buses are public buses, such as school buses and commuter buses. Others are private buses transporting passengers and goods for a variety of reasons.

For example, if you get into an accident with a school bus, there are a variety of people and entities who may be liable in your accident. Those people and entities may include:

  • School bus driver’s employer: The school bus driver’s employer may be liable for the driver’s negligence. 
  • The bus manufacturer: If the bus was defective in any way that contributed to the accident.
  • Third-party contractors: If any contractors were responsible for supplying parts or hiring bus drivers.

Similarly, if your accident occurred on a tour bus, there are a few entities which may be liable. Those entities include:

  • The owner: Whoever owns the bus is responsible for maintaining a safe fleet of vehicles. They are also responsible for ensuring their drivers are qualified to operate their vehicles.
  • The tour company: Tour companies may be liable if they did not appropriately evaluate the bus companies they choose as a business partner. For example, if you can demonstrate that bus company’s owners had several safety violations, the tour company may be liable as well for an accident.

Call an Attorney at S. Burke Law Today

Being aware of the causes of your accident and who may be liable is crucial in eventually collecting compensation for damages in a settlement. But it is often difficult to determine who is responsible for your injuries. We can help you fight for compensation.

Our team thoroughly investigates the circumstances of your accident to determine which parties might be liable for your damages. Call us at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how we can help you.