When you step onto a bus, you are putting your safety into the hands of another person. When the bus company or the driver breach their duty and cause injury or accident, they must be held liable.
If you or a family member have been injured because of the carelessness of a bus driver or the negligent conduct of a bus company, you should contact a skilled accident attorney. You need to be aware of your rights. An experienced Pinellas County bus accident attorney can help you throughout the process.
Common Causes of Accidents
While the primary cause of bus accidents is negligence on the part of the driver, there are many factors which could contribute to said negligence, including:
- Driving while impaired
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield to pedestrians
- Failing to signal properly while turning
- Falling asleep
There could also be negligence on the part of the bus company by allowing buses with faulty equipment, such as inadequate breaks to drive on the road.
Allocating negligence to a party can be difficult in the context of a bus accident. As opposed to a traditional car accident between two private parties, there are multiple factors involved a bus accident, including the bus driver, passengers, the third party driver, the bus company, and often government entities such as a school district.
Various factors can affect liability in a bus accident case:
- The bus driver’s negligence leading to the crash, either in terms of speeding, distracted driving, or careless driving
- A third-party driver’s negligence
- Passenger negligence resulting from creating a disturbance to the driver
- The negligence of the bus company, either in the maintenance of the bus, the hiring of the bus driver, or in terms of employee training and maintaining safety standards
A Pinellas County bus accident attorney can closely examine their client’s crash and police reports to help them sort out what their legal rights are and who to pursue for compensation.
Carriers Have a Heightened Duty of Care
Generally, buses owned and operated by the state or by a private entity are considered common carriers. This means that as entities licensed to carry high numbers of passengers, they owe a heightened duty of care to the general public.
A Pinellas County bus accident lawyer will analyze the negligence of the bus driver or the company running in light of the common carrier’s heightened duty and the particular facts of their client’s case to determine potential liability.
Sovereign Immunity Doctrine
If someone has been injured by a bus owned by the city or town, such as a city bus or school bus, the municipalities, as an instrumentality of the State of Florida, has sovereign immunity to suit, meaning it can only be sued with its own permission, according to FL. Stat. 768.28.
Florida has generally waived sovereign immunity for tort actions up to certain amounts of damages, but an attorney can provide their client guidance on the application of the sovereign immunity doctrine based upon the facts of their particular case.
How a Pinellas County Bus Accident Attorney Can Help
Bus accidents present a number of potential complications. That includes pinning down negligence on the proper party or the issue of sovereign immunity.
If you have been injured, you need a Pinellas County bus accident attorney to help guide you through the process and win you the money you deserve.