Nevada is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. The state receives visitors from all over the world, while the residents also have the chance to visit the local attractions. People who visit or live in Nevada’s largest cities, mainly Las Vegas, often use public buses to move around. Despite their convenience, buses are prone to accidents. When fatal bus accidents occur, those involved suffer severe injuries. After being involved in a bus accident, you and your family could suffer financially because of the cost of seeking treatment and the lost wages due to the time spent out of work. You do not have to shoulder the financial burden when another party's action or negligence causes your injury. You should seek compensation from the party responsible for your damages. The dedicated Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm is here to assist you in securing payment for all the costs associated with your injuries.
Common Bus Accidents Causes
Generally, the leading causes of bus accidents in Nevada include the following:
- Faulty and defective buses
- Negligence on the part of the bus driver
- Negligence on the part of another driver
- Negligence on the part of the bus company
Faulty And Defective Buses
Virtually any part of a bus can be defective, and various defects can cause accidents and injuries. This includes many things, from defective seats to faulty lights and tires. In Nevada, the product liability law governs defective bus claims. As a result, companies that manufacture, design, and sell defective buses and parts can be held responsible for the losses victims incur in accidents caused by mechanical failure or a bus defect.
Mechanical problems, including faulty brakes, steering, or defective tires, can make the bus driver lose control of the bus and crash. The bus or part manufacturer could be held responsible through a product liability claim if mechanical problems are caused by faulty design or manufacturing.
In some situations, the bus owner or others responsible for the bus maintenance could be held accountable for neglecting the bus's safety. Usually, manufacturers and other responsible parties always attempt to point out the bus driver's negligence and other possible causes of the accident to avoid being held accountable. However, an experienced bus accident attorney can gather evidence to show that a defect led to the bus accident.
Negligence On The Part Of The Bus Driver
Most bus accidents happen in Nevada because of the carelessness on the part of the bus driver. Bus drivers routinely make serious errors that risk passengers and other motorists. Some of the most common forms of negligence on the part of the driver that can cause a fatal accident include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, medications, or other drugs
- Distracted driving
- Speeding, tailgating, merging without looking, and other common driving errors
- Driving while fatigued — This causes impairments similar to low-level alcohol intoxication.
- Reckless driving, aggressive driving, or running red lights and stop signs
There is no doubt that drunk driving is dangerous and irresponsible conduct. Unfortunately, driving while intoxicated is a common habit in Nevada. Drivers operate buses with high alcohol levels in their systems, causing fatal accidents despite efforts to discourage drunk driving.
Consuming alcohol or drugs impairs the ability of a driver to make the proper judgment on the road, which increases the probability of an accident. A driver's behavior at the scene of an accident could prove that he/she was drunk driving. Usually, traffic police officers administer breathalyzer tests at the accident scene if they suspect a driver is under the influence.
Using a mobile phone while driving is also a leading cause of bus accidents in Nevada. Any object or behavior that takes the driver's attention away from the road can lead to a fatal accident. According to the Zero Fatalities Program in Nevada, more than half of fatal distracted driving accidents are single-vehicle accidents. When a bus hits a cyclist or a pedestrian, it is often because of the driver's distraction rather than any other reason.
It can be challenging for a driver driving at high speed to control the bus effectively, especially in an emergency. The driver needs ample distance and time to stop or slow down when he/she recognizes a hazard. As a result, speeding is a major contributing factor to fatal accidents involving buses, cyclists, and pedestrians. Speeding accounts for more than one-third of all traffic fatalities in Nevada.
According to Nevada law, reckless driving involves a willful disregard for people’s safety or property. It is a deliberate way of driving, which exposes other road users to danger. Reckless driving could constitute running traffic signals, tailgating, passing dangerously, and speeding.
Aggressive driving involves committing several reckless acts while driving. It is a significant factor in Nevada bus accidents, playing a role in fatal highway collisions each year and road rage.
Negligence On The Part Of Another Driver
The bus driver's carelessness is not the only cause of accidents in Nevada. In other situations, the driver of another vehicle could be the one who causes the accident. The negligence of another driver can leave the bus driver with no option to avoid a collision, leading to a crash with the bus. You can file a claim against the motorist for your accident-related losses if the driver of another vehicle was at fault in the bus accident and you suffered an injury.
Negligence On The Part Of The Bus Company
In bus accident claims, proving fault is a complicated issue. It is also essential to assess the bus company's liability, even when the driver is principally liable for causing the accident. Typically, bus companies are responsible for the negligence of their drivers. However, the company could also be accountable if its negligence played a significant role in the bus accident. The law allows victims to pursue claims against a bus company for:
- Adequate policies or enforcement of policies regarding distracted driving, substance abuse, and other dangers
- Allowing or forcing drivers to spend too many hours behind the wheel
- Failing to provide adequate driver training
- Failing to adequately check the driver's background and confirm if the driver has sound qualifications
- Failing to perform necessary maintenance and repairs on buses
Drugs and alcohol are not the only causes of impaired driving. One of the most common forms of human error that causes bus accidents is driver fatigue. Sleepy drivers are impaired in a way that mimics drunkenness. Fatigue could make a bus driver have a slow reaction time, foggy thinking, and diminished physical coordination.
Long-distance bus drivers are most likely to experience fatigue because of lack of sleep, making them drive while drowsy. A bus driver suffering from fatigue is likely to lose control of the bus and crash onto barriers on the road, pedestrians, or other vehicles. Driving a bus needs extra skill, and fatigue can cause the driver to make quick moves like unconscious acceleration or swerving off the road.
There are different ways that your bus accident attorney can prove these and other forms of negligence from a bus company. When you seek the services of a bus accident attorney, the attorney will examine all possible causes and then work to collect the evidence required to prove your right to compensation.
Because Nevada is a tourist destination, most bus accidents involve out-of-state drivers unfamiliar with Nevada's traffic patterns. A driver can easily get into a rear-end accident or hit a pedestrian or a cyclist while looking at a map, a GPS app, or other directions. Your injury claim could get complicated if a bus driver who lives outside Nevada hits you. However, the law still allows you to seek compensation from the negligent driver.
Bus drivers who ignore slowing down in icy/rainy conditions, sandstorms, fog, or other adverse weather can be held responsible if they cause an accident. A careless bus driver who causes an accident because of failing to observe appropriate caution in inclement weather could be liable for property damage, injuries, and other losses the driver causes.
Failure To Yield The Right Way
A common cause of intersection bus accidents is failure to yield. Every year, tens of thousands of bus accidents happen because of failing to stop or slow down to allow another driver with the right-of-way to proceed. Most drivers do not yield because they are impaired, distracted, inattentive, or because they misjudge how fast another vehicle will pass through an intersection or make a turn. Buses are enormous vehicles, and if other drivers do not yield a right of way for them, it could have serious repercussions. You should seek compensation if you have suffered injuries in a bus accident caused by failing to yield the right way.
Inexperienced Or Teen Drivers
A bus driver gains driving skills through experience. Unfortunately, most teen bus drivers cause fatal bus accidents yearly because of immaturity and lack of experience in driving. Unlike older drivers, teen drivers are likely to fail to recognize dangerous circumstances and make wrong judgments that can lead to fatal accidents. Similarly, unlike older drivers, teenagers are more likely to engage in distracted driving and other risky conduct like drowsy driving, aggressive driving, drinking and driving, and speeding.
Poor Road Conditions
Most bus accidents have a clear cause. However, an accident could happen without a clear cause in other cases. For example, no matter how careful a bus driver is, poor road conditions could cause an accident. A driver could veer off the road while trying to avoid potholes. Most roads in Nevada have been designed to withstand heavy traffic. Unfortunately, despite the engineer’s best predictions, conditions could change. A poorly maintained or poorly constructed road could be a risk factor for bus accidents.
A road that is in poor condition could lead to more than a bumpy ride. At times, minor misconstructions can get worse and be disastrous. Road conditions contributing significantly to collisions include uneven surfaces, broken concrete, road cracks, and potholes. For example, when a bus hits a huge pothole, it could cause a tire to burst, making the driver lose control of the bus.
Bus accidents caused by poor road conditions often lead to severe and life-threatening injuries. After your involvement in a bus accident caused by poor road conditions, you could consider calling the traffic officers to assess the accident. Often, government entities shoulder the liability of maintaining good roads. Therefore, you could file a lawsuit against the government entities responsible for repairing and maintaining the roads.
Determining Who Is At Fault In A Bus Accident
A bus accident is more likely to cause a high number of fatalities or injuries because of the size of the bus and the number of passengers a bus carries. Bus companies have a duty of care to passengers and other road users. This includes:
- Monitoring and correcting any safety issues to reduce the risk of accidents
- Ensuring entries and exits are safe for all passengers
- Ensuring that buses are properly maintained. This includes engines, motors, and all mechanical parts on the bus
- Providing an adequate and reliable level of security for passengers
- Hiring qualified drivers to operate the buses
When a bus accident happens, people are often quick to point fingers at the bus company or the bus driver. However, these parties could be innocent. The process of ascertaining the party at fault in a bus accident is always complex. Some of the parties that could be responsible for a bus accident include:
The driver of another vehicle could be held responsible for a bus accident if he/she cuts off a bus, crashes into the bus, or causes an accident. In this case, filing a lawsuit solely against a third-party driver is challenging. If you are involved in a bus accident caused by another driver, an experienced bus accident attorney will assist in gathering all the information you need for your lawsuit.
The bus driver can be held liable for the accident, which directly results from driver negligence or error. This could include engaging in traffic violations, suffering from driver fatigue while in control of the bus, driving while intoxicated, and being distracted.
If a bus accident involves a vehicle owned by the state or county government agency, the agency can be liable for the accident. Generally, if RTC Transit buses or County School District buses are involved, the cases are more complicated and have a shorter statute of limitation. You will need an experienced attorney to help you file a lawsuit against the government.
A transit company could be responsible for the bus accident if they failed to maintain their buses properly and an accident occurred. Bus maintenance is more than just ensuring the brakes and components of the bus are in good condition. Drivers need to be adequately trained as well.
Injuries You Could Suffer In A Bus Accident
The following are the injuries you could suffer in a bus accident:
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
The injuries will vary depending on several conditions, including the type and impact of the collision. For example, bus occupants will suffer extensive injuries if a bus is involved in an accident at high speed. The injuries you sustain in a head-on collision differ from those suffered in a rollover bus accident.
Steps To Take After A Bus Accident
Once you get into a tour bus, public transport, or school bus, you entrust your safety to the bus operator or driver. If the driver fails to follow the required safety standards or the bus is poorly maintained, you could have a fatal crash followed by a complicated claim process. You will likely suffer severe injuries after your involvement in a bus accident. After a bus accident, some of the steps you could take to increase your chances of recovering compensation include:
Call The Police
It is essential to let the police know after you are involved in a bus accident. If you cannot do so, you can request someone else to call on your behalf. The police report could assist you when you file a claim.
Seek Medication Immediately
Medication should be your priority after involvement in a bus accident. It is essential to seek medical attention even if you believe that your injuries are minor. Some injuries are not detected immediately after an accident because of the initial shock of the accident. You will need to call the emergency medical provider if the bus staff cannot do so. The most severe injuries are often unseen. Bus accidents often lead to the following injuries depending on the cause and the severity of the accident:
- Back and spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts and lacerations
- Whiplash injuries
The injuries could be life-changing, you will not only incur substantial medical costs but also be required to spend a significant amount of time in the hospital recovering. Seeking medical treatment after a bus accident not only provides a key piece of evidence in your claim but also ensures early detection and treatment of your injuries. You must provide your medical report when you file a compensation claim. A medical report indicates that your injuries resulted from the bus accident. You cannot receive compensation for an injury or illness before the accident.
Gather Necessary Information At The Scene Of The Accident
You can note the contact information of other passengers and witnesses if you are not seriously injured. Similarly, you will require the driver's information. You should tell the police what happened without speculating or exaggerating the details.
Take Photos Of The Accident Scene
It is essential to take photos of the accident scene. Videos or pictures offer a solid piece of proof, which is hard to contest, unlike oral testimony. Obtaining evidence from a police report can be hard, even if the police take photos. Therefore, it is wise to take photos to give to your attorney.
Call Your Attorney
Seeking the services of a personal injury attorney could make a difference between recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries and struggling with your claim. Bus accidents involve filing a lawsuit against both public and private entities. There is also a statute of limitations within which you must file a lawsuit, and failure to do so could lead to a denial of your claim. Legal matters can be confusing, especially if you have never filed a claim. Therefore, you need to seek the services of a competent attorney who will walk with you. An attorney has probably helped numerous victims to seek compensation for injuries sustained in a bus accident. Your attorney will employ the right strategies to maximize your compensation.
Avoid admitting fault or even apologizing to other parties involved in the accident. The only people you need to talk to after the accident before you call your attorney are the police officers. The insurance company could try to contact you after the accident. Always remember that the insurance company does not have your interests at heart. They use adjusters to demean your condition and offer you compensation you do not deserve. You should not talk to insurance adjusters before you reach out to your attorney. Insurance adjusters are often charged with evaluating the information you give concerning the bus accident to:
- Negotiate the settlement
- Determine the responsible party in the accident
- Advise the insurance company on the compensation you should receive
Damages You Could Recover In a Bus Accident
You can recover the following damages from a bus accident claim:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death
Find a Car Accident Attorney Near Me
Suffering injuries in a bus accident is one of the worst experiences you can have. It is even worse to battle a personal injury case with the hope of receiving compensation for your injuries. You will need substantial evidence to support your claim and recover compensation. Therefore, you need the assistance of an attorney to gather and preserve the necessary evidence. At the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we will help you identify the liable parties and ensure you receive fair compensation. Call us at 702-576-0010 and talk to one of our attorneys.