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Determining Liability After a Bus Accident

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A long-time school bus driver recently died in an October accident. The driver, a 74-year-old man, was a long-time employee of the district. He was driving a school bus when a tree service truck crossed over the yellow lines in the middle of the road and collided with the bus head-on. The driver and a child in his vehicle had to go to the hospital for injuries. Unfortunately, this is just one example of the many school bus accidents that occur every day in the United States. 

After a school bus accident, the victims and their loved ones may have a right to recover compensation for their injuries. Under Connecticut law, when one person’s negligence or recklessness results in another person’s injuries, the victim can hold the negligent person liable. The first step in successfully recovering compensation after a bus accident is determining who was liable for the accident. 


Identifying the Cause of the Bus Accident

Every day, thousands of people ride buses in Connecticut. School children ride school buses, and commuters ride on Connecticut’s Bus Rapid Transit System (CTfastrak). This commuter bus system provides direct service to Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, and Plainville. Unfortunately, buses are involved in car accidents, just like every other vehicle on the road. 

There are devastating consequences in bus accidents due to the vehicles being heavier and larger than most others on the road. Buses often have dozens of passengers on board, and when they are involved in accidents, there are often multiple deaths or victims. After a bus accident occurs, it is essential to determine the cause. Whoever is responsible for causing the accident is typically liable to compensate the victims for their injuries. 

At the Law Office of Michael E. Skiber, we conduct thorough investigations into our clients’ car and bus accidents. We will access any witnesses to the accident, CCTV footage, and any other photo or video evidence of the accident. We will also review the police report for any details about the cause of the accident. 

When necessary, we work with accident reconstruction specialists who will shed light on the cause of the bus accident. Once we know the bus accident cause, we can pursue an insurance settlement or a lawsuit against the guilty party. Some of the people or businesses who are often liable for bus accidents include the following:

  • The bus driver
  • A passenger on the bus
  • Other motorists
  • The company who provided maintenance of the bus
  • The state agency responsible for operating the bus
  • The manufacturer of the bus
  • The manufacturer of the bus parts or bus equipment
  • The state agency responsible for maintaining the roads


Distracted Driving 

Distracted driving is a common cause of bus accidents and all other types of car accidents. When a bus driver is not focusing on the road in front of them, they can easily drift into another lane of traffic and cause a collision. Distracted bus drivers can also cause dangerous rear-end collisions. Suppose a bus driver is looking at his phone to send a text message. 

The car in front of him, a small passenger vehicle, stops abruptly to avoid running over a cat that darted into the road. The bus driver looks up, but there is not enough time for him to stop, and he slams into the small passenger vehicle. The car becomes crushed, and the passengers and driver die from their injuries. 

It can be difficult to prove some types of distracted driving. If the driver who caused the accident was simply staring out the winder, it can be hard to prove distracted. However, if the driver was texting or watching videos, your lawyer will be able to request access to the phone records to show that the driver was texting while driving. 


Dangerous Road Conditions or Construction Problems

In other cases, bus accidents are caused by dangerous road conditions. For example, the roads could contain dangerous potholes or cracks that make it impossible for the bus driver to drive safely. Suppose you were injured in an accident caused by city or local road conditions. In that case, you may have the opportunity to file a complaint against the city or municipality responsible. 

Victims can file a complaint against the Connecticut Department of Transportation, but they have a minimal time frame to file the claim. If you were involved in a Connecticut bus accident, you should discuss your case with your lawyer as soon as possible. For example, if a city bus driver was intoxicated while driving, resulting in a car accident, you may be able to file a claim with the city for damages. However, if you wait too long to file the complaint, you will lose your opportunity to do so. 


Mechanical Problems or Defects

Sometimes bus accidents result from mechanical problems or defects with the bus itself. In some cases, the bus or one of its parts will not work due to a manufacturing defect. In other cases, the bus owner failed to secure high-quality, routine maintenance for the bus. For example, a mechanic may have missed that the brakes on the bus needed to be replaced. Or, they may have negligently replaced the brake pads. As a result, the bus driver could not stop in time to avoid a dangerous rear-end collision. When a bus accident results from mechanical issues, the bus owner or the company that provided the maintenance can be held liable for their injuries. 


Contact a Bus Accident Lawyer Today

At the Law Office of Michael E. Skiber, we have successfully obtained compensation for bus accident victims throughout Connecticut. If you have suffered an injury in a bus accident, we can help. We will investigate your case and help you determine who is liable for your injuries so you can recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.