People in Chicago ride private and public buses daily to work, school, or other destinations. While most of these trips are safe, passengers can sustain injuries in bus accidents. These injuries can be severe because many riders do not wear seat belts while riding on buses. Were you or a loved one injured in an accident? Speaking with a Chicago bus accident lawyer to seek compensation for medical expenses is essential. The personal injury attorneys
at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are committed to securing the most favorable compensation for riders and motorists injured in truck accidents, bus accidents, and other motor vehicle collisions. Call our bus accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our Chicago bus accident lawyers remains private through a lawyer-client relationship.
Illinois Bus Accident Crash Statistics
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), 4,468 reported bus crashes on roads and highways were reported in 2018 (the most recent year of data), with 853 reported injuries and eight fatalities. Illinois differentiates bus accidents involving schools due to the heightened risk of children getting injured in these crashes
. The state reported 1,586 bus crashes with 254 injuries and two fatalities (involving school buses) in 2018. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals 1,239 fatal accident victims in buses, including Chicago Transit Authority (CTA buses), nationwide in 2018.
Bus Accident Liability Laws Under the law
, bus companies must exercise reasonable care for the safety of all riders and other motorists. Similarly, drivers must obey traffic laws related to driving safely, and the driver is not to use alcohol or drugs before starting their shift. In addition to bus companies and drivers being held liable for injuries, negligent third parties who have contributed to a crash may also be responsible for car accident damages. In some cases, the bus manufacturer may be held accountable for the design and manufacturing defects.
Holding the Bus Driver Accountable in Accidents
Data reveals that most Illinois bus crashes result from driver negligence or distraction. Bus drivers should exercise the highest degree of care for their passengers. Addressing driver negligence, driver fatigue
, or reckless conduct can contain many school bus accidents caused by drivers. Negligent driving is one of the top causes of CTA bus accidents, with drunk drivers, driver texting, and driver fatigue being some of the leading factors in most car accidents involving buses. The relevant government agencies, such as the police, investigate all accidents. Their job is determining fault and holding the driver responsible for the crash accountable. The vehicle parts manufacturer may also be held accountable in instances where there were design defects, including faulty brakes, steering systems, wheel alignment issues, and defective tires
and other drivers may not always be aware of the dangers that buses can pose on the roadways. A bus stop may seem safe, but bus accidents occur nearly everywhere. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need an experienced Chicago bus accident lawyer.
Common Causes of Chicago Bus Accidents
Below are some frequent causes of crashes that our Chicago bus accident lawyers see in matters involving bodily injuries or wrongful death:
- Driver Error: The drivers' actions cause many school bus accidents. Whether the driver is inexperienced or makes a critical error, they are often responsible for the accident. While driving a large bus is not always easy, especially on city streets, drivers should have special training that qualifies them to operate the vehicle safely.
The public transit agency that employs the driver is responsible
for the driver's actions behind the wheel as the driver is an agent of their employer.
- Another Driver on the Road: Buses are large vehicles that need room to brake appropriately. In addition, they need space on the road to operate. Another driver on the road can make an illegal turn or suddenly brake in front of the coach, causing the CTA bus to swerve or hit another vehicle.
- Road Conditions: Local or state governments are responsible for maintaining the roads. However, they may fail to fix potholes or other dangerous conditions that can cause a coach or car crash. While the government is only liable for these conditions in limited circumstances, they may still be held responsible when bus accidents occur on a dangerous road because they have failed to maintain the surface properly.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Sometimes, buses are either trying to keep to a schedule or must operate when the weather conditions are difficult. Chicago winters are snowy and windy, creating dangerous situations for buses.
Different Types of Bus Accidents Arising on Roadways
There are many ways a bus passenger would end up traveling on a bus. Each bus crash may have different legal ramifications depending on the accident type. Several different types of accidents can lead to lawsuits by a passenger or motorist against the bus company or bus driver, including:
- School Bus Accidents: Children can be hurt on school buses due to the driver's negligent actions. The driver can either be a school district employee or a driver for a third-party bus company that the school contracts to provide bus services.
- City Bus Crashes: Many commuters are hurt each year in Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus crashes when riding on vehicles owned by a public transportation authority. These injuries can range from neck and back damage to something more serious such as broken bones and spinal cord injuries. In many bus accident cases, drivers of other vehicles or pedestrians are killed when they are struck by buses.
- Tour Bus Accidents: While the charter bus industry is regulated, some transit authorities fail to follow the rules and properly hire and train drivers. Tour buses may overturn, or negligent bus drivers may strike pedestrians nearby when distracted.
- Intercity Bus Crashes: Sometimes, the large buses that travel between cities are poorly maintained or do not have properly trained drivers. It commonly involves Greyhound and Mega buses. When these buses are involved in accidents traveling at high rates of speed on highways, bus accident victims experience critical injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and fatalities due to negligent drivers.
Illinois Bus Accident Law FAQs
Our bus accident attorneys understand that many families have unanswered questions regarding the rights of an injured party in an accident involving transit buses. A bus accident lawyer has answered many of the common questions about Chicago bus accident lawsuits below. Call a personal injury lawyer from our law office toll-free at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation to determine your legal rights.
Can I sue the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for injuries in a bus crash?
Yes. Both defendants can be sued similarly, with a few slight differences. Many of the possible defendants in a bus lawsuit are governmental agencies. For example, the CTA is an independent governmental agency. While the federal government cannot be sued, state and city governments can be sued. These agencies have the same liability as private for-profit defendants. While there are damage caps in state tort claims, these do not apply if the auto accident was caused by a state-owned vehicle. There are only minor differences in claims against private and governmental entities. One difference is that the statute of limitations
in a lawsuit against the government is shortened to a year. Another difference is that the governmental entity must be given notice of the bus accident claim before filing it. The notice must include certain basic information, including a brief description of what happened in the mass transit accident. You should consult a CTA bus accident attorney to determine how the Illinois state law applies to your situation. A court follows both procedural requirements, and care must be taken to comply. In both instances, the injured victims will likely recover the same compensation for their severe injuries.
How do I prove the bus driver and private/public transportation company were at fault for the accidents?
You must show that the driver breached their duty of care in the circumstances that caused the damage. Common carriers' standard of care is slightly different from the average driver on the road. A bus company is a common carrier, and each state has standards for the duty of care that a common carrier must uphold. Common carrier law's general duty includes ensuring passengers are safe on the bus. In Illinois, the relevant law is the Common Carrier Liability Act (740 ILCS 25/
). This law imposes the highest safety standards on the driver of the bus. In some bus accident cases, it is even higher than that imposed on the driver of a car on the road. Some of the duties that are imposed on common carriers and public transportation services companies include:
- Bus drivers paying attention at all times, and the driver not texting while operating the bus
- Ensuring that passengers are kept safe from the actions of other passengers on the bus
- Following and obeying all traffic laws while driving the coach
- Hiring bus drivers who are qualified and properly training them to perform their duties
- Keeping the buses well-maintained and ensuring that the bus is in good condition before it goes on the road and transports passengers.
If the driver has breached their duty of care, that breach is responsible for your trauma. In that case, you may be entitled to fair compensation from either the bus owner or the governmental entity responsible for the coach.
How do I prove a bus accident in Chicago involving serious injuries or fatalities to obtain compensation?
You must document and present evidence that the driver was negligent. You should take various steps after being injured in a bus crash. To the extent that you can document the accident scene, you should try to do so. However, taking pictures and speaking with witnesses is not always easy when you have been seriously injured in an accident. When you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries, many times, it is a personal injury attorney who can provide legal representation, help document and investigate the accident. A lawyer specializing in Illinois bus accidents will determine how much compensation is available by the responsible parties' insurance coverage. They can hire experts to help reconstruct the scene of the accident
. The Chicago bus accident attorney can also work to locate the witnesses that can testify about the driver's actions. If you can gather any evidence of the accident, make sure to preserve it and present it to the Chicago bus accident attorney so that they can use it when your claim or personal injury claim is filed. The following things may help prove liability for a bus crash case:
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Testimony of people who witnessed the accident
- Medical records that document your trauma so that damages and causation can be proven
- A re-creation of the accident scene by an expert
- Pictures of the damage to both the coach and your vehicle
- Toxicology tests on the driver of the coach
How much can I recover in an Illinois bus accident case?
Illinois law recognizes both economic and non-economic damage in serious car accidents. These damages could include:
- Medical bills
- Property damages
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Surgical bills
- Pain and suffering
Economic damages are meant to pay you back for the actual losses you have suffered. Generally, these are property losses or other money that has come out of your pocket, such as medical bills. Settling your bus accident case can compensate you for lost income in the past and future. Non-economic damages generally are for serious injuries from a negligent party's action, including pain and suffering and emotional distress. A spouse or partner may also be able to receive damages for loss of consortium. In a situation where a crash has resulted in a fatality, the deceased's family can file a wrongful death lawsuit under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act
How long do you have to hire a Chicago bus accident attorney after a crash?
The statute of limitations sets a reasonable time to pursue a legal claim in Illinois at two years from the accident date. Failing to file a claim or lawsuit against the bus/truck driver, their employer, or others involved in the crash could forfeit all rights to seek fair compensation
. Hiring a qualified, experienced Chicago bus accident lawyer is a significant decision that should be taken seriously. An attorney will help you understand your rights, build a strong case against the offender or defendants, and work hard to get you the best possible settlement for your injuries. Your attorney can also work hard to ensure you receive proper medical care due to your injuries. With legal representation, you can get the resources and peace of mind needed to recover from your injuries and move forward with your life.
Do bus accident victims have the right for compensation?
Yes, bus accident victims have the right to receive compensation for any injuries or harm they have sustained as a result of another's negligence. Under Illinois law, when someone suffers an injury through the fault of another person or entity, they are entitled to damages. These damages cover both economic and non-economic losses
that the victim has suffered. To receive compensation for your injuries, you must be able to prove that the other party was responsible for causing the accident involving damages. You must show that the other party breached their duty of care by engaging in negligent behaviors such as driving recklessly or failing to properly maintain the bus. To prove liability, you must be able to demonstrate that the other party failed to exercise reasonable care or breached their duty of care. Evidence might involve driver negligence, malfunctioning parts or components on the bus, improper maintenance, and hazardous road conditions.
Receive Legal Help Now from an Experienced Chicago Bus Accident Lawyer
The Chicago bus accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, represent accident victims injured in a bus accident in Illinois, whether they were passengers on the school bus, pedestrians, or in another vehicle involved in the collision. Bus accident claims are sometimes complex because there may be more than one vehicle involved, and the fact that the driver is an agent for a corporate defendant. When the lawsuit is complicated, you need a Chicago bus accident lawyer on your side with the ability to handle the multiple issues that will arise. Our law firm will fight for you to receive the financial compensation you deserve to pay medical expenses and lost income. As always, we offer a free consultation for a serious school bus accident case. Immediately contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form
to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago bus accident lawyer. As with our personal injury claims, we will handle your bus accident claim on a contingency fee basis
, where our law firm only receives a legal fee when our clients receive fair compensation.