Bus Accident Lawyer
Every day, people in Chicago ride buses to get to work, school, or other destinations. While the vast majority of these trips are safe, passengers can be injured in bus accidents.
These injuries can be very serious because many riders do not wear seat belts while riding on buses. Were you or a loved one injured in an accident? It is important to speak with an experienced bus accident lawyer right away.
The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are committed to securing the most favorable compensation for riders and other motorists injured in truck accidents, bus accidents, and other motor vehicle collisions.
Call our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Hiring an Experienced Law Firm to Represent You in an Injuries Claim Against a Bus Company
The Chicago accident attorneys at our legal office are committed to helping you recover the maximum compensation possible for your injuries under the law.
Our law firm is proud to receive many referrals from former clients and other attorneys who recognize our commitment to achieving superior results for each case while maintaining the highest level of ethics.
We are equally proud of the recognition we have received from the legal community. Some of the following organizations have recognized our bus accident legal team: Million Dollar Advocates Forum, American Academy of Jurisprudence, American Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys, Super Lawyers, as well as the 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Chicago, IL.
Illinois Bus Accident Crash Statistics
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), there were 4,468 reported bus crashes on roads and highways in 2018 (most recent year of data), with 853 reported injuries and eight fatalities.
Illinois differentiates accidents involving a bus for schools due to the heightened risk of children getting seriously injured in these crashes. The state reported 1,586 bus accidents with 254 injuries and two fatalities (involving school buses) in 2018.
Data from NHTSA reveals that there were 1,239 fatal crash victims in buses (including transit CTA buses) nationwide in 2018.
Bus Accident Liability Laws
Under the law, bus companies are required to exercise reasonable care for the safety of all riders and other motorists while under their control. Similarly, bus 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 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 manufacturer of a bus or the vehicle parts may be held accountable for the design and/or manufacturing defects.
Holding the Bus Driver Accountable in Accidents
Data reveals that most bus accidents result from bus driver negligence or distraction.
Bus drivers are required to exercise the highest degree of care for their passengers, but many bus accidents are caused by driver negligence or reckless driver conduct.
Negligent driving is one of the top causes of bus accidents, with drunk drivers and the driver texting behind the wheel being some of the leading factors in most car accidents involving buses.
Bus companies are also responsible for investigating all accidents to determine whether or not their driver or other motorists are at fault.
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.
Common Causes of Chicago Bus Accidents
Below are some frequent causes of crashes that our Chicago bus accident attorneys see in matters involving bodily injuries or wrongful death.
- Driver Error - The actions of the driver cause many bus accidents. Whether the bus driver is inexperienced or simply 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 are supposed to have special training that qualifies them to operate the vehicle safely.
- The public transit agency that employs the driver is responsible for the actions of the driver behind the wheel as the driver is an agent of their employer.
- Another Driver on the Road -Buses are large vehicles, and they need the room to brake properly. 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 bus, causing the 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 bus or car accident. While the government is only liable for these conditions in limited circumstances, they may still be held responsible for an accident that occurs 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, which can create dangerous conditions for buses if the driver insists on not canceling the bus route or trip.
Different Types of Bus Accidents Arising on Roadways
There are many different ways that a passenger would end up traveling on a bus. Each of these bus accidents may have different legal ramifications depending on the type of accident that occurs.
Here are several different types of accidents that can lead to lawsuits by a passenger or motorist against the company or bus driver:
- School Bus Accidents - Children can be hurt in a bus crash due to the negligent actions of the driver. The bus driver can either be a school district employee or a driver for a third-party transportation services company that the school district contracts with to provide bus services.
- City Bus Accidents - 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 fractured extremities. In some 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 companies fail to follow the rules and properly hire and train drivers strictly. Tour buses may overturn, or distracted drivers may strike pedestrians walking nearby.
- Intercity Bus Accidents - Sometimes, the large buses that travel between cities are poorly maintained or do not have properly trained drivers. This commonly involves Greyhound and Mega buses. When these buses are involved in accidents traveling at high rates of speed on highways, people end up with critical injuries and even fatalities.
Why Buses are More Dangerous Than Other Vehicles
A bus accident may cause worse injuries than if one was involved in a car accident. There are numerous reasons why buses are more dangerous than cars to other drivers on the road as well as pedestrians.
Here are some of the reasons that are associated with claims for injuries:
- Buses are larger, and therefore, take more time to come to a stop than passenger cars.
- The extra weight of the bus leads to greater injuries since there is a more forceful collision.
- Buses do not always afford the driver the best vantage point to see the road and pedestrians. Drivers often have difficulty seeing into their blind spots. This is often an even bigger danger when it comes to pedestrians because the bus is in a much higher position.
- Drivers are not always properly trained for their job duties or given the best supervision.
- Some buses on the road may be old and, as a result, they are not outfitted with the latest safety equipment.
- For those on the bus, design and weight distribution issues can cause the bus to roll over, increasing the risk of severe damage.
Illinois Bus Accident Law FAQs
Here are some common questions that many people ask about Chicago bus accident lawsuits.
Can I Sue the Bus Company?
Yes, you can sue the companies as well as the bus driver.
When you have been injured in bus accidents, your focus is on getting the highest amount of compensation that you can. While the jury may award you money, you want to be sure that the defendant has the ability to pay the verdict or settlement.
So long as the bus driver was acting within the scope of their employment, they are considered to be an agent of their employer. This means that the company (their employer) is liable for their actions because the driver is their representative.
The Common Carrier Doctrine means that the owner would be liable even for actions that are outside the driver's scope of employment.
As the plaintiff, this has several different advantages that will help your position.
First, and most important, is that the corporate defendant will have deeper pockets than the driver of the bus. The driver is a salaried employee and likely would not have the assets to pay millions of dollars, so a verdict against them would not help you much.
Injured victims file government entity civil lawsuits against the Chicago Transit Authority dozens of times each year. The CTA has money to fund a lawsuit settlement as the cost of doing business. Many of those on the bus design of the bus injury settlements in Illinois are with the CTA. The bus owner will likely have an insurance company or a fund available to settle the claim.
The deeper pockets may lead to larger settlements for plaintiffs in bus crash claims. The defendants in an injury case of this type are used to being sued, so they will attempt to settle the case when the facts are not in their favor.
Can I Sue the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for Injuries in a Bus Crash?
Yes. With a few small differences, both defendants are able to be sued just the same.
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 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 claim before filing it.
This notice must include certain basic information, including a brief description of what happened in the accident. In order to determine how the law applies to your situation, you should consult with a Chicago bus accident lawyer.
Both of these procedural requirements are strictly followed by a court, and care must be taken to comply with them. In both instances, you will likely be able to recover the same types of compensation for your injuries.
How Do I Prove That the Bus Driver and 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.
A bus companies' standard of care is slightly different from the average driver on the road.
A bus company is a common carrier, and each state has its own standards for the duty of care that a common carrier must uphold.
In general, common carrier law's duty includes measures that must be taken to ensure that the passengers are safe on the bus.
In Illinois, the relevant law is the Common Carrier Liability Act (740 ILCS 25/). This imposes the highest safety standards on the driver of the bus. In some cases, this 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 transportation services companies include:
- Bus drivers paying attention at all times and the driver not texting while operating the bus
- Ensuring that bus passengers are kept safe from the actions of other passengers on the bus
- Following and obeying all traffic laws while operating the bus
- 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 repair before it goes on the road and transports passengers.
If the driver has breached their duty of care and that breach is responsible for your trauma. In that case, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation from either the bus owner or the governmental entity responsible for the bus.
How Do I Prove a Chicago Bus Accident Claim Involving Serious Injuries or a Fatality?
You must document and present evidence that the driver was negligent.
There are various steps you should take after being injured in a Chicago bus accident. To the extent that you are able to document the scene of the accident, you should try to do so. However, it is not always easy to take pictures and speak with witnesses when you have been seriously injured in an accident.
When you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries, many times it is an accident attorney who can help document and investigate the accident. They can hire experts to help reconstruct the scene of the accident. The attorney can also work to locate the witnesses that can testify about the actions of the driver.
If you are able to gather any evidence of the accident, make sure to preserve it and present it to the bus accident attorney so that they can use it when your claim or lawsuit is filed. The following things may be helpful in proving a bus crash claim:
- Pictures of the scene of the accident
- Testimony of people who witnessed the accident
- Medical records that document your trauma so that damages and causation can be proven
- A recreation of the accident scene by an expert
- Pictures of the damage to both the bus and your vehicle
- Toxicology tests on the driver of the bus
How Much Can I Recover in an Illinois Bus Accident Lawsuit?
Illinois law recognizes both economic and non-economic damage in serious accidents. These frequently comprise medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, hospital bills, surgical bills, and 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. This will also compensate you for lost income, both in the past and future.
Non-economic damages generally pay you back for injuries that you have suffered. This includes 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 family of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act.
As you can see from the above examples, the damages can be extremely high when someone is killed or seriously injured in a bus accident.
An attorney may be necessary to properly value your claim when settling the case or seeking damages in court. This will be your only chance to recover from the injuries you have suffered, so you need to make sure that you receive top dollar for your damages and injuries.
Note that some jurisdictions may have statutes that exempt a public transit administration from punitive damages. This is because they are a part of a governmental entity. This will limit jury awards to only compensatory damages.
What is the Statute of Limitations for an Illinois Bus Accident Involving Personal Injuries?
It depends on whether you are filing a lawsuit against the government or a private entity.
When suing a private for-profit entity, you are subject to the general bodily injuries statute of limitations. In Illinois, this is two years from when you were injured or should have known of your injuries.
However, if you are filing a lawsuit against a governmental entity for accidents on a school bus or a CTA bus, the statute of limitations is cut to a year.
In addition, some entities have a notice requirement that requires you to provide information about your bus accident and injuries prior to the commencement of a formal lawsuit.
That is why the help of a Chicago, IL, accident lawyer is vital to help prepare the strongest claim in the time that you have. Contact us for a free consultation immediately.
Get Legal Help Now With an Experienced Chicago Bus Accident Lawyer
The Chicago bus accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Law Firm can represent anyone who has been injured in a bus accident in Illinois, whether they were passengers on the bus, pedestrians, or in another vehicle that was involved in the collision.
Bus accident claims are sometimes difficult 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 personal injury lawyer on your side with the ability to handle the multiple issues that will arise. We will fight for you to get the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. As always, we offer a free consultation for a serious bus accident case.
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 accidents lawyer. As with all of our injury claims, we handle your bus accident case on a contingency fee basis, where we only receive a legal fee when our clients receive compensation.
All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Our law firm provides legal services in various practice areas throughout Illinois, including in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, and others.