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Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

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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 which case it may make sense to contact a Chicago bus accident lawyer. These injuries can be severe because many riders do not wear bus seat belts.

Were you or a loved one injured in an accident? Speaking with a Chicago bus accident lawyer to seek compensation for damages is essential. The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are committed to securing fair compensation for riders and motorists injured in truck accidents, bus accidents, and other collisions.

Call our bus accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All information you share with our Chicago bus accident lawyers remains private through a lawyer-client relationship.

Chicago bus accident attorneys

Illinois Bus Accident Crash Statistics

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), 4,468 reported bus accidents 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 accidents, with 254 injuries and two fatalities (involving school buses) in 2018.

Bus Accident Liability Laws

Under the law, [1] bus companies must exercise reasonable care for the safety of each bus passenger 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, such as the bus manufacturer.

Chicago bus accident lawyers

Holding the Bus Driver Accountable in Accidents

Data reveals that most Illinois bus collisions result from driver negligence or distracted driving. Bus drivers should exercise the highest degree of care for their passengers. Addressing driver negligence, driver fatigue [2], or reckless conduct can contain many school bus accidents caused by negligent drivers.

More bus accidents result from negligent driving than any other cause. Drunk drivers, driver texting, and driver fatigue are leading factors in most car accidents involving buses.

The vehicle parts manufacturer may also be held accountable for design defects, including faulty brakes, steering systems, wheel alignment issues, and defective tires.

Bus Passengers

The passengers [3] and other drivers may not always be aware of the dangers that buses can pose on the roadways. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need an experienced Chicago bus accident lawyer.

Common Personal Injuries From Bus Accidents

Many types of injuries can occur as a result of a bus accident.

  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Fractures
  • Broken bones
  • Road rash, bruising, and lacerations
  • Internal bleeding/punctures

Common Causes of Chicago Bus Accidents

Below are some frequent causes of crashes that our lawyers see in matters involving bodily injuries or wrongful death:

Driver Error

School bus drivers’ actions cause many accidents harming children. Whether the school bus 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 transportation 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 can make an illegal turn or brake in front of the coach, causing the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus [4] to swerve or hit another vehicle.

Road Conditions

Local or state governments are responsible for maintaining the roads. 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.

Poor Weather Conditions

Sometimes, buses are either trying to keep to a schedule or must operate when the weather conditions are difficult.

Different Types of Bus Accidents Arising on Roadways

Each bus crash may have different legal ramifications depending on the accident type:

  • School Bus Accidents: Children can be hurt on 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 yearly in CTA bus wrecks 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 to operate tour buses.
  • Intercity Bus Crashes: Sometimes, the large intercity 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 speeds, motor vehicle accident victims experience critical injuries, like traumatic brain injuries [5], broken bones, and fatalities due to negligent bus drivers.

When these buses are involved in accidents traveling at high rates of speed on highways, motor vehicle accident victims experience critical injuries, like traumatic brain injuries [6], broken bones, and fatalities due to negligent drivers.

Chicago bus accident attorney

Bus Accident Lawyer FAQs

Our bus accident attorneys understand that many families have unanswered questions regarding the rights of an injured party. A Chicago bus accident attorney has answered many common questions below.

Call Chicago personal injury lawyers 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, 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 notified 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 hurt in CTA bus accidents will likely recover the same compensation for their severe injuries.

How do I prove the bus driver and public transportation/private bus 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/).[7]

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 commercial and school buses well-maintained and ensuring that they are in good condition before they go on the road and transport 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 catastrophic 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 seriously injured in an accident. When you or a loved one have suffered severe injuries, a personal injury attorney can often provide legal representation and 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 company coverage. They can hire experts to help reconstruct the scene of the accident.

The bus accident lawyer can also locate witnesses to testify about the driver’s actions or bus company liability.

If you can gather any evidence of the accident, preserve it and present it to the experienced bus accident lawyer so 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
  • Accident reports and motor vehicle accident scene re-creation 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. When a crash has resulted in a fatality, the deceased’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act[10].

How long do you have to hire a 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[11], their employer, or others involved in the crash could forfeit all rights to seek fair compensation.

Hiring a qualified, experienced bus accident attorney 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 life-threatening 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 to maximum compensation?

Injured bus accident victims have the right to receive compensation for any injuries or harm they have sustained due to someone else’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[12] that the victim has suffered. To receive compensation for your injuries, you must be able to prove that negligent parties were responsible for causing the accident involving damages. Determining fault is crucial to resolving a personal injury case.

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.

Chicago bus accident lawyer | Holding the Transportation Company Accountable

The Chicago bus accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, represent bus accident victims injured 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 bus accident lawyer who can handle the multiple issues that will arise.

Free Case Evaluation

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 case evaluation with a 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.

Resources: [1], [2] CDC, [3] NHTSA, [4] CTA, [5] CDC, [6] CDC, [7] Ilga, [8] , [9], [10], [11] FMCSA, [12] UNFCC

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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