Illinois Church Van Accident Attorneys
The center of gravity of a large passenger church bus or van is much higher than most automobiles, which makes it highly susceptible to a rollover or other accident. A fully-loaded passenger van has a 300 percent higher chance of rolling over compared to a van occupied by only the driver.
In many Illinois church bus accidents, the driver never received adequate training in handling a large van full of passengers. Other times, the heavy weight and size of the vehicle caused a defective tire to blow or rupture, leading to a severe accident with injuries.
The Illinois van accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represent passengers on church buses and other vehicles operated by religious organizations. Our attorneys appreciate the hesitancy many injured passengers may feel when it comes to pursuing a claim against their spiritual group.
However, the vast majority of these accidents are covered by liability insurance policies that insulate the organization from any settlement funds coming directly from their finances. If you or a loved one was injured in a church bus or van accident on an Illinois road, we encourage you to contact our Chicago injury law firm for a free case evaluation.
Church Organized Transportation
Churches, organizations, schools, and colleges often use large passenger vans to transport large groups of individuals between locations. However, since the 1990s, there have been significant safety concerns over the reliability of a passenger church bus or van fully loaded with occupants.
Less than a decade ago, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) issued a warning on the safety hazards of large church vehicles and called for better safety regulations.
By 2010, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) changed compliance regulations requiring a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) to follow effective safety measures and meet new safety qualifications. Unfortunately, the high expense of retrofitting older vans with new safety features are beyond the budget of many churches.
As a result, many van owners have not complied with the new regulations, placing all van passengers and drivers in harm's way.
Other Causes Commonly Involved in Illinois Church Van Accidents
In addition to a high center of gravity and an increased number of church bus rollovers, most van accidents share common factors that include:
- Driver negligence
- Driving impaired because of a distraction, alcohol or drugs
- Lack of training
- Vehicle instability at any speed when fully loaded
- Transporting passengers beyond the van's weight capacity
- Tire blowouts caused by defective or poorly inflated tires
- Defective brakes
- Malfunctioning or missing safety features
Accident Liability: Who is to Blame When There is an Accident Involving a Church Van?
Even though the bus driver is required by law to wear a seat belt while operating the vehicle, the passengers have no such requirement. Many church buses and vans do not provide a seat belt for every passenger, making it impossible to remain safe inside the vehicle and secured to the seat while the vehicle is moving.
Statistics maintained by the National Transportation Safety Board show that it is much safer than not to be restrained in a seat belt any time the van is moving, with a higher rate of survival in a rollover accident. The weight and size of the church vehicle during an accident increases the passenger's chances of being injected through the window during a rollover crash when not restrained by a seatbelt.
Protect Your Rights as a Passenger or Motorists Injured by a Church Van
If you have suffered a severe injury or a loved one has died because of a church van accident, you might be able to seek compensation. A skilled attorney specializing in motor vehicle accident cases can file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf.
An experienced law firm can build a solid case for compensation against every party at fault. The lawyer might be able to prove negligence by showing:
- The owner failed to maintain the commercial vehicle or 15-passenger van by following state and federal government
- safety rules and regulations,
- The church employed unqualified drivers to operate the vehicle without commercial driver's licenses, placing the safety of the passengers at risk,
- The van was equipped with defective tires or faulty brakes, which led to the accident,
- The motorist was impaired through distraction, drugs, or alcohol.
- The driver caused serious injuries and fatal crashes by turning passenger vans into oncoming traffic traveling in the opposite direction.
In early 2019, several lives were taken near Gainesville, Florida, in a deadly Church bus accident when the passenger vehicle was headed toward Walt Disney World. Florida Highway Patrol stated that the seven people killed in the accident included children.
All religious organizations must follow roadway guidelines regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Any victim of a bus crash can seek compensation from the church's insurance company or through a claim or wrongful death lawsuit. As a plaintiff in a case, you can hold all defendants liable for your losses if the commercial vehicle was operating on church business or school travel.
Hiring an Illinois Church Van Accident Attorney
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC handles severe passenger vehicle accident cases in Illinois just like yours. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss financial compensation and provide you with legal options on how to proceed with the insurance company.
Based on the level of your injuries and the degree of required care, we can build a solid case to ensure you receive fair and adequate compensation from the owner's insurance carrier and any other third party that is also at fault for your injuries.
Call Jonathan Rosenfeld at (888) 424-5757. Under State and Federal law, you have a legal right to seek monetary compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. Our team of bus crash attorneys can investigate your claim and speak to eyewitnesses.
We will gather medical documents and review police reports to prepare for an out-of-court settlement or jury trial. Our lawyers are always mindful of taking steps to protect your church, church pastors and ministers, and your faith during negotiations. We work on all Illinois bus accident cases on contingency and require no payments from you until your compensation claim is successfully resolved.