Bus Accident Attorneys in Chicago
All around the country, and especially in the Chicagoland area, people use buses as a way of transportation to work, to the store, or for a long-distance trip. According to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the CTA is the nation’s second largest public transportation system. It operates 24 hours per day and about 1.6 million rides are taken on CTA on an average weekday, 826,322 of those people using buses.
This is an incredible amount of people being served by CTA and trusting them to safely and efficiently bring them from starting point to destination. Unfortunately, many bus accidents still occur here and all over the nation. Even more frightening, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were about 109 fatalities (some children) involving a crash with a school bus in 2014, which is the most of any bus type. Bus accidents can do some real, serious damage given the amount of people being transported, and you deserve to feel safe, secure, and assured that you won’t also be forced to carry a financial burden in the aftermath in the event of an accident.
At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured from a bus accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Causes of Bus Accidents
There are many causes of bus accidents, but there are some that are generally the most common from past events. If one of the following causes was the reason for a bus accident in which you were involved, contact us today for a free consultation:
- Alcohol or drug violations – If a bus driver is under the influence of alcohol or some type of drug, then they pose a serious threat to everyone on the road, each passenger, and themselves.
- Road rage or aggression – Aggressive driving can cause a situation to escalate to dangerous levels. Especially when other people are dependent on a safe bus ride, a bus driver with road rage can frighten passengers and ultimately, cause an accident.
- Speeding – Bus drivers, especially common carrier drivers (discussed below), are obligated to follow the rules of the road and obey traffic signs and laws. Speeding violates the law and puts other people inside and outside of the vehicle at risk.
- Bus driver fatigue – According to SleepFoundation.org, drowsy driving can have similar effects on your body as driving drunk with a blood alcohol level of about .05-.10. Bus drivers should be well rested so that they can efficiently and safely operate the vehicle.
- Driver error – Sometimes, bus drivers make careless mistakes, such as failing to signal or missing traffic signs. This could be a case of negligence.
- Distracted driving – This type of driving can mean that a bus driver is texting, calling, or otherwise multitasking while operating the bus. Failure to pay attention for even a couple of seconds can result in a severe accident.
- Faulty equipment – If a bus has not been properly maintained or inspected and it results in an accident, then we will find the liable party for the manufacturing or design defect that cause you injury.
- Unruly passengers – Bus drivers are obligated to maintain order onboard, and with this comes the responsibility of warning and subsequently removing passengers causing trouble for others. Failure to remove the passenger could distract the driver and cause an accident.
- Violation of hours of service requirements – Bus drivers have required rules for the hours that they work and the hours that they must rest. Drivers who falsify these reported hours pose a risk to anyone in the bus and on the road and can be sued for ensuing damages.
The Common Carrier Law
Many buses are considered “common carriers” under Illinois statutes. The Common Carrier Liability Act (740 ILCD 25/) imposes the highest duty of care and safety for passengers in vehicles deemed to be common carriers. The statute defines a common carrier as, “a business that transports people, good, or services and offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body.” This includes the CTA, Metra, Greyhound, and more public transportation companies.
The standards and expectations for common carriers are very high, in terms of safety and caution in its employees’ duty as well as the equipment maintenance. If these standards are not completely met in some way (causing an accident), and especially if passengers are left injured or deceased, they would be violating the common carrier law and could be found liable for negligence.
So, if you are involved in a public bus accident due to the bus driver’s negligence, it may be considered likely that you will have a valid case where you can be compensated for the pain and damages that you experienced. Many successful lawsuits against common carriers are typically due to negligence or intentional acts that injure passengers.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Bus accidents can cause severe physical injuries such as broken bones, bruising, sprains, lacerations, concussions, whiplash, disfigurement, disability, or even death. The medical costs accompanying these injuries can amount to a hefty sum. With a successful claim, you can recover these costs and other damages that you endured from this accident. Some damages that you can recover after a bus accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Future loss of earnings
If you or a loved one has been injured from a bus accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
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