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Legal Issues That Arise in Busing Accidents


Unlike other types of accidents there are some clear differences in cases that involve passenger and municipal buses. But these buses do get into accidents, and when they do, there may be some unique legal issues—especially for those who are passengers on the bus, who may be injured.

Yes, There are Seat Belts

One thing to remember about passenger buses is that many of them have seat belts—belts that many people don’t bother to use, even if they are good at using seat belts in their cars. But just like car accidents, the first thing Defendants will say if there is an accident, is that the victims didn’t have on or were not wearing seat belts.

Sovereign Immunity

Many buses that transport people are government buses. That may be a city bus or a school bus. But these are often government owned and operated, bringing into play sovereign immunity issues.

Sovereign immunity limits things like when you can sue a governmental agency, what they can sue for, and puts damage caps on how much someone can sue the government for. Despite these limitations, it is possible to get compensation from government actors whose negligence may have caused injury to bus passengers.

Other Drivers’ Negligence

Additionally, just being on the bus doesn’t mean that there are sovereign immunity issues; in many cases, the bus driver did nothing wrong, but rather, the accident was caused by someone other than the bus, like another driver.

This does limit the sovereign immunity problems—but it may add another problem: limitations of available insurance coverage.

If someone has, say, $100,000 in coverage, that may be enough for one injured victim—but what if you and 10 other people on the bus are injured? Now, there may be a limited insurance pot of money to share, and the amount may be insufficient.

A Lot of Evidence

One positive about bus accidents as compared to other kinds of accidents, is the ability of available evidence. In a bus accident, everybody on the bus is a potential witness. Additionally, many buses are equipped with cameras, many of which face outward, and thus can record what happened immediately before an accident.

But it is important to get to a personal injury attorney quickly to make sure that recordings of the accident are preserved; many municipalities may delete or record over video automatically, if the company or agency that owns the bus isn’t informed there is any reason to preserve the video.

Background Checks

Many companies just put anybody behind the wheel, even though bus drivers are required to have special licenses. Besides the legal requirements for specialized licenses, drivers who may have a history of bad driving or criminal activity, should also not be hired.

This opens the door to claims of negligent hiring of drivers, or failure by employers to do background checks on people they entrust to drive buses.

Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today if you were injured on, or by, any kind of passenger bus.





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