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Buses are used not only to transport children to and from school, but also for adults to commute to and from work, to transport the elderly and the handicapped, and to travel to far off tourist destinations. When boarding a bus, most passengers falsely assume that their safety is all but assured. Sadly, however, many bus passengers never reach their intended destination. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hundreds of Americans will be killed in a bus accident each year.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bus accident, it is important to seek the counsel of a New Jersey bus accident lawyer in order to begin the civil claims process. An experienced South Jersey injury lawyer could assist with financial recovery and help ensure that you receive the medical care you need. To learn more or discuss your claim, call today.
Safety Standards for Buses in New Jersey
As federally-designated “common carriers,” buses are held to a strict legal standard. All common carriers have a duty of care, whereby passengers are entitled to safe entrances and exits, a trained and highly qualified driver, a properly maintained vehicle, and an expectation that vehicle design flaws will be both monitored and corrected.
Passengers who can establish negligence on any of these fronts can pursue full compensation for their bus collision injuries. When a bus involved in an accident was operated at the behest of a public entity, however, liability for violating the duty of care is far from straightforward. To that end, buses owned by a school district or city are the responsibility of the district or municipality, while buses that are contracted for use remain primarily the responsibility of the operating bus company.
In the second scenario, when a contract is in place between a bus company and a public entity, the contract must establish in clear, unambiguous terms the expectations of both parties. Such stipulations might include but are not limited to, driver training or the installation and maintenance of special safety equipment. When an accident occurs and a contract has been breached, a New Jersey lawyer can help bus accident victims assess who is primarily – or even secondarily – to blame.
Regardless of whether a bus fleet is maintained by a public or private entity, however, all buses must satisfy various state and federal regulations. Buses must provide and document semi-annual inspections. Moreover, before hitting the road, drivers are required to check their vehicles each day and provide a written report of any malfunctioning safety equipment. Bus drivers must also make note of the potential degradation of mechanicals.
Bus Accident Statistics
According to the FMCSA, nearly half of all bus accidents each year will involve city or school buses. Bus accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, such as driver fatigue or inexperience, improperly loaded passengers and cargo, or a failure to address faulty or defective equipment. Because passengers are often unrestrained and buses are prone to tipping, injuries sustained in a bus accident are often catastrophic, thereby warranting attention from a bus accident attorney in New Jersey.
Consulting with a New Jersey Bus Accident Attorney
Regardless of whether a destination is a few blocks or several states away, bus accidents can change the lives of passengers in an instant. The experienced South Jersey accident lawyers at Grungo Law provide qualified, compassionate personal injury counsel if you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident. Schedule a consultation to learn more.