Philadelphia Bus Accident Lawyer
Bus travel represents a relatively safe mode of ground transportation, yet preventable bus accidents still happen.
If a Philadelphia bus crash has injured you or a loved one, then you may have the right to take legal action seeking financial compensation for your injuries. You should not have to shoulder the physical, emotional, and financial pain of a severe injury or tragic fatality on your own if someone else’s unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions caused that harm. Trust a skilled Philadelphia personal injury lawyer to fight for your right to receive substantial compensation instead.
The experienced bus accident lawyers at The Levin Firm understand the difficulties victims and their families face in the wake of suffering severe injuries or the loss of loved ones in a bus accident. Contact us to share the details of your bus accident and learn about how we may help.
Negligence Leads to Preventable Philadelphia Bus Accident Injuries
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that intercity buses account for about 13 percent of fatal bus crashes throughout the United States every year. Likewise, fatal school bus crashes account for approximately 40 percent, and transit buses total 35 percent of all fatal bus crashes in the nation annually. Additionally, well over 20,000 people suffer injuries in bus crashes each year. Unfortunately, some of those fatal and injury-causing bus crashes occur in Pennsylvania, right here in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Negligent behavior by bus drivers, bus owners, and third-parties causes the majority of preventable bus accidents. Some scenarios that can lead to severe, sometimes fatal bus accidents and injuries include:
Drunk/Drugged Driving Bus Accidents
Drunk driving impairs a bus driver’s ability to control the bus and to react to dangerous driving situations, especially when other drivers make quick stops or sudden turns. All bus drivers must hold a commercial drivers’ license (CDL), which means their legal blood alcohol is half of that for other drivers, and they must also submit to random drug and alcohol screenings. Bus drivers who make the tragic mistake of drinking and driving put others on the road and their own passengers at risk for injury and death.
Distracted Driving Bus Accidents
CDL holders must comply with federal laws regarding cell phone use while driving, so cell phone use is not as likely a distraction for bus drivers as you might think. Drivers cannot use a cell phone while operating a bus unless they use a hands-free device. Yet, bus drivers confront many other potential distractions that can lead to an accident, and of course other motorists may fall prey to distractions and cause an accident. Some examples of distractions that can affect bus drivers, besides smartphones, include misbehaving passengers, eating and drinking behind the wheel, concentrating on an event outside the bus, adjusting a seat or other vehicle features, and daydreaming.
Drowsy Driving Bus Accidents
Bus drivers who work long shifts or have other jobs put passengers and other motorists at risk if they drive while drowsy or fatigued. The FMCSA has devoted extensive resources to study the relationship between sleep and driving. In their research, they found that drivers who go without sleep for 18 hours have the same level of impairment as those who have a blood alcohol level of 0.08, which is double the legal limit for bus drivers.
Improper Passing/Failure to Yield Bus Accidents
In some situations, bus passengers suffer injuries because another motorist causes an accident. Drivers in passenger vehicles often get impatient around slow-moving buses, so they pass them illegally or fail to yield when the bus has the right of way. This can lead to dangerous and deadly accidents and can also put passengers in danger as they exit and enter the bus, especially in situations where kids on a school bus must cross the road. Bus drivers can also pass improperly and fail to yield, but this type of accident happens more often as a result of third-party negligence.
Disobeying Traffic Control Devices
It’s not likely a bus driver will intentionally disobey a stop sign or traffic light. Yet, if a driver gets distracted and does not obey a traffic control device, a dangerous accident can occur. The size and weight of a bus contribute to a forceful impact in a collision with a smaller vehicle, making these kinds of accidents especially dangerous when a crash happens at high speeds. Drivers of passenger vehicles who fail to stop for a school bus can also cause accidents and injuries, including tragically hitting a child crossing the road.
Poor Bus Maintenance
Many entities own buses in our region, including the City of Philadelphia, school districts, and private charter bus companies. All bus owners have a responsibility to inspect their buses regularly, to perform regular maintenance on them, and to fix any known issues to ensure buses stay in roadworthy condition. Poorly maintained buses will eventually experience some type of mechanical or structural failure that can cause severe accidents. Preventable breakdowns like a tire blowout or brake failure can cause a bus driver to lose control and lead to a deadly collision.
Buses have weight limits above which a driver may struggle to maintain control, leading to an accident. Overcrowding typically does not present a problem on scheduled school bus or SEPTA routes. Yet, special events can sometimes lead to overcrowded SEPTA buses. Private charters, too, do not always comply with passenger and weight limit regulations. Overcrowded buses filled with unruly passengers are even more dangerous. If weight is not distributed evenly, the driver can also lose control of the bus.
Poor Hiring and Training Practices of Bus Drivers
The City of Philadelphia, school districts, and bus companies have an obligation to hire qualified bus drivers and adequately train them. Some drivers who have the required CDL do not necessarily have the experience to handle the responsibilities of a bus driver, a position that requires far more than just driving. Bus drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers, and they must deal with continuous stopping and starting, often in busy traffic. Perfecting these tasks requires time, practice, and periodic retraining. Bus companies and other entities that hire unqualified drivers or do not take the time to train new drivers properly open themselves up to liability if one of their drivers causes an accident as a result of inexperience.
Possible Injuries Sustained in Philadelphia Bus Accidents
Not all bus accidents lead to severe or fatal injuries, but many do. Some of the most common injuries bus accident victims suffer include:
- Broken bones, especially multiple fractures or crushed bones that cause lifelong problems with pain and arthritis and potentially require one or more reconstructive surgeries
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries that can lead to chronic difficulties with a variety of cognitive functions and motor skills such as memory, logical reasoning, and behavior
- Neck injuries including severe cases of whiplash that lead to permanent damage and chronic headaches and shoulder pain and fractured cervical vertebrae
- Back injuries including one or more fractured vertebrae and herniated discs often requiring surgeries that can still leave a victim battling chronic pain
- Spinal cord injuries including those that cause permanent paralysis in some or all of the body and confine a bus accident victim to a wheelchair for the rest of their life
- Life-threatening internal injuries such as organ damage and bleeding, sometimes caused by broken ribs, but often a result of puncture wounds upon impact
- Crushed limbs and amputations when doctors cannot restore blood circulation to a damaged limb, which can happen to motor vehicle passengers or bus passengers if they get pinned under a seat or vehicle
No matter how a Philadelphia bus accident injured you or your loved one, the team at The Levin Firm has the experience and resources to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Do You Have Questions After Your Philadelphia Bus Accident? We Have Answers.
You may have lots of questions about your legal rights after suffering injuries in a Philadelphia bus accident. Fortunately for you, you have come to the right place for answers. As a trusted Philadelphia bus accident law firm, people come to us every day seeking advice about whether they can receive compensation for their bus accident-related injuries and losses. Below, we answer some of the more frequently asked questions we hear from them. For answers to specific questions about any harm you or a loved one suffered in a Philadelphia bus crash, contact our experienced bus accident injury lawyers today.
How dangerous are buses in an accident?
Very. In a collision, a bus can cause extensive damage to a vehicle, and the force of the impact can result in devastating injuries to its own passengers, occupants of other vehicles and even pedestrians and bicyclists. As just one tragic example, several children still die each year in school bus accidents around the country.
The scary truth belies our preconceived notion that buses constitute a particularly safe mode of transportation because:
- They are large vehicles which absorb accident impact and force over a larger area
- They generally travel at slower speeds
- They have professional drivers
However, each of those facts has an important counterpoint. Yes, buses are large, but that means they inflict massive damage in an impact. Some buses travel at slower than average speeds (such as SEPTA buses on a crowded Philly street), but not all of them, as anyone who has shared a highway with a long-distance coach bus knows. Although true that buses have professional drivers, that does not always make them safer.
The reality is that buses in and around Philadelphia get into accidents pretty regularly, and those crashes cause significant harm.
What types of bus crashes do you handle?
All of them. Any type of bus is susceptible to an accident on Philadelphia roads. As a tourist destination, the City of Brotherly Love sees its share of tour buses crowding its streets. And of course SEPTA buses, school buses, and church buses travel throughout the city. We handle crashes of all of these. In fact, no matter what kind of bus gets into an accident, we have the experience to represent injured victims.
What type of Philadelphia bus accident injuries do you handle?
Again, all of them. Philadelphia bus crash victims can suffer virtually every type of injury imaginable in a crash. Some of the most catastrophic of those include
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Crushed limbs and traumatic amputations; and
No matter how a Philly bus crash harmed you or a loved one, the services of an experienced Philadelphia bus accident injury attorney aid in obtaining the compensation you deserve to regain your health and rebuild your life.
Who owes me money for my Philadelphia bus accident injuries?
That all depends on the facts and circumstances of the crash that injured you. As a general matter, in Pennsylvania, anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions lead to an accident or incident that harms someone else will bear legal liability to that injured victim for monetary damages.
All sorts of individuals and entities might meet those criteria when it comes to a Philadelphia bus accident. As lawyers for Philly bus crash victims, we will often investigate:
- Bus drivers, whose actions behind the wheel could lead to a crash;
- Bus owners/operators (including City agencies like SEPTA), both because they may have a legal obligation to answer for the actions of any driver they employ, or because their own decisions made a bus less safe for travel;
- Bus manufacturers, if they produced a bus part that failed under normal operating conditions and led to a crash (such as a faulty braking system); and
- Bus maintenance contractors whose work should keep buses in safe operating condition, and could lead to a crash if it does not.
These are just a few examples of who may have legal liability for damages to victims of a Philadelphia bus crash. Every accident has its own facts that determine who bears the blame. Sometimes, more than one individual or entity can share fault for a crash, in fact.
Identifying the parties with legal liability for a Philly bus crash can get complicated. That is why bus crash victims need an experienced lawyer on their side who has the skill and resources to leave no stone unturned in an investigation of a Philadelphia bus collision.
What six steps should I take to protect my rights after a Philadelphia bus accident?
Your actions at a Philadelphia bus accident scene and in the days and weeks that follow can affect your rights to compensation for your injuries.
Following these tips may help to ensure you receive the maximum amount of money you deserve:
- Call 911. Always call police and first responders to any Philadelphia bus accident scene. Do not trust that someone else will do it. You, or someone else, may need urgent medical care and you have no time to lose in calling it. Police who respond to the scene will prepare an accident report. If they want to speak with you, answer their questions plainly and simply. Say nothing that they could mistake as an admission that you bear some of the blame for the crash. Just stick to the facts.
- Get medical help. Always let an EMT check you over at the scene of a Philadelphia bus accident. If the EMT recommends you take an ambulance ride to the hospital, then do it. If the EMT gives you the all-clear, then still follow up with your regular doctor or an urgent care clinic within 24 hours of the accident. You always need a full examination after any Philadelphia bus crash to make sure you have not suffered hidden injuries that do not show immediate symptoms but could still threaten your health (or even your life). Not only does going to the doctor protect your wellbeing, it also generates important medical records that could help prove the connection between the crash and your injuries in a legal action.
- Take pictures or video, if you can. It is not always possible to do so safely, but if you can, take pictures or video of the accident scene with your smartphone, ideally before the first responders and clean-up crews show up. Take as many pictures or as much video as you possibly can, documenting every aspect of an accident scene that you can see. There is no such thing as too much photographic or video evidence of a Philadelphia bus crash scene.
- Get people’s contact info, if you can. In the same vein, ask people for their names and contact information, if you can do so safely and without getting in first responders’ way. The easiest way to do this might be to video them telling it to you, but any method will do. The police will probably also gather this information, but it never hurts to back up their efforts, particularly on a crowded, chaotic accident scene. The information you gather could help your lawyers identify and track down people who have important information about the crash.
- Keep everything. Do not throw away anything that relates in any way to the Philadelphia bus crash that injured you, or to your injuries themselves. Keep every mail item, receipt, article of clothing you wore, medical record, discarded arm cast…you name it. Trust us. Being a hoarder of evidence relating to the crash and your injuries will make your lawyer’s job much easier, and will maximize your chances of receiving every dollar of compensation you deserve.
- Contact the Levin Firm right away. The sooner you contact our Philadelphia bus accident attorneys, the sooner we can start analyzing evidence and protecting your rights.
What type of compensation can I get for my injuries?
It depends upon the fact and circumstances of your Philadelphia bus accident. Keep in mind that no lawyer can promise you will receive any compensation for your injuries. To receive money damages, your lawyer must first have the ability to prove that someone has legal liability to you as we described above, and of course, the person or entity with liability actually must also have the ability to pay you.
As a general matter, however, victims of Philadelphia bus crashes may have rights to receive compensation for:
- Medical and other expenses caused by the accident and the injuries you suffered;
- Wages you missed out on earning while recuperating, or that you may not earn in the future because of injury-related disabilities;
- Your physical pain, emotional suffering, and any decline in your quality of life resulting from your bus accident injuries.
Working with an experienced Philadelphia bus accident injury attorney is the most reliable way to calculate the damages you should receive, to identify the parties who owe those damages to you, and to build a case to prove that liability and get you paid.
Someone offered me a settlement for my bus accident injuries. Should I take it?
No, at least not without first speaking with an experienced Philadelphia bus accident attorney about your rights.
Anyone other than your own insurance company who offers you money or some other form of compensation to pay for your bus accident injuries does so for only one reason: because they think they have legal liability to you for damages. An unsolicited settlement offer means they really think they owe you damages, and most likely that they hope you will take less money than you deserve if they offer it quickly.
Settling a case, however, means giving up your valuable legal rights to sue someone for damages. If you take a settlement for too-little money, you cannot later go back to the person who paid you and ask for more. It’s a one-and-done deal, so you had better make sure you get the most money possible.
That is where an experienced Philadelphia bus accident injury lawyer comes in handy. Lawyers who represent injured accident victims have years of experience negotiating hard with insurance companies, defense lawyers, and others to get their clients maximum compensation for injuries and losses. Always hire a bus accident attorney to do that work for you, too.
How long do I have to take legal action for damages?
In Pennsylvania, you only have two years after the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. Two years might seem like a long time, but for bus accident lawyers, it is barely a blink-of-the-eye. Even so, even waiting just two years to take legal action to enforce your rights to compensation could cost you thousands of dollars or more.
The best time to seek help from an experienced Philadelphia bus accident injury lawyer is as soon as possible after the crash that injures you. That is when evidence is easiest to collect, witness memories are at their freshest, and parties with legal liability feel the most pressure to answer for their wrongful actions. As time passes, evidence disappears, memories fade, and people who should pay you money start to find excuses for why not to.
So, do not wait. Contact a bus accident lawyer immediately to preserve your valuable legal rights.
Why do I need a bus accident lawyer?
Because you will not recover maximum compensation for your Philadelphia bus crash injuries without one.
This is what we do for a living. Philadelphia bus accident Lawyers like us fight for the rights of injured accident victims who face terrible physical, emotional, and financial pain because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions. By committing our careers to helping innocent accident victims, we personal injury lawyers develop a strong sense of how much a person should receive for injuries, and how to get them paid.
So, if a Philadelphia bus crash leaves you or a loved one suffering from serious injuries, contact the experienced, hard-working Philly bus crash injury attorneys at the Levin Firm as soon as you can. Your rights to compensation depend on it.
Hire an Experienced Philadelphia Bus Accident Lawyer
The award-winning legal team at The Levin Firm has years of experience advocating for personal injury victims, including Philadelphians who have suffered severe and fatal injuries in bus accidents. Our firm has the resources and knowledge to investigate, negotiate, and litigate even the most complicated and emotionally difficult bus accident claims.
If you have sustained injuries or lost a loved one in a Philadelphia bus accident, contact The Levin Firm online or at (215) 825-5183 for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your accident and injuries and the way they have impacted your life. If you choose us to represent you, we take cases on a contingent fee basis. This means we collect our attorney fees only from any settlement or court-awarded damages our efforts to recover compensation on your behalf.