Who Is Liable for Injuries Sustained in a Bus Accident?

Buses are some of the most oversized vehicles on Washington roadways. Due to their size, weight, and reduced safety elements, accidents involving buses can result in severe injuries to everyone involved.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), there were roughly 1,146 bus accidents in 2019 across Washington.

As with any traffic accident, proving negligence is critical to determine liability and recover damages. When it comes to buses, liability largely depends on the unique circumstances of the crash itself. Bus drivers, bus companies, motorists, and environmental factors can all play a role in a crash.

Types of Bus Accidents

As with any traffic collision, bus accidents can result from many factors. Some of these include:

  • Defective mechanical equipment
  • Poor bus maintenance
  • Inclement weather
  • Reckless motorists
  • Negligent bus drivers

Determining fault in a bus accident largely follows the same protocols as a typical car crash, albeit with minor differences.

Common types of busses involved in Washington collisions include:

  • Urban and rural public transit buses
  • School buses
  • Airport and hotel shuttles
  • Private bus lines
  • Tour buses

Every bus crash is unique and will likely involve many moving parts, especially when numerous passengers are involved in the accident.

Bus Accidents Caused by Negligent Bus Drivers

Bus drivers in Washington are considered common carriers and are held to higher standards than typical drivers. This is because bus operators are responsible for the safety of their passengers. Bus drivers must engage in extraordinary care when operating a bus. Failure to do so can result in accidents and injuries.

In Washington, injured parties may file a claim against the bus driver’s insurer whenever a driver acts negligently. Additionally, under Washington liability statutes, bus companies are legally responsible for the actions of their employees and can be held accountable after an accident.

Bus Accidents Caused by Negligent Motorists

Whenever another driver causes a bus crash, these accidents follow standard personal injury procedures by Washington civil law.

Proving that negligence occurred is critical in holding the responsible parties accountable. A personal injury attorney will gather as much evidence as possible to present a strong case, including:

  • Police reports and statements
  • Video and photos of the crash
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Traffic expert testimony

You may have to file a lawsuit in court whenever you cannot reach a settlement for injuries through insurance companies.

Proving liability for a bus crash can be complex, but a seasoned personal injury attorney can navigate the process and fight for your compensation. Harlan Law represents bus accident cases in Vancouver and throughout Washington. Contact us today for a free consultation.