Taking legal action after a bus crash and injuries is never an easy feat, and most people do not know where to even begin. At Zanes Law Injury Lawyers, our Phoenix bus accident attorneys work with clients injured in a wide range of accidents by many different parties. Contact our office to discuss a possible case today.
Where Bus Accidents Occur in Phoenix
For a free legal consultation with a bus accidents lawyer serving Phoenix, call 866-499-8989
With an active mass transit system and hundreds of thousands of children in school each day, scores of Phoenix residents will board a bus at some point. When they do this, they put their lives in the hands of the driver and the bus company. In some cases, the driver does not live up to their obligation to act reasonably to protect the safety of their passengers. When this happens, you and your family may have a possible lawsuit for financial compensation.
Bus accidents can occur in many settings:
- Local or commuter bus lines run by Valley Metro
- School buses
- Intercity and regional carriers transporting passengers to and from Phoenix from across Arizona and out of state
- Tour buses heading for destinations such as the Grand Canyon (and there have been frequent accidents in the past several years)
Bus Ridership Is Heavy in Phoenix
Before a 2020 drop in ridership due to the pandemic, tens of millions of people ride buses in Phoenix each day. Over three years, Valley Metro served an average of 50 million riders each year. This averages at nearly 137,000 rides each day. The volume is even heavier on weekdays when people use buses to commute to and from work. High gas prices send even more people onto public transit to protect their budget.
While the number of bus accidents has been falling throughout Arizona, it remains unacceptably high. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 272 buses involved in crashes in a single year. Eight of these crashes were fatal. The number of bus crashes had dropped to 169 in a more recent year, although it was not clear if that was the result of happenstance or some safety initiative that made things less dangerous for passengers.
Recent Serious Bus Accidents in the Phoenix Area
Even with the drop in the number of crashes, many recent fatal bus accidents took place in the Phoenix area. For example, a June 2021 crash involved a Valley Metro bus that left three people dead and six people injured. In May 2021, two cars crashed with a Valley Metro bus, critically injuring four people. Another recent incident saw a motorcyclist who died when he collided with a Valley Metro bus.
There are also fatal bus accidents throughout Arizona that can impact people from the Phoenix area. There are occasional tour bus accidents involving vehicles heading to the Grand Canyon, and many of these can be fatal.
Injuries in School Bus Accidents
In addition, there are frequent school bus accidents in the Phoenix area.
School bus accidents can injure many people:
- Children on the bus suffer injuries in accidents
- Vehicles can strike pedestrians or children getting off the bus
- Other drivers can sustain injuries in accidents with the bus
Finally, common carriers can also be legally responsible for accidents. These include transportation companies that shuttle passengers between cities. In Arizona, the Supreme Court held that common carriers must exercise reasonable care to protect passengers. Even though the legal standard for common carriers is lower in Arizona than it is in other states, they will still be liable when they are negligent.
Bus accidents are like any other personal injury case in that injured plaintiffs must show that someone else was responsible for their injuries. This is the prerequisite for being in a position to receive financial compensation. To receive payment for your injuries, you must prove that someone else was negligent, and our Phoenix bus accident attorneys can determine whether you have a valid claim.
Who Can be a Defendant in Bus Accident Lawsuits?
Here are some possible defendants in your bus accident case:
- The mass transit or commuter bus company
- The interstate bus carrier
- The school district that operates the bus
- Any subcontractor that handles transportation for a school district
- The company that was responsible for manufacturing the bus if the accident happened as a result of a defect of the bus
Many of these parties will have legal teams ready to defend against a claim, so you need a strong legal advocate bringing your case.
Negligence in Bus Accident Cases
Many things can constitute negligence and entitle you to financial compensation, such as:
- Putting poorly trained drivers behind the wheel who do not know how to properly operate the bus
- Speeding or distracted drivers causing crashes
- The failure to properly maintain the buses, causing an equipment failure when the bus is on the road
- Inattentive drivers hitting passengers getting off the bus or pedestrians in crosswalks
- Buses cutting across traffic or making illegal turns to stop at their designated points
Identifying negligence can often require thorough investigation and extensive resources, which our firm has.
How an Attorney Helps Your Bus Accident Case
Before you reach the point of being able to make an argument about what happened to cause the crash and that someone else was responsible, you need an attorney to investigate the circumstances behind the accident. This requires gathering evidence of negligence. The lawyer will need to speak with witnesses and examine pictures of the accident scene. The attorney may even need to engage an expert witness to recreate the accident.
In addition, accident investigation also involves closely checking the bus driver.
The operator may:
- Have a history of substance abuse
- Be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or prescription medications at the time of the accident
- Have a poor driving history with the bus company
Your attorney may need to move quickly to secure these records. They may also move to receive the results of any toxicology tests performed on the driver. Even though the transit company or the school district will perform their own investigation of the crash, you cannot rely on them to investigate in a way that can help your case because they have their own interests.
Gathering evidence is just the first step in any bus accident case. You will need to secure a fair amount of compensation to pay you back for your injuries. You may have suffered serious physical and financial harm from the accident.
Arizona Does Not Limit Bus Accident Damages in Lawsuits
First, we will share the good news with you about Arizona. Many other states limit the damages that you can receive when you sue a governmental entity by putting a cap on your recovery. By and large, those rules do not apply in Arizona. There are no monetary caps on damages. The only restriction is that you cannot recover punitive damages if you are suing a governmental entity. Of course, if you sue a private transportation company, this limitation does not apply.
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