For various reasons, public transportation has become more and more popular in New Jersey. In many cases, people’s environmental concerns lead them to simply take the bus. In other cases, people take the bus because they wish to avoid congested roadways. Regardless of why we’ve seen a spike in bus use, as the rate of bus transportation increases, so does the rate of bus accidents. Bus accidents involving a variety of vehicles‚ including commuter buses‚ school buses‚ and tour buses‚ continuously make headlines for crashes causing many devastating injuries and deaths. If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a bus accident in New Jersey‚ you should contact an experienced New Jersey bus accident lawyer immediately‚ as you may qualify for compensation for your injuries. Hiring an experienced legal team like The Wilton Law Firm will help ensure that your rights are protected. Contact The Wilton Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.
Causes of New Jersey Bus Accidents
The causes of bus accidents are as varied as other motor vehicle accidents‚ and range from modest driver error to unfocused or drunk driving. However‚ a growing, concerning trend is driver fatigue.
- Commercial drivers often drive long hours‚ and do not take suitable rest breaks. While there are regulations relating to the number of hours and shifts a driver takes‚ some companies do not follow them‚ or do not enforce them. In addition‚ many drivers hold additional jobs‚ and it’s impossible to know if they have gotten rest before accepting driving shifts. Drivers of tour buses often drive through the night‚ including the most dangerous hours‚ between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.‚ when the body naturally desires sleep. If you believed fatigued driving contributed to your injury‚ a qualified team of New Jersey bus accident attorneys can investigate your matter‚ and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
- The National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for new rules that would specify mandatory resting and maximum driving hours‚ and also wants to see devices installed in buses and other commercial vehicles that would help enforce the total hours an employee drives. It is likely that new rules will decrease the number of commercial bus accidents. A bus accident lawyer can determine whether the bus company and driver involved in your situation were operating according to present rules.
Of course‚ this is no comfort if you or a loved one has recently been in a bus accident‚ and are dealing with the financial and emotional issues associated with that accident. You need an experienced bus accident attorney on your side who has the experience and knowledge to guarantee you are adequately compensated. The Wilton Law Firm will not stop fighting for your rights, through every step of the process.
Other Types of Bus Accidents
While driver liability is often challenging to determine, all drivers involved in car collisions may bear some responsibility for the accident. Passengers are very rarely the cause of a crash. Therefore, they are almost certainly entitled to compensation for their injuries or damaged property, regardless of whether they were in the car with the liable driver or not. In fact, the car wherein a passenger is injured only determines which insurance carrier must pay for the passenger’s losses. That being said, bus accidents can also occur with school buses and city buses.
- State school bus laws are unique in that they carry large numbers of young people, are larger vehicles, are government-owned and operated and must abide by stringent training and driving regulations. Most school buses do not have seat belts or safety restraints for children. This makes it especially dangerous to stand or move around while the bus is in motion. Other drivers on the road must also follow special laws when driving near or around school buses and are responsible for learning those laws.
- City buses and intrastate and interstate buses, such as ones traveling to Atlantic City or other areas of the state must also abide by several safety regulations. Drivers must not drive over a certain amount of hours in a 24-hour period, they must be properly trained and licensed and they must travel at slower speed limits than other drivers. There are unique laws regarding New Jersey’s city and public buses, which is why it is so important that you hire a New Jersey bus accident lawyer with knowledge in this area.
Recovering Compensation After a Bus Accident
Accident victims may pursue a few different types of monetary damages, and passengers are equally entitled to seek compensation as a driver victim is. Economic damages cover claims for money spent in response to the accident, including medical bills and the cost of repairing damaged property. Lost wage claims cover the money that the injured person would have made if they were unable to go to work after the accident. Non-economic damages compensate a victim for losses that are more difficult to qualify, such as a diminished quality of life.
What is the Duty of Utmost Care?
If you have suffered serious injuries in a bus collision, either as a passenger of the bus, a pedestrian, or an occupant in another vehicle involved, you may recover compensation for your injuries. As a passenger on a bus that was involved in an accident, the bus company owes you the “utmost duty of care” associated with being a common carrier. This “duty of utmost care” is higher than the negligence duty owed by the bus company to drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians.
Contact a Monmouth County Bus Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has suffered from an accident involving a bus, contact The Wilton Law Firm. We have tried and settled many bus accident cases involving buses across New Jersey for over 20 years. The Wilton Law Firm has the skill and experience it takes to effectively represent your interests. For a free consultation with an experienced team of personal injury attorneys, contact The Wilton Law Firm today.