Passenger buses are a convenient and cost-effective way to both get around locally Philadelphia and travel out of state. While bus trips are typically safe, one negligent oversight or careless act can cause a collision involving injuries, deaths, and serious property damage. In the decades we’ve been in practice, our Philadelphia bus accident attorneys have seen it happen many times.
Bus accidents are particularly devastating not only because of their massive size and weight, but also because they rarely have seatbelts to protect their passengers. A rollover or other type of accident can throw occupants around inside and cause catastrophic harm. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and nearby motorists are no match for buses either. Our experienced lawyers understand the staggering consequences of these accidents, stand up to the big bus companies and their insurers, and work to identify all responsible parties in order to help victims obtain maximum compensation for their injuries.
If you were injured in a bus crash, contact us for a free consultation about your legal rights. While we protect injured individuals against Philadelphia’s local bus company, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), we also represent people injured by private and nationwide bus companies, such as Greyhound, Megabus, Amtrak Thruway, Coach USA, Bolt Bus, and all others. We’ll explain the next steps and how we can help you.
Why Bus Crashes Happen
Buses are commercial vehicles and therefore have federal standards and regulatory requirements they must follow. Bus drivers must maintain a specific license and use a high standard of care while operating a bus. Unfortunately, bus accidents still occur as a result of negligence or carelessness. Some of these issues include:
- Bus operator distraction, drowsiness, or substance abuse
- Bus operator error due to inadequate training or hiring practices
- Speeding or aggressive driving by the bus operator
- Errors, aggression, or negligence by other motorists around the bus
- Dangerous weather such as, snow, ice, and rain
- Road hazards, such as potholes, poorly maintained roadways, and debris
- Defective or malfunctioning bus parts or mechanical failure
- Poorly maintained bus parts, such as brakes and tires
Many parties are responsible for the safe operation of a bus – the driver, bus company, bus part manufacturer, or local government, for example. When someone fails to meet the standard of care, innocent and unsuspecting people can be seriously hurt. Likewise, other motorists and people nearby must exercise care around buses. Anyone who contributes to a bus crash that injures or kills people can be held accountable.
At Gay & Chacker, our team diligently investigates the accident that injured our client or led them to lose a loved one. We speak with witnesses, obtain recordings, and when necessary, we work with accident reconstruction experts to help us determine who is responsible for the crash. Then, we take legal action to seek maximum compensation for our client using every resource necessary.
The Torres Family’s Story
In 2006, Elias Torres was involved in a major highway accident on I-95. He was returning from a school trip to Baltimore when his bus was struck by a tractor trailer. Elias was ejected from the bus and suffered severe scrapes, cuts and wounds to his back and head. He spent the next 6 months in and out of hospitals and received several surgeries. Though legal counsel was far from the forefront of Elias’ mother’s mind, a friend recommended she reach out to Gay & Chacker to seek their advice. The family was pleasantly surprised with the firm’s dedication when the attorney drove to Baltimore to be by Elias’ bedside and begin strategizing the case. Elias’ mother has said that everything was happening so quickly and it was a relief to know that Gay& Chacker was handling the case.
The family was pleased with the consistent guidance they received from the firm and felt like their best interest was always considered. The Torres family was very happy with the outcome of the case and is very grateful for the attention they received. They describe Gay & Chacker as being very dedicated and comforting. They will not hesitate to recommend the firm to friends and family.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
Professional medical attention should be your number one priority after any vehicle collision – even if you think your injuries are minor. You may feel more pain as time goes on, so immediate medical treatment is key. Medical records are also of paramount importance if you decide to file a bus accident lawsuit.
After a crash, it is also important to protect your legal rights by knowing what to do. When law enforcement asks you for a statement, stick to the facts and do not admit fault. The liable party or their insurance company may try to convince you to accept a settlement. Do not accept any initial offers without speaking with an experienced bus accident attorney, as it is most likely far less than the financial recovery you could receive.
In the meantime, keep a record of everything related to the crash, including receipts. It might be helpful to maintain a journal to document all your pain, treatments, therapies, test results, prescriptions, and expenses related to the crash. Later, the information you’ve collected could help your attorney obtain maximum compensation from those responsible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accidents
Below are answers to some common questions about bus accident injuries and seeking legal recourse.
Can I file a lawsuit if my child was hurt in a school bus accident?
Crashes involving school buses are particularly devastating, especially when children get hurt. You should be able to file a lawsuit against anyone who contributed to the accident. However, sometimes it’s actually the local government that owns school buses, and there are special rules that protect them. For example, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has sovereign immunity, which means the government is immune from prosecution. However, all is not lost. There may be other parties that acted negligently and led to the crash. The best thing to do is speak with an experienced attorney, who can investigate the accident and determine who else might be to blame.
If I want to file a lawsuit, what can I do to help my attorney with my bus accident case?
After any crash, your first priority should be medical treatment so you can recover as best you can. Those medical records will come into play later as well, as they will explain the extent of your injuries when you seek compensation. On the accident scene, if you are able, taking photos and videos of what you see will be helpful evidence. It’s important to photograph your injuries as well. Then, in the weeks to follow, you can also help your attorney by keeping a detailed journal as mentioned above.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer if I’m injured?
Gay & Chacker offers free, no-obligation initial consultations to anyone involved in a bus accident. If you hire our firm, we’ll charge no legal fees unless we recover money for your damages. A percentage of your settlement or jury award is then used for our fee. You can contact us at (215) 567-7955 to learn more about how we can help you.