Rollover Bus Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries
Bus accidents are devastating for drivers and passengers alike. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the number of buses involved in fatal accidents increased by eleven percent between 2014 and 2015. The number of occupant fatalities also increased, as did the number of persons injured in bus accident. But bus accidents are the most dangerous to occupants of other vehicles involved in a bus collision. USA Today reports that three out of four fatalities caused by bus accidents occur to occupants of the other vehicles. Bus accidents are dangerous to every driver and passenger on the road.
When a bus accident injures you or a loved one, trust the experienced bus accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group to protect your legal rights. Our personalized attention and superior customer service allow you to focus on your recovery while we aggressively defend your right to be compensated for your injuries. The legal process can be overwhelming, and no injury victim should have to navigate it alone.
Why Are Bus Accidents So Lethal?
There are many reasons why bus accidents are so injurious to their victims. These are just some of the many recent cases which illustrate the various causes of bus accidents:
Buses are Hard to Control: The size and weight of a bus make it easier for a driver to lose control of the vehicle – and more difficult to regain control once it has been lost. This is what happened to a bus that lost a tire near the Arizona-California border. The momentum caused the driver to lose control of the bus and cross the median. The bus eventually turned on its side, and the driver – who was not wearing a seatbelt – was partially ejected. She died of her injuries, and eight of the thirteen passengers were hospitalized. Two passengers were airlifted hundreds of miles to Phoenix area hospitals for higher levels of trauma care.
Buses are a Powerful Mechanism of Injury: The size and weight of a bus cause a greater impact on collision, which results in more severe injuries to everyone involved in the accident. Occupants of small vehicles generally sustain more impact from the collision than occupants of the bus. This is a physics lesson learned the hard way: in any collision, the smaller vehicle will absorb more impact from the collision.
Tired Driving: Bus drivers are not immune to the hazards which any driver faces, such as distracted driving, or driving while tired or intoxicated. This is what happened to bus driver Clint Stork. He fell asleep behind the wheel, then woke up and overcorrected the bus, causing it to turn on its side. He and seven passengers were injured in the accident. One of the passengers later died from her injuries, and Stork was charged with homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle. He also faced criminal charges for reckless injury and recklessly endangering safety. This tragic case shows how the same risks faced by every driver can cause even more serious injuries when a bus is involved in the resulting accident.
Similarly, the transportation director of the Blaine County School District in Idaho was fired after a school bus rollover which hospitalized a dozen students. The driver was thought to be fatigued – or even asleep – when the accident occurred. In dismissing the transportation director, the School District stated that “compassion and concern for another employee must never take precedence over our responsibilities for the safety of our students”.
Speed: Speed is another common driving hazard which becomes even more deadly for those involved in a bus accident. It is what caused nine deaths when a tour bus rolled from a hilltop in the mountains of Lima, Peru. The bus had ascended to a high point of San Cristobal Hill in order to give its tourist passengers a more panoramic view of the city. Its speed, combined with the difficult maneuverability of the large vehicle, caused the driver to lose control and roll the bus down the hill. Worse still was the fact that the double-decker bus had an open viewing deck on top. Passengers on the upper deck were subjected to the force of the rollover without the benefit of any structural protection. Nine persons were killed and another forty-eight injured in the accident.
Speed also resulted in a school bus driver being indicted on thirty-six criminal counts after she was found to be speeding on a freeway exit. Christina Mathis lost control of the bus, hitting a guardrail and eventually overturning the bus, which was carrying dozens of schoolchildren. Two students were critically injured. They were hospitalized for six and eleven days, respectively. Mathis was charged with thirty-five counts of aggravated assault and one count of felony reckless endangerment.
How Can Drivers Stay Safe Around Buses?
- Slow down! Buses maneuver more slowly than small vehicles, and they cannot quickly respond to cars that weave around them or make sudden movements.
- Pay particular attention around school zones, bus depots, bus stops and other location where buses are likely to be found.
- Allow plenty of space between yourself and any nearby buses, which require greater stopping distance due to their size and weight.
- Be aware of a bus driver’s blind spots, which are larger than those in a passenger vehicle. Make sure you can see the bus mirrors (as this means you are visible to the driver when he or she checks the mirrors). Use headlights and horns as necessary to bring attention to your presence.
Aggressive Pursuit of Your Bus Accident Personal Injury Claim
The Dolman Law Group protects residents and visitors of Florida to ensure that bus accident victims are fairly compensated for their injuries and losses. Our skilled lawyers have decades of experience in negotiating and litigating personal injury claims arising from bus accidents. Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Our friendly, professional staff offers the personalized service and legal expertise which will ensure the best possible outcome of your legal case.
Dolman Law Group
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Clearwater, FL 33765