Determining fault and liability in a Chicago bus accident can get complicated.
Chicago has an efficient bus transportation system that assists thousands of commuters on a daily basis. Buses are large vehicles, so bus accidents often lead to serious injuries to occupants of the colliding vehicles as well to the bus passengers.
In early 2017, a school bus collided with a car leaving five injured in the South Shore Chicago area. Around the same time, another bus accident took place in Chicago that injured 25 people.
While determining fault and liability in car accidents is, at times, simple, things can get a little more complicated when it comes to Chicago bus accidents. In this post, our Chicago personal injury lawyer will discuss this in detail.
Bus Accidents Statistics
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 3,978 large buses and trucks were involved in accidents leading to fatalities in 2014. Considering the data collated in 2009, this is a 20% increase between 2009 and 2014. Moreover, there was a 55% increase in injury causing crashes during this period. According to the data, 13% were intercity buses, and 33% were transit buses. School buses accounted for 41% of the injury crashes. About 1,766 school bus accidents were reported by the Illinois Department of Transport in 2014 leaving 157 students and 72 drivers injured. There were 2,699 accident reports involving other buses that left 546 injured and 7 killed.
Considering these increasing numbers, it is essential for all using bus transport to understand how liability is determined in bus accidents.
Fault and liability depend on the cause of the accident. As such, negligent bus drivers, inadequate maintenance and repair of buses, and other negligent on-road car drivers are responsible for a majority of bus accidents.
The laws and rules for determining liability in an accident involving a bus are different from those that govern car accidents. Bus drivers fall under the category of common carriers and are required to follow the highest standard of care while driving and carrying passengers. Inability to do so will render the driver negligent and thus make him liable for the accident.
If a company employs a driver, then the company is responsible for ensuring that driver adheres to the highest standards of care and does not indulge in negligent driving. Therefore, the injured party may hold the driver and/or the company employing the driver liable.
If the cause of the accident is determined as faulty or defective equipment or insufficient maintenance, the injured party may be able to hold the bus company as well as the manufacturer of the bus liable.
If another driver causes the accident, the driver responsible can be held liable for injuries caused.
Understanding the statute of limitations
In Illinois, there are requirements that govern public transportation systems like CTA, Metra, and Pace. In addition to these, the federal government also has requirements that cover passengers, and there are specific laws for filing lawsuits.
There are laws that protect the transportation companies as well. For example, a shorter statute of limitations (the time an injured party has to file a claim after an accident) is set. It is therefore extremely important that bus accident victims contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a Chicago bus accident.