Many people rely on city bus systems for local transportation, for their children to ride to school, and for traveling out of state for business, recreation, or tours. We tend to think of buses as large, lumbering, and safe, but according to research in 2023, nearly 15,000 bus accidents occur annually in the United States, with injuries in as many as 47% of the accidents and fatalities in 1.5%. There were 2,019 bus accident fatalities in 2022. Alarmingly, bus accident numbers are on the rise in New Jersey with 667 accidents, 7 fatalities, and 336 injuries as recently as 2023.

What Causes Bus Accidents?

Driver error is the most common cause of bus accidents for city buses, school buses, and tour buses. Other causes include the following:

  • Driver distraction
  • Speeding
  • Driver fatigue
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Making left turns at intersections
  • Poor bus maintenance
  • Defective bus parts
  • Intoxicated driver

In less common circumstances, the cause of a bus accident could be a negligent road maintenance agency that failed to repair a road hazard or a third-party driver. Poor weather conditions and slippery roadways also cause bus accidents, particularly in northern climates like New Jersey.

Types of Bus Accidents

Buses are often tall and narrow, with higher centers of gravity than standard vehicles. They require significant training to drive safely. Common types of bus accidents resulting in injuries include rear-end collisions, sideswipe accidents, T-bone accidents in intersections, rollovers, tire blowout accidents, head-on collisions, and roadway departure accidents. Because of a bus’s large size, a bus accident may block several lanes, making multi-vehicle pile-ups more common for bus accidents than typical traffic accidents involving standard family vehicles.

What Common Injuries Can Occur?

Buses rarely require or possess seatbelts. This is due to the padded compartments formed by rows of bus seats which crash reconstruction experts have determined minimizes the chances of passenger injuries in a crash. However, injuries still commonly occur during the initial accident, and sometimes while panicked passengers attempt to evacuate the bus, particularly if there is smoke or fire. Common injuries in bus accidents include:

  • Head injuries/Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries such as whiplash
  • Knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Soft-tissue injuries like sprains and torn ligaments
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Facial injuries

When multiple injuries occur in a bus accident, it’s a chaotic scene. However, taking purposeful action to evacuate in an orderly manner and using your phone to photograph the bus, other involved vehicles and your injuries can help streamline your accident claim process later.

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help? 

After a bus accident, victims commonly deal with painful injuries, corrective medical procedures, and lengthy recovery times. Taking on a challenging claim with multiple potentially liable parties can be daunting when the victim should be focusing on healing from their injuries. Also, the claim process is different for a privately owned bus company compared to delivery truck accident or garbage truck accident owned by a city or county government entity with different laws and time constraints.

An experienced Cherry Hill truck accident lawyer understands the legalities involved in proving liability for a bus accident, including investigating, documenting evidence of liability, carefully calculating damages, and presenting the most compelling case possible for full compensation for the victim’s losses plus an amount for their pain and suffering. Common compensation in bus accident claims includes amounts for medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering.

If you or your family member suffered serious whiplash injuries in a bus accident, contact Cuneo & Leonetti today for prompt action in your case.