Public buses are very common on St. Louis roads, and buses carry passengers from city to city throughout Missouri and across the country. These are large, heavy vehicles weighing an average of 38,000 pounds. They can cause devastating damage in an accident, not only to other cars and drivers but to the passengers inside. These accidents can be particularly tragic if the bus is carrying children to school.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bus accident, whether you were driving another vehicle or you were a passenger on the bus, you need a lawyer experienced in Missouri accident law. The St. Louis bus accident lawyers at OnderLaw will provide aggressive, experienced representation and fight for the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses, time missed from work, and pain and suffering.

Contact the skilled accident attorneys at OnderLaw right away to discuss your case. You can call to schedule your free consultation and learn about your legal options.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Bus accidents are often special cases because the driver may not be the only negligent party. The entity responsible for operating the bus may be a city government, school district, or local transit authority. Filing a personal injury claim against a government agency or school district is often more complicated than with a private company or insurer. In Missouri, you only have 90 days to file a personal injury claim against the city government. An accident lawyer experienced with municipal injury claims can make the process much easier.

Injuries in a bus accident case are often severe because of the weight of the vehicle as well as the risk of a rollover accident. Bus passengers face additional risk because there are usually no safety devices or restraints to protect them in a crash. The amount of compensation may be much greater than in a typical car accident. Determining liability may be difficult, as the driver, the city government, or third-party entities may all hold some level of responsibility. A good attorney can navigate complex liability issues and put together a solid case for your compensation.

Why You Should Hire OnderLaw To Handle Your Case

The award-winning team of attorneys at OnderLaw has recovered millions of dollars for clients in St. Louis and across the country. We know this is a difficult time for you to go through as you recover from your accident. As our client, your success is important to us. We take pride in our ability to provide you with personalized, top-quality representation.

When you hire OnderLaw, you bring in a team of skilled advocates who will work tirelessly to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today.

Causes of Bus Accidents

A bus accident could occur for a variety of reasons, but there are several ways in which the negligence of others may lead to a crash:

Distracted, Drowsy, or Drunk Driving

City buses often run late at night, and travel and charter buses frequently operate at all hours. Drivers with obstructive sleep apnea can easily become fatigued on the road. Like other drivers, bus drivers may become distracted or even fall asleep and cause a crash. As with any other driver, a bus driver impaired by alcohol is extremely dangerous.

Driver Error

Bus drivers require extra training and must hold a commercial driver’s license. They may still make mistakes, however, like not checking blind spots or following another vehicle too closely, leading to an accident.

Hazardous Weather

Roads slick with rain or ice, low visibility during a storm, and heavy winds can all make a crash much more likely. The heaviness and low maneuverability of a bus make it more vulnerable than other vehicles to bad weather conditions.

Bus Company Negligence

Municipal and private bus companies are supposed to regularly maintain the vehicles in their fleets, but they may neglect this responsibility in the interest of saving money. Brakes, signal lights, and tires must all be in proper working order to ensure the bus doesn’t suffer a catastrophic accident on the road. The bus company may contract its maintenance to a third party, which may have some degree of liability.

Injuries in Bus Accidents

Any combination of injuries could occur in a bus accident. Because buses are such heavy vehicles, the level of impact is often much greater than in crashes with smaller vehicles. Passengers often don’t have the benefit of seat belts or airbags. Life-altering injuries are not uncommon. Children in a school bus crash face additional risk because their bodies are not as strong as those of adults.

Some of the more common injuries in bus accidents include:

  • Soft-tissue injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This may include whiplash-type injuries in the back and neck.
  • Scrapes and cuts from sharp edges within the vehicle.
  • Chest contusions or bruises, as well as broken ribs, may lead to further internal damage.
  • Bone fractures and breaks, especially in arms and legs.
  • Lacerations or deep cuts which could cause serious blood loss.
  • Severed limbs.
  • Spinal cord damage, leading to partial or full paralysis.
  • Head or brain trauma from heavy impacts, possibly leading to permanent brain damage.

If you’ve been in an accident, you need to get medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured or your injuries seem minor. You may be suffering from internal damage or a concussion, which is not apparent because your heightened adrenaline level is masking the symptoms. Further, you will need detailed medical documentation in order to make a claim, and if you did not receive medical care directly after the accident, the insurance company may try to argue that you were not injured at all in the crash.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve recently suffered injuries in a bus accident, you may have a lot of questions. Your lawyer can provide more detailed information, but here are a few answers that may help.

How do you determine who is liable for a bus accident?

Determining liability can be complex in a bus crash. The driver may have been fatigued or intoxicated or may have neglected to report a faulty component on the vehicle. The bus company, school district, or transit authority may have failed to inspect or maintain a critical piece of equipment or to properly train the driver.

Like many states, Missouri follows a legal rule known as “pure comparative negligence.” This means that a percentage is assigned to the level of responsibility each driver contributed to the accident. The amount of damages the court awards to each party will be reduced by the percentage that represents their negligence in causing the accident. If one party is 80 percent at fault for a crash, they are still entitled to 20 percent of the damages they suffered, but they must pay the other party 80 percent of that party’s damages.

This rule not only binds judges and courts in their decisions but also guides insurance companies in their evaluations. It is important to note that these percentages are sometimes arbitrary, and a good lawyer can be important at this stage in negotiating with the insurance company or persuading a judge or jury.

If the insurance company offers me an accident settlement, should I take it?

You should be very careful about dealing with an insurance company directly after an accident. It’s important to speak with a lawyer before signing any statements or accepting any offers. The insurer’s goal is to save money on a claim, not to compensate you for your injuries. It’s important to wait until your attorney can conduct an investigation of the crash and determine whether it and your injuries were the result of another party’s negligence. Let your lawyer do the talking. A trained accident lawyer knows how to deal with insurance company representatives and can protect your right to make a claim.

What can I be compensated for?

Each accident is unique, and the type and amount of compensation you receive will vary depending on the negligence of other parties and the circumstances of the crash. However, compensation may be available for the following expenses:

  • Medical bills for injuries sustained in the accident
  • Reimbursement for physical therapy or rehabilitative treatment
  • Prescription and medication reimbursement
  • Long-term care costs
  • Pain and suffering damages for physical and mental stress caused by the accident
  • Wages lost due to extended recovery
  • Household income lost due to death or inability to work
  • Funeral and burial expenses in the tragic event of a death

Your lawyer can provide more detail about the compensation you could expect in your own case.

Speak With a St. Louis Bus Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bus accident, call the lawyers at OnderLaw right away. Our seasoned St. Louis bus accident lawyers will investigate every aspect of your case and formulate a strategy to get you as much compensation as possible. We care deeply about our clients, and we will give your case the attention it deserves. We understand how painful this experience is for you, but you don’t have to face it alone. Your first consultation is completely free.

Call us or fill out our contact form as soon as possible to discuss your case with us.