Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Liability in Bus Accidents

Buses often carry large numbers of passengers and when bus accidents occur, the consequences are often tragic and disastrous.

Look at an accident involving two school buses carrying students of Lennox Middle School, out on a field trip to the La Brea Tar Pits. According to reports, the two buses were traveling convoy and when the first bus on the line slowed down in traffic, the second bus slammed the back of the first vehicle.

Fortunately, the impact of the crash was not that strong to cause any serious injury but merely bruises and pain for the bus passengers who were mostly schoolchildren with adult companions. The twenty-three children all sustained injuries, some of them had severe neck and back pains.

The police are still investigating the incident to determine what caused it and who the liable parties are.

But who can be held responsible for accidents like this?

Under the law, common carriers like commuter trains and buses are expected to exercise care and safety for their passengers. During accidents, investigators will look into the standards by which this duty of care is exercised to see if there are lapses made.

Liability in most bus accidents depend on several factors as the cause of the accident must first be established.

If the accident is caused by factors other than driver negligence, liability will change considerably. For instance, if the accident is caused by a failing condition of the vehicle such as worn-out tires, brakes or steering mechanism, then liability will fall on the bus owners or operators and the drivers.

Typically, personal injury litigation will determine the extent of liability of each party involved in the accident. In this case, investigators are still trying to determine whether the drivers of the two buses are drunk or negligent, which will include going over their past criminal record and history of alcohol or drug use. Otherwise, the police would have to find out the other causes of the accident to hold the people responsible for the injuries that resulted from it.

By any means, liability in an accident may be difficult to be established and proved. Hence, one would need the assistance of an experienced accident lawyer in order to help him file a claim against the offending party.