Determining Liability in Bus Accident Cases: Who’s Responsible?

If you’ve been in a bus accident, one of the first questions you may have is who is at fault? It’s an important question, because it will affect your ability to get compensation for your injuries. To determine who is at fault, it’s best to contact a bus accident attorney in Delaware County PA.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Before we get into how fault is determined, it’s important to understand modified comparative negligence, which is the law in Pennsylvania.

Comparative negligence means that multiple people can be at fault. Each individual involved is assigned a percentage of fault. For example, if you walk out in front of a bus, but the driver is speeding, you would both be assigned a percentage of fault.

In Pennsylvania, if you are declared more than 50% at fault, you are held liable. This means you can’t collect any money from the accident. However, if you have a fault percentage of less than 50%, the amount of your compensation is reduced. If you are 25% at fault, your award will be reduced by 25%.

Duty of Care

Duty of care means that the bus driver and the bus company or school district have a duty to keep passengers and other drivers safe. If anyone involved or responsible is negligent, this means they have a breach of care.

Legal Negligence

Fault is determined by negligence. In legal terms, this means not taking the care that a reasonable person would take in the same circumstances. Drivers may be negligent if they speed, run a stop sign or red light, or drive too fast for the conditions. Bus companies can be negligent if they don’t have proper hiring or training practices, or properly maintain their buses.

Negligence can include the driver, the company that owns the bus, and third parties.

  • Bus Driver: If the bus driver was driving in an unsafe or reckless manner, they are negligent. This can involve the driver’s actions or a lack of action. Proving driver negligence typically requires evidence. This can include eyewitness testimony, video from the bus or traffic cameras, and police reports. If impaired driving is suspected, the driver should undergo testing for alcohol and other substances.
  • The Company: The company may also be negligent. They may have poor hiring practices, or not train their drivers properly. Improper bus maintenance and overscheduling drivers can also mean the company is at fault. It’s important to note that this applies to the party or company that owns the buses. If it’s a school bus, this would be the school or school district. If it’s a public transportation bus, the city would be liable. If the bus is privately owned, the owner is responsible.
  • Third Parties: In some cases, a third party may be partially or completely liable for the accident. If a pedestrian steps out in front of a bus, causing an accident, they can be held liable. If a driver in another vehicle causes the accident, they may be responsible. If the bus company hires another company for maintenance, and they were negligent, the maintenance company could be responsible.

Determining Fault

Many people will look to the police report or the decision of the insurance adjuster. It’s important to note that insurance adjusters work for an insurance company. The goal of the insurance company is naturally to lower their costs, which can make them an insurance adjuster biased.

Working with an attorney provides a fresh set of eyes from someone who has your interest in mind.

Bus Liability Attorney in Philadelphia

If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you’ll need a personal injury attorney serving Philadelphia, PA. Contact us at Katz Injury Law. It’s important to begin working with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident for the best results.

Leave a Reply