Bus Accident Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA
Though buses are generally a safe mode of transportation, they can become involved in accidents for a number of reasons, including driver negligence. Victims may suffer serious and even life-threatening injuries from bus accidents, and it may take years for them to recover.
If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a bus accident, our experienced Chaffin Luhana Pittsburgh, PA bus accident lawyers can help. We have the experience necessary to thoroughly investigate the accident, with the goal of helping our clients recover damages to help them put their lives back together.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that between 2000 and 2009, a total of 1,234 crashes involved school buses, with an average of 139 deaths per year. Of the fatalities, about 8 percent were passengers on the school bus, 20 percent were people outside of the bus (pedestrians and bicyclists), and the rest occupants of other vehicles involved in the crashes.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) noted in its June 2014 report that in 2012, large truck and bus fatalities increased by 3 percent over what they were in 2011. They added that in 2012, about 126,000 people were injured in large truck and bus crashes.
Types of Injuries in a Bus Accident
The types of injuries suffered by victims of a bus accident range from minor cuts and scrapes to more severe traumas such as:
- Sprains, fractures and broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
These types of injuries may occur in school bus accidents, charter bus accidents, shuttle bus accidents, or mass transit carrier accidents.
Who’s Liable in a Bus Accident Lawsuit?
The first person we think of as being potentially liable in a bus accident is the driver, and that is the case in many bus accidents. Other parties may also be liable too, however, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the parties involved.
- Driver: The driver may be found to be negligent because of driving too fast, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving distracted (texting, checking social media status, watching videos). He may also be found negligent if he failed to modify his driving according to road conditions, violated traffic laws, or had insufficient credentials to be driving that sort of vehicle.
- Company the driver was working for: If the accident involved a company-owned bus, the company may be held liable if they failed to properly maintain the vehicle or adequately train the driver, or if they failed to ensure the driver had the right credentials and a clean driving record. Knowingly allowing the driver to work too many hours can also make a company liable.
- Other drivers: If another driver or drivers are found to be at fault for causing the accident, they may be held liable for damages. If they were working for companies at the time of the accident, those companies may also share some of the blame.
- Construction company: If the construction accident occurred in a construction zone that was improperly managed, the construction company may be liable for damages, particularly if the accident occurred because of a lack of clear signage, or other dangerous conditions at the construction site.
- Manufacturer of the bus: If it’s discovered that something was wrong with the bus—a faulty part, for example—the manufacturer of that bus or part may be held partially liable for damages.
- The government entity: In instances where the bus involved in the accident is operated by a government entity (such as a school bus), and the insurance company denies the claim, plaintiffs may be able to file a bus accident lawsuit against the government entity.
Other factors may also be found to have contributed to the accident, including too many people on the bus, missing safety restraints, and buses that are improperly loaded. An experienced bus accident attorney can help you determine all relevant factors in your case.
Gas Tank Explosion Accidents
In July 2014, a food truck parked along a busy Philadelphia street exploded. Olga Galdemez, 42, and her daughter Jaylin, 17, were in the truck at the time. Both were rushed to the hospital but later passed away from severe injuries.
According to a report by NBC News, eight other people were hurt in the explosion, including a 13-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman who were both related to Galdemez. Fortunately, all of the others survived.
Investigators soon discovered the cause of the blast—a 100-pound propane tank sparked by a flame from the grill inside the truck. Unfortunately, yearly vehicle inspections do not always include propane tanks, particularly when they are part of the supplemental equipment on the truck.
This is just one example of an explosion that can occur on a bus or a truck, with deadly consequences. Fuel tanks on trucks and buses, as well as portable tanks, camper trailers, and gas tankers or trailers, can all explode under the right circumstances. Victims often require extensive medical care. Families of lost loved ones are left to pick up the pieces, often without knowing where to turn for help.
What Causes Bus and Gas Tank Explosions?
Fuel sources are extremely sensitive to heat and pressure, and therefore have to be carefully supported and contained. A bus or truck may explode into flames for several reasons, including the following:
- Defective fuel tank on the bus or truck
- Improper placement of the tank on the vehicle
- Defective support for the fuel tank
- Defectively designed or manufactured tanks that are prone to leakage or susceptible to damage in a collision.
- Defective fuel lines or fuel pumps
- Improper handling of supplemental propane, natural gas, or gasoline tanks
- Transporting these tanks in non-approved containers
- Improper maintenance of portable gas tanks
- Improper labeling or warnings on portable tanks
- Defectively designed or worn-out pressure valves
- Careless driving of a gas tanker or trailer
These and other factors can come together to cause an explosion either during a collision or when the vehicle is simply sitting on the road (as it was in the case at the beginning of this article). An experienced bus and truck gas tank lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into your case to gather as much evidence as possible—all of which can be used to determine liability and damages.
Your Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or even death because of a bus accident, the Pittsburgh, PA auto accident attorneys at Chaffin Luhana can help. We have the experience it takes to thoroughly examine a bus accident case, and will do everything possible to help you recover the damages you deserve. To find out how we can help you, contact us today. The attorneys at Chaffin Luhana have extensive experience and have recovered for many victims of roadway accidents.