Bus drivers, like other motorists, have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. However, unlike drivers of personal vehicles, most bus drivers are commercially licensed and are operating as “common carriers.” Simply put, a common carrier is a person or company that transports passengers for a fee. Examples of common carriers include buses, taxi-cabs, and semi-trucks.
Drivers always have a duty of care to ensure that they are safely operating their vehicles. This includes a duty to all other motorists on the road, as well as to the passengers inside the driver’s vehicle. However, the duty that a common carrier owes to its passengers is greater than the duty a member of the general public owes to a passenger.
Lawsuits brought against common carriers in the wake of a serious or fatal accident must meet several criteria before the injured party is entitled to compensation. Primarily, the injured party must show that the common carrier was somehow negligent. This most often is proven through evidence showing that the carrier was somehow careless or reckless in the operation or maintenance of the vehicle.
California Bus Crash Kills 13 and Injures Dozens More
Earlier last month in California, an accident between a bus and a semi-truck claimed the lives of over a dozen people and injured many more. According to a national news source reporting on the accident, the bus was transporting gamers back to the Los Angeles area from a casino several hours away. At around 5:00 a.m., the bus rear-ended the semi-truck on a major highway, resulting in a chaotic and tragic scene.
Investigators arrived on the scene moments after the fatal accident and could immediately tell that the accident occurred while the bus was traveling at a much higher speed than the semi-truck. Furthermore, based on a lack of skid marks on the highway, it appeared as though the bus made no efforts to brake or change lanes in the moments leading up to the fatal accident. Investigators went on to explain that they believe the semi-truck was traveling at a reasonable speed, and for some unknown reason the bus was traveling at a much higher rate of speed.
The driver of the bus, as well as 12 other passengers, perished in the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.
Have You Been a Victim of a Negligent Bus Driver?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a Maryland or Washington, D.C. bus accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Even if your injuries seem minor, often the serious and lasting effects of an accident take time to develop. Regardless of the extent of your injuries, it is prudent to consult with a dedicated attorney to determine if you have a case. The skilled Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of experience handing all types of personal injury cases, including those arising from bus accidents. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up your free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Plaintiff Alleging Shuttle Bus Injury Allowed to Proceed Toward Trial Against Owner Based on Actions of Third Parties, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published November 3, 2016.
Liability in Maryland Truck Accidents May Extend Beyond the Truck Driver, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published October 28, 2016.