Buses are a common sight on Florida roads, whether they’re transporting kids to school, carrying city dwellers to work or errands, or setting out on a longer vacation or other road trip. Whether it’s an exciting adventure or part of a daily routine, getting on a bus should never be a cause for alarm – but when a devastating bus accident claims the life of a loved one, the lives of those left behind can be turned upside-down in an instant.
When a bus accident causes death, certain members of the deceased person’s family may choose to file a “wrongful death” claim to hold any negligent parties responsible and to seek needed compensation. In a wrongful death case arising from a bus accident, it’s important to consider every possible party whose negligence may have caused or contributed to the fatal situation.
Bus Company and/or Driver Negligence
As a “common carrier,” bus companies have a duty to use reasonable care to protect passengers from injury. This means not only hiring competent drivers who avoid distractions or fatigue while behind the wheel, but also making sure that buses are kept in the proper condition, so that a breakdown from neglected maintenance does not trigger a crash or other accident. Maintenance should be performed on the bus’s engine and other mechanical parts, on its exterior, and on interior equipment like seats, seat belts, windows, luggage compartments, and other areas. The breakdown or failure of any of these parts might cause a death if a crash occurs – or turn what would have been a survivable injury into a fatal condition.
Mechanical Defects or Improper Repairs
Despite the high standard of care to which buses and other “common carriers” are held, some accidents occur even if the bus company and driver are taking care to protect passengers. Any part of a bus’s engine, drive train, or other equipment that has a hidden defect might cause an accident. For instance, if the bus’s steering column contains a defective part that breaks while the bus is on the road, even a careful driver may not be able to control the bus sufficiently to prevent a crash. Likewise, if the steering column’s parts are good but a repair job was done incorrectly, an accident may occur.
Dangerous Roadway Conditions
In some parts of Florida and other U.S. states, road conditions are not adequate to warn or protect drivers from serious hazards. Missing or improper signs, signals, and lane markings, broken pavement, dangerously sharp curves, and missing or broken guardrails are just a few examples of dangerous roadway conditions that might result in a fatal bus accident.
Bus companies and their drivers have some control over driving safety, but they cannot prevent or stop negligent behavior by other drivers on the road. If the driver of another vehicle collides with a bus due to distraction, alcohol use, fatigue, or some other reason, the passengers on the bus may pay with their lives – through absolutely no fault of their own.
Standing Up for Our Clients
At Farah & Farah, our skilled Jacksonville bus accident attorneys understand how devastating it is to lose a loved one, especially in a sudden bus accident. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping Florida families get the compensation they need and hold any negligent parties responsible for the harm they have caused. For a free and confidential consultation, contact us today at 855-797-9899.