Whether you were a passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, or another motorist impacted by a bus accident, our legal team is prepared to guide you through Colorado’s complex legal landscape, working tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, and loss. Contact our bus accident attorneys in Colorado Springs today for your free consultation.
Buses are a relatively safe mode of transportation, and chartering a bus is certainly an efficient way to shuttle groups of tourists from one location to another. However, as statistically safe as they are, accidents can still happen and sometimes lead to insurance claims and lawsuits. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, call an experienced Colorado Springs bus accident lawyer immediately.
Why Choose our Bus Accident Attorneys in Colorado Springs?
At Green Law Firm P.C., our Colorado Springs bus accident lawyers are dedicated to championing the rights of individuals who have suffered as a result of bus accidents. With an impressive record in personal injury law and an in-depth understanding of the specific challenges related to bus accident cases, we offer an unwavering commitment to pursuing justice for our clients.
Determining Liability in a Tour Bus Accident
Any one of several different entities could be found liable in a tour bus accident including, the tour company, the bus company, even one of the various locations at which the bus stops. Sometimes, multiple parties could be held liable for contributory negligence if they had any part in causing the accident. Issues of liability can become complicated because the buses may be owned and operated by large companies or government entities.
Tour companies which hire bus companies with a documented history of safety violations or negligent activity could share liability with the bus company if an accident ensues and injuries result. Likewise, bus companies have a duty to maintain reasonably safe buses in their fleet, employ drivers and operators who meet basic requirements, and generally demonstrate its fitness as a common carrier. If a passenger trips or falls at a tour destination after leaving the bus, the venue operator may be liable for the passenger’s injuries.
Handling an injury claim after a bus accident is nothing like dealing with an accident involving a private passenger car. It is urgent that you retain an experienced bus accident attorney who can act quickly on your behalf to preserve your claim against the responsible party. However, if you were hit by a bus while driving your car, contact our Colorado Springs car accident attorneys.
Common Carrier Law in Colorado Springs Bus Accidents
In the eyes of Colorado and most federal laws, a bus is considered a “common carrier”- an entity whose business it is to move people or goods from one place to another for a fee. In addition to tour buses, school buses, commercial buses, taxi cabs, commercial airplanes, cruise ships, and some trucks are included in this designation. Because they are responsible for the safety of passengers, common carriers must be conscientious and exercise the utmost diligence in regards to this obligation.
Examples of negligence that often result in successful lawsuits against common carriers include:
- Poorly or inadequately maintained buses and equipment: All vehicles, including buses, require regular maintenance to ensure their safe operation. This maintenance can include checking and replacing worn-out brakes, monitoring and adjusting tire pressure, servicing the engine, checking the steering system, and ensuring that lights and signals are working correctly. If bus companies, schools, or other entities fail to maintain their buses adequately, the risk of malfunctions and accidents can increase. This neglect can result in brake failures, tire blowouts, steering issues, and other potentially catastrophic problems.
- Overloaded or improperly loaded buses: Buses have specific capacity limits regarding the number of passengers they can safely carry and the weight they can hold. Overloading a bus with passengers or cargo can cause undue stress on the vehicle’s structure and systems, impairing its handling and increasing the risk of a rollover. Moreover, improperly balanced loads can destabilize the bus, making it harder to control, particularly in emergencies or adverse conditions.
- Bus operators who are overtired, under the influence of intoxicants, or inadequately trained: The safety of a bus largely depends on the driver’s competence and condition. Overtired operators may suffer from impaired judgment, slower reaction times, or even the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Operators under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications can also have reduced reaction times and impaired judgment. Finally, inadequately trained operators may lack the necessary skills to handle a large bus, especially in challenging traffic situations or adverse weather conditions. They may not know how to respond effectively in emergencies, increasing the risk of accidents. For all these reasons, it’s critical that bus operators are well-rested, sober, and properly trained
When negligence results in injuries, victims may sue for damages. However, if the bus driver was exercising a reasonable degree of care and the bus accident happened as the result of some other vehicle being driven recklessly, a court would most likely not find the bus driver negligent.
Laws Specific to Colorado Springs Bus Commercial Vehicles
Given the large size and potential for mass casualties in the event of an accident, buses are generally classified as commercial vehicles. This classification is not just for buses used in business operations but also includes public transit buses, school buses, and tour buses.
As commercial vehicles, buses are subject to a higher standard of care under both state and federal laws. Drivers of these vehicles are typically required to hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which mandates that they pass more rigorous testing than required for a standard driver’s license. These tests assess the driver’s ability to operate larger vehicles safely and often include written and practical exams. Moreover, bus drivers must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
These standards are designed to increase safety for both bus occupants and other road users. The FMCSA mandates restrictions on hours of service to prevent fatigue-related accidents, requiring adequate rest periods between driving stints. For instance, bus drivers are generally limited to 10 hours of driving following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
In addition to driver qualifications and hours of service, the FMCSA also sets stringent maintenance standards for commercial vehicles. Regular inspections are required, with particular attention paid to critical safety components like brakes and tires. If a bus is found to have been inadequately maintained, the company operating the bus can be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result.
Compliance with these laws and regulations is crucial to ensuring the safety of bus passengers and the general public. In the event of a bus accident, evidence of non-compliance can serve as strong evidence of negligence on the part of the bus operator or company.
Types of Colorado Springs Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accidents can result in catastrophic injuries to passengers, pedestrians and riders in other vehicles. These may include brain and spinal cord injuries, sprains, fractures, burn injuries, soft tissue injuries, abrasions and death. Victims can face colossal medical bills, debilitating injuries, or even death.
Here are some of the common Colorado Springs bus accident injuries that we see at Green Law Firm P.C.:
- Head and Brain Injuries: These can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries. Such injuries can occur if a passenger’s head strikes a window, seat, or other object during a collision.
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis: Severe bus accidents can result in damage to the spinal cord, potentially leading to partial or complete paralysis.
- Fractures: Arms, legs, ribs, or other bones can be fractured or broken due to the force of impact during a bus accident.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These include sprains, strains, and tears to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Whiplash, an injury to the neck caused by a sudden movement of the head, is a common soft tissue injury in bus accidents.
- Lacerations and Abrasions: Broken glass or metal can cause deep cuts, while abrasions can occur from being thrown against rough surfaces. These injuries can lead to significant blood loss and may leave scars.
- Internal Injuries: The force of a bus accident can cause internal injuries, including internal bleeding or damage to organs, which can be life-threatening.
- Psychological Trauma: Beyond physical injuries, bus accident victims often suffer psychological trauma. They may experience conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression as a result of the accident.
Special Considerations for Colorado Spring Public Bus Accidents
A bus accident involving a Colorado Springs public bus has different rules compared to private entities. These public entities enjoy a degree of immunity from lawsuits due to a doctrine known as “sovereign immunity,” but this immunity is not absolute.
Under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA), victims can file a claim against a government entity if their injuries were caused by a public employee acting within the scope of their employment, and the circumstances of the incident fall within certain defined waivers of immunity, such as the operation of a motor vehicle.
However, before filing a lawsuit against a government entity in Colorado, a formal notice of claim must be sent to the appropriate agency within 182 days of the incident occurring. This notice must include specific information such as the factual basis for the claim, the nature and extent of the injury, and the amount of damages being claimed.
It’s crucial to note that the 182-day period is much shorter than the standard statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Colorado, which is generally two years from the date of the accident. This makes it even more important for victims to act promptly when a public entity is involved.
Furthermore, the CGIA places caps on the amount of damages that can be recovered in a lawsuit against a government entity, with a limit of $350,000 per person and $990,000 per incident.
Contact our Colorado Springs Bus Accidents Lawyer Today
Contact the personal injury attorneys in Colorado at the Green Law Firm P.C. We understand that the aftermath of a bus accident can be a deeply challenging and confusing time. Our experienced Colorado Springs bus accident lawyers are here to provide the guidance and support you need.
We are committed to pursuing justice on your behalf and to holding responsible parties accountable. Don’t let the complexities of legal procedures overwhelm you and prevent you from claiming the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation and let our skilled legal team guide you on the path towards recovery and resolution. Your well-being is our priority, and we stand ready to fight for you.