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Bus accidents occur more infrequently than car, truck, or motorcycle accidents. However, large numbers of people may be critically injured or killed in a serious bus crash. Our Virginia Beach bus accident lawyers have the experience to take on these big cases.

Typically, bus accidents in Virginia fall into three categories, namely:

  • Accidents involving tour buses;
  • Accidents involving school buses;
  • Wrecks involving public transit buses.

A series of accidents involving buses across America made headlines and claimed lives in recent years. The tour bus industry, in particular, has come under scrutiny for lax safety standards. If you have suffered injuries as the result of an accident, consult with an injury attorney to discuss your case today.

Tour Bus Accidents

Our Virginia Beach bus accident lawyers remain concerned about safety in the tour bus industry after several catastrophic crashes. They include:

  • 2005 – A bus carrying nursing home residents away from the path of Hurricane Rita caught fire and exploded in traffic on a road south of Dallas in Texas, killing 23 elderly patients too infirm to escape.
  • 2011 – A tour bus hit a light pole in New York City, killing 15 passengers and injuring many more. Although evidence suggested the driver was tired, he was acquitted of manslaughter charges by a jury.
  • 2011 – Four passengers were killed and many more were injured when a tour bus flipped over on I-95 in Caroline County in Virginia. The driver fell asleep at the wheel. He was convicted of four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
  • 2013 – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration closed down 52 tour operators as part of a national crackdown. The FMSCA investigation uncovered drivers whose licenses were suspended or who drove more than 800 miles without resting.
  • 2016 – A tour bus carrying gamblers home from a desert casino to Los Angeles in California plowed into the rear of a truck, killing 13 including the driver. A California Highway Patrol investigation determined that the bus was doing 76 mph. The trucker was charged with multiple offenses after it was determined he illegally stopped his vehicle on the highway.

The FMSCA’s hours of service regulations provide rules for drivers of passenger carrying vehicles. They may drive a maximum of ten hours after eight hours of rest.

School bus accidents occur more frequently than tour bus crashes. School bus drivers are often to blame for these wrecks.

How Common Are School Bus Accidents in Virginia Beach?

School bus accidents occur regularly in Hampton Roads. Students have been treated for injuries in recent school bus crashes in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake.

School bus accident claims are complicated. Special rules apply to limit when bus drivers and school districts can be sued under the rules of sovereign immunity. An experienced Virginia Beach bus accident attorney can explain your rights. Every year hundreds of students are injured in Virginia school bus crashes. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported in 2017. However, in that year, 586 school bus crashes were reported, resulting in injuries to 215 passengers and 75 drivers.

How a Virginia School Bus Accident Lawyer Can Fight for Your Rights

A Virginia Beach bus accident lawyer will assess your injuries and consider whether you have a case against a school district or another party. Many school bus accidents in Hampton Roads are caused by the negligence of a school bus driver.

Given the size and weight of school buses, other road users often suffer more serious injuries than the passengers in a school bus. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 65 percent of people killed in school-transportation related accidents lose their lives after being hit by a school bus.

The shortage of school bus drivers in many parts of Hampton Roads may lead to inexperienced drivers being behind the wheels of these heavy and dangerous vehicles. School buses hit other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians for a number of different reasons.

  • Drivers fail to slow down for weather or road conditions and exceed posted speed limits;
  • Drivers lose control and cause school buses to roll over on ramps and other curves;
  • Drivers perform improper lane changes;
  • School bus drivers tailgate or follow too closely;
  • Drivers are distracted by cellphones or electronic devices;
  • A school division fails to safely maintain its buses to avoid brake and tire failures and other issues

Who is Liable for a Virginia Beach School Bus Collision?

If your child is hurt in a school bus crash or you are injured in another vehicle, you can pursue a claim for compensation against the responsible party.

You may have grounds for a claim against a bus driver, a mechanic, a manufacturer, a school district or another driver who caused a school bus accident.

If the bus driver is employed by a bus company or another entity, that entity can be held liable for actions of its drivers if they are within the scope of their employment. In some cases, healthcare companies have been sued for failing to adequately screen school bus drivers for commercial driver certifications.

Typically, school bus drivers are employed by school districts or local municipal governments. The legal doctrine called sovereign immunity may complicate claims.

Sovereign immunity is a centuries-old rule that originated in English Common Law. The king or queen was protected from wrongdoing. Today, sovereign immunity limits when government employees and municipal entities in cities such as Virginia Beach or Newport News or the Commonwealth of Virginia can be sued. Although sovereign immunity can complicate a case, cities pay up in lawsuits in some circumstances.

A Virginia Beach bus crash lawyer with a long track record of fighting these cases can advise you of your chances of success.

Crashes Involving Hampton Roads Transit Buses and Other City Buses

Public transit buses may also be involved in crashes. In Tidewater, Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) buses have been involved in wrecks that have injured passengers or pedestrians who were hit and hurt by buses.

Crashes involving public transit buses may occur more often than we think. A report by the New York Post found the Big Apple’s MTA buses racked up 21,823 crashes over 31 months from the start of 2015 — an average of 23 per day.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Beach Bus Accident Attorney

The veteran team at Cooper Hurley Injury Attorneys is ready to help you seek compensation after a bus accident whether you were a passenger, a driver or in a vehicle hit by a bus. 

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