Colorado Springs Bus Accident Lawyer

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You do not want to be a passenger when a bus is involved in an accident. Nor do you want to be inside the vehicle that the bus hits, because the average city bus weighs between 25,000 and 40,000 pounds. Just based on the sheer weight of the bus, the results of a crash can be catastrophic. Additionally, it may be difficult to determine who or what party is responsible. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident in CO, knowing who is liable is very important. Our Colorado Springs bus accident lawyers are here to help.

The attorneys at Zinda Law Group represent bus passengers and other motorists involved in bus collisions. If you need help or have any questions regarding your legal rights after your bus accident, we are here to assist you with your claim. Call (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free case evaluation and learn how our Colorado Springs bus accident lawyers can help you today.

The danger of buses

Buses are far larger than most other vehicles on the road. With some bus cruisers weighing over 50,000 pounds and carrying over 150 passengers, the results of a crash often include multiple injuries and sometimes fatalities. Mountain Metropolitan Transit offers a crucial service to the city of Colorado Springs, but this does not mean that there isn’t a risk in taking public transit.

Although bus drivers earn a valid commercial driver’s license, they still make mistakes. It is easy to become distracted while driving, or just take a quick glance at the phone. But due to the nature of buses, mistakes can simply not be afforded, for when a bus driver makes a mistake, destruction is almost sure to follow.

Aside from the sheer size of buses making them potentially hazardous, there are less obvious risks associated with buses. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, on average, 55,000 bus accidents occur every year.

Indeed, there are dangers both inside and outside of the bus. A Colorado bus accident attorney will know the extent of these dangers and could expound upon a few of the dangers listed below:

Blindspot Risks

Each bus type will have its own degree of visibility. Things affecting visibility include not only the number of windows on the bus but also the number of passengers that it is carrying at any one time.

Transit buses are usually about 40 feet long, so they can carry many passengers. One problem there is that there are rarely enough seats for everyone riding, so passengers sometimes have to stand, obstructing the view of the driver.

Overcrowding

Reiterating this point, blind spots for the driver can be created by having an overcrowded bus. There is a high demand for public transportation, and urban buses are usually jampacked in rush hour during a typical workweek. Imagine that an accident occurs with all those people on the bus. When accidents occur in this type of scenario, the injuries are often severe.

Lack of Restraints

The safety mechanisms on the bus vary from bus to bus and from model to model. Ordinary passenger vehicles have safety belts and other forms of restraints for their passengers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) recommends that buses have them, but many are not yet equipped with them. Whether the bus that you were a passenger in had seat belts or other safety mechanisms in place is something that an attorney will likely use as part of your case.

Increased Force at Impact

The large size of the bus leads to greater force at impact. As a result, bus accident injuries sustained by people in the hit vehicle are often severe and more likely to result in fatalities.

A passenger vehicle is far lighter than a bus and will be seriously damaged if in an accident with a bus. The same concept applies to cyclists and pedestrians; bus collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians are more likely to result in fatalities.

Common causes of bus accidents

According to crash statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Colorado had nearly 2,000 bus crashes that resulted in over 642 injuries and 88 deaths in 2020. These crashes could have occurred for a myriad of reasons.

Some road accidents involve a school bus or a municipal bus operated by the city of Colorado Springs. Depending on the circumstances, it might be difficult to track down the person or entity who was ultimately responsible for a particular bus crash.

Neglected Maintenance

Buses have a heavy workload that requires recurring maintenance and parts repair. The bus driver may or may not be able to tell if something is wrong with the bus or if it is not operating normally. To this point, part of a passenger’s safety is in the hands of the driver who could be operating the bus negligently.

Bus accidents are often complicated, as many people sustain injuries at once. Having an attorney who is experienced with the various circumstances in which these bus accidents occur is extremely valuable. In determining liability after a bus accident, the facts of the case matter.

The circumstances of your case may be difficult to determine. Let’s consider a few other common causes—besides maintenance neglect—of bus accidents:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has nearly become a habit amongst casual drivers, and it’s not hard to imagine a bus driver engaging in the same behavior. Drivers may become distracted by passengers, when using their phones, or by reaching for items that they dropped.

In any case, the driver diverts their attention when they should be focused on operating the vehicle. When a bus driver becomes distracted the lives of the passengers are at stake.

Tired Driving

The Colorado Department of Public Safety recognizes fatigued driving as a prohibited practice while driving a commercial motor vehicle. Bus drivers have long days in which they travel the same route continuously. They must take breaks from driving or else they may become drowsy or fatigued.

The driver’s alertness to changing road conditions and ability to react become impaired when they are feeling fatigued or suffering from an illness. Drivers who begin to feel this way should take a break or not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Congested Roadways

In more densely populated areas of the Colorado Springs metropolitan area, three factors are at play: narrow roadways, pedestrians, and traffic. The bus being so large makes it difficult for drivers to navigate through these areas. The narrow roadways make it difficult for buses to turn without hitting something.

In addition, the bus weight and size require a driver to start braking well in advance of their stop. This creates a danger for pedestrians. Lastly, the number of cars in downtown make lane switches and frequent stops hazardous.

Inclement Weather

Inclement weather is a leading cause of road accidents in the United States. A large bus requires extra caution when being operated in poor weather conditions.

Bus drivers must take into consideration the state of the weather and drive accordingly. For example, if the bus driver knows the roads are slick because it rained earlier in the day, they may be acting negligently when they fail to increase their stopping distances and rear-end a car at an intersection.

Poor Road Maintenance

If the road the bus is on has been poorly maintained, the ride is sure to be a bumpy one. Perhaps there is a large pothole in the middle of the road. The bus catches the dip in the road, and the bus driver loses control of the bus, causing it to turn onto its side, injuring the passengers.

If the bus driver could have avoided the pothole but didn’t, he may have been acting negligently at the time of the crash. If the pothole was unavoidable, the government authority responsible for maintaining the road will likely be liable.

Speeding

As stated, bus drivers must continually consider that buses weigh far more than passenger vehicles. By driving over the speed limit, the driver is ignoring laws put in place that keep everyone safe on the roadway. Speeding may result in the driver losing control of the vehicle or prevent them from stopping in time.

Different types of buses in Colorado springs

Bus transit is used by many people in Colorado Springs. School children take the bus five days a week, twice a day, and parents trust that the bus and the driver are safe.

Every day, patrons rely on the bus to get to work and trust that Mountain Metro buses will get them there safely. After an accident, it is easy to feel that this trust has been broken.

Depending on the type of bus, the party who may be held liable varies. In other words, it is not always clear who is legally responsible for your injuries.

Various factors could cause an accident to occur, including issues with the bus itself. Indeed, multiple parties could be liable at once. So it is important for you and your personal injury attorney to consider the possibility of legally holding more than one person or entity to account for the accident.

Charter Buses

People traveling through rural areas often take charter buses. Not only are charter buses designed for long trips, but they often fit a large number of passengers.

In accidents with numerous injured passengers, the charter bus company is the one that is often held liable for their injuries and damages. Their liability could stem from failing to ensure the maintenance of the bus or perhaps they engaged in the negligent hiring of an irresponsible driver.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides the requirements with which bus companies must abide. One of many possible parts defects could result in an accident occurring, but crashes are usually associated with the failure to comply with applicable safety requirements. The attorneys at Zinda Law Group know these requirements and can use this knowledge to your advantage in seeking recovery.

Public Buses

Mountain Metro Transit (MMT) is a vital service for Colorado Springs residents. MMT uses standard diesel transit buses which are designed to be functional and safe. However, breakdowns still occur, and they have been involved in some serious accidents.

Transit buses are most often operated in urban areas with dense populations. For this reason, a bus accident usually results in collateral damage. Was your property damaged by a recent bus crash?

When an accident involves a public bus, the municipality will likely be assigned liability. If you are involved in a transit bus accident, don’t answer any questions about the accident until after you’ve spoken to a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer.

The more severe the crash, the more likely it is that the municipality will launch its own investigation. The focus of their inquiry will be to determine not whether they can help you after the accident, but the potential of their being held liable. Your attorney can help you resolve the question of whether they may be held accountable for your injuries.

School Bus

School bus accidents are sensitive in nature because those injured are most often young children. The National Safety Council (NSC) advises that following Covid-19, there will be more buses on the road and therefore an increase in accidents nationwide. The party most often injured in school bus accidents are the occupants of the other vehicles.

If your vehicle was hit by a school bus, you may have a claim against several parties. Sometimes the school bus system is run by the city, and sometimes the school district has a contract with a third party for busing services. A Colorado Springs bus accident attorney from Zinda Law Group will look at the relationships of all parties involved and assess the chances of a successful claim against them.

Proving Negligence

The standard that is most likely to be applied in a bus accident case is the standard of negligence. Negligence refers to someone having ought to be aware of an unjustifiable risk but fails to act in a way that recognizes the risk. In the context of a bus accident, some examples include:

  • ignoring traffic signals,
  • texting while driving,
  • deviating from established bus routes, and
  • speeding.

When drivers act negligently, they are said to have lacked ordinary due care. To hold a defendant liable for negligence, the plaintiff must establish the following four elements by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to conform to a specific standard of care.
  • The defendant breached that duty.
  • The breach was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm.
  • The victim suffered damages because of the accident.

A personal injury attorney from ZLG is familiar with this standard. We can help you apply the facts of the case to each prong when it comes time to prove your claims to a judge and jury.

Colorado Springs bus accident lawyers are here to assist you with your claim

At Zinda Law Group, our experienced team of attorneys focuses on protecting your rights and preparing your case after an accident in Colorado Springs. A Colorado Springs personal injury attorney can help you and your family pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and much more.

Furthermore, bus accident injuries often require a lengthy recovery period. A Colorado Springs accident attorney with Zinda Law Group can empathize. That is why we work hard to seek awards for your losses and hold negligent parties accountable.

We offer 100% free consultations, and you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your injury case. That is our No Win No Fee Guarantee!

A Colorado Springs personal injury attorney from our firm would be honored to serve you during this challenging time. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a bus accident in Colorado Springs, call (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation with us today.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.