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A bus collision can be quite dangerous for the occupants of the other car, for it is a far larger vehicle than most common passenger vehicles. Indeed, commercial buses weigh between 30,000 to 44,000 pounds, whereas the average compact car weighs 2,600 to 3,000 pounds. Damage occurs not only to the vehicle that the bus hit, but also to the bus passengers. If the accident involves a city bus, many working-class people may be hurt. If it involves a school bus, children may be victims. Victims of Albuquerque bus accidents who received serious injuries need personal injury lawyers they can trust. Zinda Law Group’s Albuquerque bus accident lawyers are here to help you with your personal injury claim.
If someone in your family was injured in a bus accident in the Albuquerque metropolitan area, call (800) 863-5312 to learn how a Zinda Law Group Albuquerque bus accident lawyer can help you today.
Common causes of bus accidents in Albuquerque, NM
Bus accidents happen for a variety of reasons. There could, for example, be an issue with the bus even before the driver gets behind the wheel or the passengers get onboard.
Mechanical issues do occur as these large vehicles require regular maintenance and repairs. In a mechanical failure situation, the party who will likely be liable is the entity who was in charge of maintaining the bus. One of the first things an experienced attorney will ask for in a bus accident case is the maintenance and repair log.
Bus accidents are more likely to occur as a result of driver negligence, but the possibility of a mechanical failure should not be disregarded. When the accident occurs as a result of negligence, the driver will not necessarily be the one who is ultimately held responsible. For example, the bus company may have been negligent in hiring the driver.
Determining liability is a job best reserved for a professional personal injury attorney because the liable party may not always be obvious. An Albuquerque personal injury lawyer can investigate the facts of your case to make this determination. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the liable party could one of several parties, or multiple parties.
Here are just a few of the causes of bus accidents in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico:
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Bus Driver Fatigue
Fatigued bus drivers feel sleepy, tired, or exhausted while driving a vehicle. Sometimes when they first get behind the wheel they are already exhausted, or later on long shifts they can’t help falling asleep at the wheel. In the most unfortunate of circumstances, the result of fatigued driving can be death for parties involved in the accident.
According to a Pub Med study of 238 bus drivers, 56% of the drivers reported being tired at least some of the time while driving. Of these, 65% of them reported being tired during the early morning, and 32% said that while they were driving, their eyes had fallen shut. With so many bus drivers reporting being tired while driving, it is actually surprising there aren’t more accidents caused by bus driver fatigue.
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Bad weather worsens road conditions. For example, heavy rain decreases visibility and makes the road slick. A bus’s large size and enormous weight means that driving a bus requires a great deal of care, and even more so in inclement weather.
Even in ordinary mild weather, buses require a longer stopping distance than passenger vehicles. If there is bad weather, they require an even longer stopping distance. The driver of the bus must acknowledge the conditions of the road and adjust their driving style accordingly.
Passengers should wear seat belts if they are available, especially if the roads are wet or icy. Furthermore, if you happen to be driving in a lane next to a bus in bad weather, take caution. You would be wise to increase your distance from the bus, drive more slowly, and stay out of their blind spots.
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Not only are buses heavier than passenger vehicles, but they are also much longer and have far more blind spots. If you are driving in the next lane, it is best not to drive alongside a bus for an extended period. First, their size makes the road feel narrow, and second, they have more blind spots than typical passenger vehicles.
Different types of buses have different degrees of visibility. The number of windows on the bus and the number of passengers it is carrying can affect the driver’s visibility, for example.
Typically around 40 feet long, buses can carry between 40 to 80 people. If there are not enough seats for everyone riding, some passengers may stand, obstructing the view of the driver.
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Reckless driving refers to driving with a willful or wanton disregard for safety, which could have serious consequences if done while operating a commercial vehicle. Essentially, the driver, despite knowing the risks, disregards the rules of the road. This includes going over the speed limit, but also extends to many other forms of driver misconduct.
Actions that could constitute reckless bus driving include:
- weaving in and out of traffic,
- tailgating, and
- failing to signal before turning.
When someone drives recklessly, they create unnecessary risk for the bus passengers and everyone else around them. For this reason, most states have a statute that addresses this reckless behavior. Bear in mind that even if there are criminal penalties associated with a reckless driving incident, that doesn’t mean your civil claim will necessarily be precluded.
Drunk driving is the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of a mind-altering substance. Getting behind the wheel when drunk is never a good idea, but it’s an especially bad idea when you are driving a large bus with a lot of passengers on it. By driving a bus drunk, the driver is putting all lives on the road at risk, including his or her own.
Some of the most unfortunate bus crashes have been the result of drinking and driving. Thus it should be clear that any amount of alcohol is too much when someone is operating a bus.
In addition to losing their careers due to DUIs, many bus drivers are responsible for devastating injuries and even multiple fatalities. Sadly, the passengers may never notice that their bus driver is drunk until it is too late. Because commercial vehicle accidents can be far deadlier than those between passenger vehicles, the law holds bus drivers to a higher standard.
Albuquerque bus accident lawyers can help you prove negligence
Negligence refers to a legal standard that stands for someone being aware of an unjustifiable risk, yet failing to act in a way that recognizes the risk. In the context of bus accidents, some examples of negligence include when bus drivers ignore traffic signals, text while they are driving, and speed. Essentially, when drivers act negligently, they are said to have lacked ordinary due care.
Still, it may not necessarily be the driver of the bus who was acting negligently. Maybe the accident was not his fault because he had to maneuver the bus around some construction on the roadway. There was nothing the driver could have done. Well, in that case, the negligent party was likely the entity in charge of the roadway construction.
Or the accident could have occurred as a result of some mechanical failure. The bus driver may have been operating the bus in a routine, safe manner. If so, the party held liable for the accident will not be the bus driver but rather the entity responsible for maintaining the bus.
Determining Negligence Requires Thorough Investigation by a Personal Injury Attorney
Determining who will be assessed liability is a task best suited for a skillful lawyer. Investigating the causes and events that led to the accident will take an Albuquerque accident lawyer who knows where to look. For example, Zinda Law Group accident investigation lawyers ruthlessly look for causal ties in order to establish negligence.
To establish a theory of negligence and to hold the defendant liable, 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.
An Albuquerque injury attorney will be well aware of what it takes to prove negligence. They can determine whether it applies in your case, and if it does, what you can do to be compensated for it.
When a highway accident in Albuquerque, NM, results in multiple fatalities, it shocks the community. Trust in the safety and reliability of the busing systems is left disappointed, and someone must be held accountable. An Albuquerque personal injury lawyer from Zinda Law group is well versed in this area of law and can help you seek maximum compensation if you were one of the injured.
People most affected by NM bus accidents
The people and parties affected by bus accidents vary. For example: the people downtown who truly depend on the city buses as well as ART (Albuquerque Rapid Transit) to get them to important places, including work and school. They need reliable transportation that shows up at the same place and time regularly.
Other effects of a bus accident include bodily injuries, some of which is immediately noticeable, while others only become apparent over time. Passengers on the bus may have severe injuries, depending on how fast the bus was traveling. For one thing, a lot of buses don’t have seatbelts, but additionally, if there was a large number of passengers on the bus, they could collide with one another throughout the course of the collision.
Transit vehicle accidents have serious consequences, and those consequences do not stop at the occurrence of the injury. The injury is likely to collaterally affect the passengers’ families.
If injured, victims could be laid up and out of commission for several weeks or perhaps longer. Not being able to work and with medical expenses adding up, they may no longer be able to serve the same financial role that they did before the accident. An Albuquerque bus accident attorney from Zinda Law Group will take this into account when evaluating the severity of the accident and the weight of the claim.
Types of Buses in Albuquerque
From office workers to school children, a lot of people in Albuquerque rely on buses. Parents send their kids to school trusting that the bus will get them there safely, and workers trust that their rides on the city transit bus will go smoothly. When an accident occurs, this trust is damaged, and the injured party is left to deal with medical bills and side effects of their injury.
School buses have been a feature of recent controversy in New Mexico. In one particular instance, a driver crashed into the side of a school bus while driving beyond the speed limit. Not only was this school bus accident avoidable, but unfortunately it occurred with children onboard. The driver is facing criminal charges in addition to the civil claims for the injuries that he caused.
It was not an extraordinarily rare event; the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that school bus-related crashes killed 54 people nationwide in 2020. The NSC now expects an increase in crashes as more buses return to the road following the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, the NSC has stated that school buses are the best option for transporting kids to school, even though, as shown by the previous example, some things are out of the control of parents when they send their kids to school by bus.
ultiple parties may have been involved in causing your bus crash. For example, a third party is often involved, whom the school has contracted to drive the vehicle or to handle the maintenance. These entities are usually nongovernmental and thus not immune from civil litigation. Determining liability will be difficult, but not impossible for an experienced personal injury attorney.
Public Transit Buses
Our local transit agency, ABQ RIDE, offers a valuable service to all the residents and visitors of Albuquerque. Nonetheless, there is a risk of a serious accident when traveling on the city public transit buses. These buses are difficult to operate, and accordingly require bus drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license—a serious, professional undertaking and responsibility!
Despite immense training, public bus drivers still are capable of making mistakes while driving and have on many occasions taken unnecessary risks. While public transit collisions are more likely to occur in urban areas with dense populations and street traffic, the circumstances of the crash will ultimately indicate what caused it and who is liable. For example, if the bus driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, the bus company may be held liable for negligent hiring.
Typically used for long trips and to carry many passengers, the average charter bus weighs over 50,000 lbs. When a vehicle of that size is involved in a collision, the damage can be catastrophic. Furthermore, the length of a trip in a charter bus can naturally impact the driver’s level of fatigue.
An accident involving a charter bus could be the result of various causes, including issues with the bus itself. Multiple parties could potentially be liable in the event of a charter bus accident. If they are and it can be proven, your chances of receiving monetary damage are increased.
First steps after an Albuquerque bus accident
A bus accident can leave you with serious injuries that require medical attention. If possible, alert someone of your condition immediately after an accident.
Remember, injuries may not be immediately identifiable. Your adrenaline may be pumping and your heart may be racing, so that you might not even realize you have been injured. For this reason, it is important that the first line of action after a bus accident is to seek treatment from a medical professional.
Document Your Experience and Other Evidence
After receiving medical treatment, take notes about what you remember from the accident or have someone take notes while listening to you recall the accident. Having notes detailing the accident can help your case in the future. Some other types of evidence that may increase the chances you succeed on your claim include photos of the accident and statements from other people who witnessed the crash or were victims themselves.
Give Your Evidence to Your Legal Advocate
Getting an Albuquerque bus accident attorney is the next step. As mentioned, the evidence of the accident will be used to prove your claim at trial. So, you will want to hire an attorney who has experience—who has handled cases like yours before.
Albuquerque bus accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group have a history of success with representing bus accident victims. We know what work it takes to preserve the evidence of the accident and ensure proper court procedures are followed. Our attorneys can be your best help in preserving precious evidence, contacting other victims of the accident, and filing your bus accident claim.
GET HELP FROM Albuquerque bus accident lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced team of attorneys focuses on protecting your rights and preparing your case after a bus accident. Our Albuquerque team knows New Mexico law and can help uncover all the facts of your case. When a bus accident claim comes our way, our attorneys come together to advocate for the people injured.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bus accident, our Albuquerque injury attorneys can help you and your family pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and much more. The Albuquerque bus accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group can work to seek awards for your losses and hold negligent parties accountable.
We know that bus accidents are serious and oftentimes life-threatening. They also cause extensive financial harm. That is why we offer 100% free consultations. 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.
If you were injured in an Albuquerque bus accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyer near you today.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
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