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Traveling by bus is a great way to get around Las Cruces to see the different sights and sounds of this beautiful City of the Garden of Crosses. However, riding the bus can turn into a nightmare when it crashes. If you have been involved in a bus accident and need a personal injury lawyer in Las Cruces, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation today with an experienced Las Cruces bus accident lawyer.
Because a passenger has little protection when a bus accident occurs, they may suffer severe injuries. When that happens, they will want a personal injury attorney who knows how to guide them through the legal process. To do that, a good lawyer must stay up-to-date on all the facts about bus accidents, starting with how prevalent they are.
Read More: What Should I Do After A Bus Accident?
Bus Accident Statistics
Riding the bus is a cost-efficient and environmentally safe way of traveling, but a 2010 study from the University of Michigan showcased how dangerous it can be also. It found that on average, approximately 63,000 buses are involved in an accident every year. Of those accidents, 14,000 resulted in at least one injury and 325 resulted in fatal injuries.
In the years since then, things have only gotten worse. In 2019, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 84 school buses, 15 intercity buses, and 78 transit buses were involved in fatal crashes. Indeed, the United States Department of Transportation determined that approximately 67,000 accidents occur annually now, for an average of 183 accidents per day.
For a free legal consultation with a bus accidents lawyer serving Las Cruces, call 800-863-5312
Typical Victims of Bus Accidents in Las cruces, NM
The numbers suggest that bus accidents are responsible for numerous bus passenger deaths, but not all of the victims of bus accidents are their passengers. Some of them are people who were outside the bus, in other cars or on bikes, just trying to share the road. The most common bus accident victims include:
- Bus passengers
- Other motorists
- Property owners
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that from 2011-2020 approximately 86% of fatal injuries in school-bus related crashes were from occupants of other vehicles or from pedestrians. Only 5% of the fatal injuries were from bus passengers.
Importantly, the NHTSA found that bus passengers made up 33% of the reported injuries. The likely explanation is that the sheer size and weight of most buses will lead to higher injury rates. After all, pedestrians and individuals in other vehicles have less protection when a bus accident occurs.
Indeed, bus accidents have a greater tendency than simple car accidents to cause intense damage to a multitude of other vehicles, property, and people. Were you injured recently by a bus accident? Perhaps you are someone whose family was recently impacted by a bus crash in or near Las Cruces. If so, Zinda Law Group can help you recover compensation for your losses.
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Types of Buses Involved In Accidents
Several types of buses are most frequently involved in accidents. Most of us have ridden on at least one at some point in our lives.
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1. School Buses
School buses are usually safe modes of transportation for bringing children to school. However, when accidents occur, children are often injured as a result.
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2. City and Public Buses
City and public buses are helpful for commuters getting to work and travelers wanting to see Las Cruces inexpensively. Unfortunately, the quantity of people served by buses each day takes a toll, which can lead to mechanical problems and a bad accident.
3. Private And Charter Buses
These kinds of buses often carry large numbers of people, perhaps as part of a tour or a private party. When a private bus or charter bus accident happens, there is a high potential for a lot of people to suffer injuries as a result.
Hotels and airports use shuttles to conveniently transport multiple people to and from nearby popular locations. Due to their unusual shape and frequent stops, shuttles are prone to road accidents.
If you’d like to know more details about any of these kinds of buses, call Zinda Law Group. Our Las Cruces bus accident lawyers can provide you with more information regarding relevant bus accident statistics and facts. For example, we know intimately how devastating bus accident injuries can be to NM families, for we have helped many to recover.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Due to the sheer size of buses and the lack of seatbelts on many of them, injuries from a bus accident are typically more severe than accidents involving a regular vehicle. A non-exhaustive list of potential injuries from one include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck pain
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Permanent disability
- Psychological trauma
If you or someone you love were injured in a bus accident in Las Cruces, they may have suffered one or more of these injuries. You’ll want to speak to a NM personal injury lawyer who can help you recover. When you do, one of the first things he will ask is, “How did your accident happen?”
How Do Bus Accidents Happen?
A bus accident may take place in any of countless ways. Furthermore, the person who caused the accident may not even be the bus driver himself. If the bus driver does cause the accident, it could be the result of multiple decisions or behaviors, such as:
- Making a wide turn
- Driving while fatigued
- Being distracted from driving
- Not adjusting for bad weather and/or road conditions
- Not using the bus’s turn signal before changing lanes
- Operating while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
As stated before, sometimes the bus driver is not the reason for the accident. Instead, it may be the result of one or more of these other things:
- A poorly maintained bus
- Lack of safety equipment
- The bus engine catching on fire
- Parts of the bus improperly put together
- The bus company inadequately training the bus driver
When other persons than the driver are responsible for a bus crash, it only adds to the confusion. An experienced personal injury accident lawyer will know how to investigate to learn the truth about who is to blame. We must know that in order to proceed with filing a claim for damages compensation, but first things first: your immediate safety.
What You Should Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Bus Accident
There are important steps to take after going through a bus accident. Taking care treat any injuries immediately is only the first.
1. Seek Medical Attention If Necessary
In the immediate aftermath of a bus accident, you should examine yourself to determine whether your injuries are serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention. If you are injured, get to the emergency room as soon as possible.
2. Contact Las Cruces Police
After evaluating your health, contact the local police to report the accident. A police officer will arrive on the scene shortly to evaluate the accident and obtain information. As you provide the police with your side of the story, be mindful of the words you use and avoid admitting that the accident is your fault. Obtain the police officer’s name, badge number, and police report number. Make sure to request a copy of the report afterwards. It is also convenient to do so online.
If it is safe, take photos of the accident scene and include as many of these things as you can:
- Any injuries you suffered
- The bus, including license plate number
- The driver
- Any other party who is responsible (like a driver of another car)
- The area where the accident occurred
- Damaged property
- Anything else that will provide evidence of the destruction caused by the accident
If there are witnesses, make sure to obtain their name and contact information as they will be helpful in proving your side of the case if you pursue a claim. Since your memory may fade, their testimony will help, yet it is important to document as much relevant information as you can while the event is fresh in your mind. Therefore, take notes about the accident, including how it happened, who caused your accident to occur, and any other details that you feel could be helpful.
3. Get A Medical Examination If Necessary
Even if you feel fine after an accident, you should still seek medical attention as symptoms may not show until days later. A visit to your primary doctor can reveal whether you have suffered an injury and, if so, to what extent.
Furthermore, it is very important that you document any and all medical expenses you paid while treating your injuries. Also record information regarding how the injury from the accident has negatively interfered with your day-to-day life. Such information will greatly assist a Las Cruces injury attorney in determining the extent of your injury and the value of your claim.
4. Obtain the Services of a Las Cruces Bus Accident Attorney
Your next step should be to hire an experienced Las Cruces personal injury attorney who can navigate through the relevant laws and talk to the insurance companies. Our team at Zinda Law Group knows how to handle filing a claim for a Las Cruces accident, from beginning to end. We can help you obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.
Determining Fault for a Bus Accident
It can be difficult to determine who is the responsible party for a bus accident. It may be one person or many, which is why every case should be examined on an individual basis. That being said, there are several types of parties who are usually responsible for bus accidents:
1. The Bus Driver
A bus driver is the first party to look to when determining against whom to bring a lawsuit. A driver will be responsible if their negligence caused the bus accident. Negligence means that a party failed to behave in a manner that an ordinary person would have.
For example, if a bus accident occurs because the driver was texting on their cellphone, they are negligent. Any reasonable person operating a bus would focus their attention on the road. Other examples for when a driver is responsible for a bus accident are when the driver operated the vehicle in a reckless manner and lost control of the wheel, or while intoxicated.
2. The Bus Company
The owner of a bus may be a private company, a school, or a local government municipality. Bus companies can be negligent for accidents when they have:
- Poor hiring practices
- Improper bus driver training
- No safety policies in place
- Failed to enforce safety policies
- Not maintained proper conditions for the bus
Under vicarious liability, lawsuits after a bus accident often target the bus driver and the bus driver’s employer at the same time. Vicarious liability means that one party is responsible for the unlawful activity of another party. The doctrine is especially common in regard to the employer-employee relationship, such as a bus driver and the bus company who employs them.
By choosing to employ a driver, a bus company is potentially liable for any mistakes the driver makes while on the job. For example, if a bus driver causes an accident due to not having the proper training on how to safely navigate during adverse weather conditions, you can sue the bus company for not fulfilling its obligation to provide sufficient training to its employees.
Further, buses that are not inherently local (such as school buses used for sports teams and inter-city buses) are subject to federal regulations due to crossing state lines. These buses are common carriers. A common carrier bus company has the highest duty to ensure that the buses are operating safely and getting passengers to their destinations.
3. The Bus Manufacturer
A manufacturer has the obligation to make sure that their products work as intended and are safe for consumers. Some bus accidents occurred because an important component of the bus failed to work. When a bus has a defective electrical system, brake failure, or improperly installed fuel tank and ends up in an accident, the bus manufacturer is likely to blame.
4. The Driver of Another Vehicle
The driver of another vehicle could be responsible for the bus accident if the driver was:
- Driving recklessly
- Tailgating behind the bus
- Ignoring a bus’s stop sign
- Failing to brake behind a stopped bus
If you were injured in a bus accident, you’ll want the investigation to determine exactly who was to blame. If multiple parties are liable for your injury, you may have more than one avenue for compensation. Zinda Law Group attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation in their pursuit of the maximum amount of compensation you deserve from everyone responsible.
5. The Municipality
The state or local municipality may be liable for injuries caused by an accident involving a public bus. Similar to a private bus company, a municipality can be responsible for the actions of their driver that led to a public bus accident. They may also have been negligent by:
- Providing inadequate or poor driver training
- Improperly maintaining the buses, or
- Irresponsible hiring procedures.
Your Las Cruces bus accident attorney will advise you on what party or parties are responsible for your bus accident. They will also help you navigate the legal process so that you don’t have to pursue your claim alone.
What Can You Expect For Compensation?
Under New Mexico law, for a personal injury lawsuit, you have the ability to obtain economic damages, non-economic damages, and potentially punitive damages. In a circumstance where the victim of the bus accident passes away due to their injury, a loved one can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim. The same types of compensation are available whether you are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit.
Economic damages is compensation for monetary losses such as:
- Medical expenses (past and future),
- Loss of earnings,
- Loss of use of property,
- and loss of future employment.
To ensure you receive accurate compensation for your economic damages, keep documents which prove your losses in the form of medical expenses, property damages, and missed work.
Non-economic damages is compensation for non-monetary losses such as:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Inconvenience, and
- Loss of companionship.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify than economic damages. However, your attorney will help determine the value of your non-monetary losses.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than making the victim “whole again.” Your case must meet a very high standard to obtain punitive damages. A court may award punitive damages in addition to economic damages in a situation where the responsible party was reckless or acted intentionally.
In New Mexico, there are no damage caps for personal injury cases arising out of bus accidents. You’ll want to consult with a Las Cruces bus accident attorney near you to determine whether you should pursue punitive damages.
What Are the Statutes of Limitations?
In New Mexico, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party (or parties). The statute of limitations is tolled if a victim of the accident is a minor. In that scenario, the two-year limitation does not start until the victim turns eighteen.
Call Zinda Law Group Today at (800) 863-5312 for a Free Consultation with a Bus Accident Lawyer Near You
If you were involved in a bus accident in South Central New Mexico, you should focus on your health, rehabilitation, and getting back to where you were prior to the accident. Your Las Cruces bus accident attorney will take care of all the legal aspects of your situation. If you are wondering where to find one who is trustworthy, look no further.
A personal injury lawyer in Las Cruces is as near as a phone call. Were you in a bus accident in Las Cruces, NM? Contact Zinda Law Group. Our Las Cruces bus accident lawyers have the experience and knowledge to pursue maximum compensation for your bus accident injury.
You will not owe us any money unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to schedule your 100% free case evaluation for a time that is most convenient for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
Call or text 800-863-5312 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form