Blurred image of a city bus turning into a crosswalkMillions of people use buses to get where they need to go every day. Although traveling by bus is generally safe, serious injuries and fatalities can occur when a bus is involved in a crash. At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, our bus accident lawyers in the Lehigh Valley are experienced in handling cases involving commercially owned buses, public transportation, and school buses. If you’ve been hurt or have lost a loved one in a bus accident, we can evaluate your case and advise you of your options for recovering compensation.

Bus Accident Statistics

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), in 2022, there were 729 bus accidents, with 271 of those crashes involving school buses. Of these 729 crashes, 453 involved injuries and eight were fatal. Only one bus driver involved in a crash was found to be under the influence of alcohol.

It’s important to note that occupants of buses and passenger vehicles are not the only ones who may be hurt or killed in bus accidents. Pedestrians and bicyclists are vulnerable to being hit by buses, and may suffer catastrophic injuries or be killed in this type of accident.

Types Of Bus Accidents

Commercial bus accidents – Bus companies like Greyhound, Megabus, and Lenzner Tours offer service throughout the country. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), governs regulations for large commercial trucks and buses as well. The FMSCA sets strict limits on the length of time that drivers are permitted on the road. Certain safety and maintenance standards must also be followed. If a commercial bus driver or company doesn’t adhere to these regulations and an accident occurs, they could be liable for damages if a crash was caused by their negligence.

Public bus accidents – Because municipalities are usually responsible for the operation of public buses, it can be challenging to win a personal injury claim against them if you’re hurt in a crash. Most government agencies enjoy certain liability protections and there are strict processes that must be followed if you intend to file a claim. If you’re considering taking action against a public agency, make sure to speak to a bus accident lawyer first. They can take a look at your case and determine whether a bus accident claim could be successful.

School bus accidents – Although school buses don’t have seat belts, they are still an effective, safe way to transport children to and from school.  However, children can be seriously hurt or killed when an accident happens. Unfortunately, injuries to children can also happen when getting off the bus due to other motorists’ irresponsible behavior or negligence.

Causes Of Bus Accidents

Many crashes are caused by operator error, so it’s vital to ensure bus drivers are properly trained, well-rested, and committed to their passengers’ safety. Some common factors that may be involved in bus crashes include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless or aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving on unfamiliar roads
  • Driving too fast in inclement weather
  • Failure to pay attention to traffic signals and signs
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Mechanical malfunctions such as steering or brake failure
  • Tire blowouts due to poor inspection and maintenance practices
  • Defective vehicle parts
  • Faulty design

Types of Bus Accident Injuries

Due to their high center of gravity, buses involved in high-speed accidents often roll over, which can increase the risk of serious injuries and fatalities. Being thrown from their seats can result in passengers suffering catastrophic injuries such as amputation, traumatic brain injury, compound fractures, and organ damage. Pedestrians and bicyclists hit by buses are often seriously hurt or killed.

Some other bus accident injuries include:

  • Head, neck and back injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken or crushed bones
  • Facial or dental injuries
  • Burns, scarring, or disfigurement
  • Psychological and emotional trauma

Bus accident victims often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and may suffer physical and psychological conditions that significantly impact their quality of life in the long term. Our Lehigh Valley bus accident lawyers know how to accurately calculate damages to safeguard your health and your family’s financial future.

Determining Liability in Bus Accident Cases

Bus accident cases can be complex. It’s critical to have a bus crash lawyer who’s familiar with federal, state, and local laws that regulate the operation of large commercial vehicles like buses and tractor-trailers. These claims require extensive investigation and may involve multiple liable parties. Our team at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad uses all available resources to determine how a crash happened and who is at fault.

Depending on the specific circumstances, the bus company, maintenance company, bus driver, parts or vehicle manufacturer, other motorists, or municipality may be responsible for damages if someone is hurt or killed in a bus accident. Our Lehigh Valley bus accident attorneys explore all possible sources of compensation and can file multiple claims on your behalf.

Recovering Compensation After a Bus Accident in Eastern Pennsylvania

If you’ve been hurt or have lost a loved one in a bus accident, dealing with insurance company negotiations can be stressful and overwhelming. Unfortunately, insurers do not have your best interests in mind and will do whatever they can to minimize payouts and deny claims. Bus operators often have high insurance policy limits, which makes them fight even harder to avoid paying large settlements.

Even if an initial settlement offer seems generous, speak to a bus accident attorney before you sign or accept anything. It’s easy to underestimate the high physical, emotional, and financial costs of being hurt due to someone else’s negligence. Our bus accident lawyers can evaluate your case and may be able to help you recover damages such as:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship and consortium
  • Disfigurement

No amount of money can bring back a loved one, but if a family member was killed in a crash, our bus accident lawyers can determine whether you may have a viable wrongful death claim. Our experienced legal team has a track record of success in recovering maximum compensation in settlement negotiations and at trial. Although most bus accident claims are settled out of court, if a fair settlement agreement can’t be negotiated, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial and work to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation you need and deserve.

What are Punitive Damages?

In bus accident cases where a liable party’s actions or inaction is particularly egregious or reckless, an injured victim may be entitled to punitive damages. These types of damages are not intended to compensate the victim, they are meant to punish the defendant and deter them and others from committing similar acts in the future.

What to Do After a Bus Accident in PA

It’s important to take certain steps to protect your rights after a bus accident. Even if your injuries seem minor, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms of serious injuries like internal bleeding or traumatic brain injury may not appear right away. Going to the ER ensures that your injuries are diagnosed and treated right away. If you decide to file a personal injury claim, medical records provide important evidence that your bus accident lawyer will need.

Do not give a statement, sign anything, or accept a settlement before speaking to our bus accident attorneys first. We can help you understand your rights, advise you on the most effective way to proceed, and explain the bus accident lawsuit process to you. We handle all negotiations and communications with insurers and are dedicated to protecting your rights.

Why Choose Us?

At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, we care about you and your family. Over the past four decades, we’ve helped thousands of personal injury clients in eastern Pennsylvania put their lives back together after an accident. Our team includes some of the best bus accident lawyers in the Lehigh Valley. We offer compassionate yet tenacious legal representation you can trust. We’re passionate about what we do and believe in holding negligent parties fully responsible for their actions.

Contact a Lehigh Valley Bus Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been hurt in a bus accident and don’t know where to turn, our team at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices is here for you. With several convenient locations to choose from, our Lehigh Valley bus accident attorneys make it easy to get the quality representation you need. Call us today at 610 -867-2900 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a bus accident lawyer in eastern Pennsylvania today.