Lately, buses and motorcoaches have received a lot of attention in the news due to fatalities and injuries suffered in crashes involving these types of vehicles. In 2010, bus crashes increased by 3.5%, fatalities increased by 12.6%, and injuries increased by 5.5%. In response to these numbers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and associated partners have increased the number and frequency of inspections of these vehicles from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,705 in 2010. As a result, in 2011 the FMCSA was able to remove 54 unsafe bus and motorcoach operators.
Even with the increased inspections, and reduction of unsafe operators on the road, there were still 69,000 bus accidents in the United States in 2014. That’s an enormous number of accidents, many of which were completely preventable. We at Sevey, Donahue & Talcott know that many of these types of accidents are caused by operator fatigue, speeding, unsafe operation, and distractions. We fight for those who have been injured by a negligent bus driver’s actions because we know the damage that these accidents cause to our client’s lives.
It comes as no surprise that bus accidents have the potential to create serious injuries. A bus can weigh as much as 20 tons, and with no seatbelts in most busses, if an accident occurs, the passengers of the bus will be dangerously thrown from their seats. Their bodies slam into other seats as well as each other, and these impacts can be severe.
There are several types of injuries that can occur due to a bus or motorcoach accident. Here we list a few of the most common.
Physical injuries are the most noticeable injuries that victims of a bus accident will suffer from. They can include broken bones, spinal damage, pulled or torn ligaments and tendons, lacerations, and severe contusions. Facial injuries are common due to the personal belongings that get thrown around in a bus accident. And these are the physical injuries that are obvious…there are many that aren’t so obvious, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can have a wide array of effects, from physical functions to personality disturbances. Some traumatic brain injuries leave permanent damage and require a lifetime of therapies and care.
These injuries aren’t as noticeable as most physical injuries are, but mental or emotional injuries are often harder to recover from. When you are in a bus accident, you are trapped. It is a horrifying, helpless feeling. You’re being thrown around a glass and metal capsule, and when you finally come to rest, you are surrounded by others who are in pain, bleeding, screaming, and crying. Everyone is panicking and trying to exit the bus, but you might be trapped inside and unable to get out. When you are finally able to exit the bus, you sit on the side of the road awaiting the ambulance that will take you to the emergency room to have your injuries treated.
When you finally do arrive home, you may find that you are reliving the accident over and over in your mind. This is considered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it is a serious emotional condition that often occurs after a serious accident. You may relive the event, become unable to sleep or eat, and detect changes in your personality and positive outlook on life.
At Sevey, Donahue & Talcott, we understand how devastating this mental condition can be to your life. We understand that you only want to get the life back that you had prior to your accident, and we will work hard to see that you receive just compensation for your injuries, both physical and emotional. We’ll be there for you every step of the way as you recover from your bus accident.
After the accident, you may find that your doctors will not let you go back to work until you are fully recovered. This, along with your growing medical bills, can create an emotionally crushing feeling of overwhelm, as you try to figure out how you will take care of yourself and your family. It may be the case that you are out of work for a long time due to your injuries, and maybe can’t go back to the job you had prior to the accident.
It’s also a possibility that you’ll be permanently disabled and unable to go back to any job. These are all damages that you deserve to be compensated for by the negligent party in the accident, the bus company, and their insurance company. This is when it pays to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to help you obtain the compensation you’re entitled to. They’ll take this burden off your hands so that you can properly heal, both mentally and physically.
Along with those damages that you can compute, there are damages that are more difficult to attach a specific value to. These are considered non-financial losses or damages. One of these non-financial damages is called loss of consortium. When your injuries affect your relationship with your spouse or partner in a negative way, that is considered loss of consortium. This includes loss of the ability to have sexual relations, loss of the comfort and security you enjoyed as part of your relationship, and loss of their companionship.
Another of the non-financial damages is called loss of enjoyment of life. When your mental and physical injuries prevent you from doing the things you enjoyed doing prior to the accident, such as playing sports and engaging in hobbies like gardening, skiing, or dancing, those are also damages that you are entitled to compensation for.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a bus accident, we encourage you to reach out to the team at Sevey, Donahue & Talcott. We’ll be there for you each step of the way to guide you through the entire process of filing your claim and seeking the damages you’re entitled to. Contact us at (916) 788-7100 or through our online contact page.