Busses like the Ozark Regional Transit busses, school busses, and charter busses are all large vehicles capable of causing serious traffic accidents. Because these vehicles are so big, it is often difficult for the drivers to see, maneuver, or slow down, especially in an emergency. If the driver is distracted or overly tired, the possibility of causing an accident is even worse.
If you or a loved on was struck by a bus as a pedestrian, had their car hit by a bus, or was riding a bus when it was involved in an accident, they may have serious injuries that need compensation. Talk to an attorney today about what compensation you may be entitled to for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Fayetteville bus accident lawyer Ken Kieklak offers free consultations on new cases. Call (479) 316-0438 today to schedule your free consultation.
Holding Bus Companies Responsible for Bus Accidents in Arkansas
Whenever a driver causes an auto accident, they may be personally liable for any injuries they cause. Every driver in Arkansas is required to carry auto insurance, especially commercial vehicle drivers like bus drivers and truck drivers. This insurance is there to cover the costs of injuries and vehicle damage after accidents, so that the individual can afford very large sums through their insurance. However, with commercial drivers, you may also be able to take their employer to court.
In Arkansas, there is a principal of “vicarious liability” known as “respondeat superior.” This allows you to sue an employer when their employee’s negligent acts cause injuries. That means that the bus company may be liable for the actions of their drivers, and you may be able to take both the driver and the bus company to court. As long as the bus driver was acting within the scope of their employment when the accident happened, i.e. driving a bus, you should be able to sue their employer, too.
Bus companies may also face liability for their direct negligence. Since bus companies usually own the busses and perform their maintenance, any mechanical errors or equipment problems that cause an accident may be the bus company’s fault. Bus companies are also responsible for hiring their drivers and ensuring that they are safe. If they hire a bad driver or keep a dangerous driver on-staff, they can be held responsible for putting that driver behind the wheel. This “negligent hiring” or “negligent retention” is their direct fault.
Bus companies are also responsible for any problems with their drivers violating federal regulations.
Federal Regulations for Bus Drivers
The federal government creates many rules and regulations for bus drivers and bus companies to promote safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) writes regulations that govern many bus drivers across the country with the force of law. If the drivers or bus companies violate these rules, they can face penalties. The violation may also work as proof that the driver or bus company was negligent, which can help you in an injury lawsuit.
Federal regulations often deal with vehicle maintenance, driver health, and “hours of service.” Maintenance and equipment rules require appropriate seatbelts, lighting, tire pressure, and other things that ensure the vehicle is safe. Driver health requirements ensure that drivers have good eyesight, hearing, and have no problems controlling their arms and legs. They also require medical cards certified by a doctor in some cases. Hours of service rules often prevent drivers from spending too long on the road. This helps keep drivers from becoming tired, distracted, or losing attention span after long trips.
When you sue a driver or bus company for an accident, you usually need to point to some error they made that caused the accident. This can come from traffic laws, such as a driver who was speeding or texting when the accident occurred, but it can also come from these federal regulations. If the bus company or bus driver violated one of these rules, and that helped cause the accident, these regulations may help you pinpoint their errors and prove your case.
Compensation for Bus Accidents in Arkansas
When you sue for injuries in a bus accident, you may be able to receive compensation for any injuries you sustained because of the accident. This includes medical expenses from your injuries, lost wages from missed work, and even direct compensation for your pain and suffering.
Any medical costs you face because of the accident may be compensated. This includes emergency medical treatment, X-Rays and MRIs, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and other doctor’s visits. If you had to miss work during your recovery or were too injured to go back to work, you could receive compensation for your missed paychecks up until this point, and going forward. Severe injuries cause serious pain and suffering. Arkansas law allows you to receive direct compensation for your physical pain and mental suffering, with no caps or limitations.
Attorney for Fayetteville Bus Accident Victims
If you or a loved one was involved in a bus crash, or you lost a loved one to a bus accident, talk to an attorney. You may be entitled to substantial compensation, especially if the bus driver or bus company’s actions were particularly negligent or your injuries were very severe. For a free consultation on your case, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today. You can reach our law offices at (479) 316-0438.