From Canada to Alabama, Recent Bus Accidents Have Deadly Toll
Canada is thousands of miles away from us in Florida, but when fifteen members of a hockey team were killed in a bus crash there earlier this month, the emotions were still powerfully felt, particularly among the sports community.
Humboldt Bus Crash and Other Tragedies
The accident occurred on April 6th in Saskatchewan, a province in western Canada that borders Montana and North Dakota. A passenger bus, carrying players and personnel from the Humboldt Broncos collided with a semi-truck at a rural intersection. The front half of the bus was badly damaged, and 14 people were killed at the scene. One victim later died at the hospital, and 15 others were left injured, some critically. Of the victims, many were hockey players in their late teens or early twenties. A mix-up of some of the victims, with some listed as alive when they were really dead or vice versa, only added more hardship to this already horrific incident.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the only bus accident in recent weeks. In India, 24 children were killed when their school bus plunged 300 feet off the side of the road. Four students died after an accident in Alabama last month as the students traveled back from Disney. While spread out across the world, all these accidents raise some important questions. When traveling on a bus, what measures are in place to keep me safe? If a bus accident does happen, how do I find justice or compensation?
How Often Do Bus Accidents Occur?
Despite these recent examples, bus accidents are relatively uncommon: according to 2015 data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which lumps together accidents involving buses and large trucks, there were 4,113 fatal accidents involving these types of vehicles. However, many of these fatalities were not passengers of the buses, but rather drivers of vehicles that collided with the bus. Since buses are so much larger than other vehicles, a collision with a bus is generally more dangerous for smaller vehicles, rather than the passengers of the bus.
Still, bus passengers can sustain serious injuries during a crash. After a bus accident, common injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and cuts from glass or other debris
When a passenger is not safely restrained during a bus accident, the injuries might be even more severe. Seat belts are particularly important for child passengers.
Safety Tips for Bus Passengers
For kids on the school bus, there are many safety tips they can follow to work toward a safer ride. These include:
- Wearing a seatbelt
- Staying in their seat at all times
- Waiting for the bus to come to a full stop before standing up
- Avoiding noisy and distracting behavior
While older passengers might be less prone to distractions or restlessness, these are also good tips for adults to follow. Even adults should remain seated throughout the ride and wear a seatbelt if available.
But even when a passenger is following all the rules, they are still in the hands of another driver, and accidents can still occur. When this happens, the passengers may be able to hold someone else liable for their injuries. Some bus accidents are caused by another vehicle, like a car that negligently pulls into the path of the bus. In this case, the other driver might be responsible for the injuries. Other times, the bus driver may be responsible if they are behaving negligently, like speeding, texting, or driving while tired or intoxicated.
If the accident involves a public or school bus driver, finding compensation can be difficult, because the buses are likely owned by the county or other government entity. In these cases, securing the help of a personal injury attorney can be particularly helpful—but an attorney is always a good person to have on your side, no matter the circumstances of the accident.
Next time you ride the bus or send your kid off to school, keep the victims of these recent bus accidents in your mind and remember to always stay safe and remember your rights.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.