Buses on our roadways pose a risk not only to other people on the road but also to the passengers aboard these vehicles. Bus accidents can prove catastrophic and often involve many victims that have suffered harm due to no fault of their own. St. Louis residents enjoy the convenience and usability of MetroBus, but even these buses can cause serious injuries. Individuals also may sustain injuries in accidents that involve privately operated buses.
If you sustain injuries in a bus accident, you may qualify to pursue compensation for the losses and damages you have suffered. You should contact an experienced St. Louis bus accident attorney to determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for your injuries.
In St. Louis or Nearby? Consider The Bruning Law Firm
At The Bruning Law Firm, we help our clients fight for maximum compensation in their cases. We strive to help you move forward from this traumatic event in your life and find a positive resolution for you. St. Louis-area bus accident victims generally qualify to seek compensation for the painful injuries they have sustained and any impacts on their lives.
This goes for both people in St. Louis County as well as the city and its suburbs in Missouri and the Metro East. We can help you just about anywhere you live, whether a school bus accident injured your child or a MetroBus crashed into you in St. Louis or the Illinois suburbs.
Examples of Successful Client Results
At The Burning Law Firm, we take pride in our past success stories. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, we can point to some of our recent results as an indication of the high-quality legal services that we provide. Some of our recent results include:
- $1.4 million jury verdict against the parties responsible for a truck accident causing spinal cord injuries.
- $750,000 settlement for the family of an individual who died in a tragic truck collision.
How often do bus accidents take place in St. Louis?
Bus accidents frequently occur in St. Louis, like other accidents involving cars and trucks. According to a recent report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, around 1,615 commercial vehicle accidents took place in the city in a recent year, resulting in 566 injuries along with nine deaths. Many of these accidents involved commercial buses.
Specifically, the following types of bus accidents occurred during a single year in Missouri:
- 83 intercity bus accidents, 19 of which led to injuries.
- 63 tour and charter bus crashes, with 23 resulting in injuries.
- 633 commuter and transit bus accidents resulting in 159 instances of injury and one fatal accident.
- 1,006 school bus crashes leading to 184 instances of injury and three fatalities.
- 111 accidents involving other types of buses, contributing to 23 injuries and a fatal crash.
The Dangers of Buses to Passengers and Other Motorists
Bus transportation constitutes an everyday activity across the country for school children, travelers, and commuters. Many people in our cities and towns rely on bus transportation. Several elements of bus transportation, however, can make it hazardous to passengers and others on the road. The design and operation of the bus itself can present various risks that make it more likely to sustain injuries in an accident. When bus accidents do happen, they often involve mass injuries and, in more severe accidents, mass casualties of the passengers or nearby vehicle occupants.
Lack of Safety Features
Buses’ lack of safety features and the lack of mandates for large buses both constitute major reasons for the risk involved in bus accidents. While smaller buses, such as passenger vans, have laws that require all occupants to wear a seat belt, larger buses, such as motor coaches and school buses, don’t have to enforce seat belt usage for passengers, and in many cases, these buses don’t even have to have seat belts installed. Seat belts save lives, but when seat belts don’t exist or aren’t used, this can pose a risk to everyone on board if an accident should occur.
Beyond seat belts, large buses also do not come equipped with airbags. Airbags greatly reduce the risk of death in certain accidents. However, buses generally do not have these safety features available. Passengers, especially those near windows, face a particular risk of serious injury and death in an accident. Side airbags could potentially help to reduce this risk to passengers, but government agencies have not acted, and the bus industry has not implemented such protections.
As passenger buses increase in passenger capacity, so does their overall size and weight. These vehicles usually weigh much more and extend much longer than passenger vehicles. Large buses have a great deal of force and momentum behind the wheel as they travel on the roadways. Their massive size and heavy weight require drivers to take extra care and time to stop and maneuver the vehicle.
When an accident occurs, the force of a large bus can destroy others on the road. Any vehicle in or near its path in an accident faces a risk of heavy damage, as well as the occupants of those vehicles.
As buses increase in size, so does their height. In fact, the motivation of companies to transport more passengers at once has even led to the use of double-decker-style buses in many areas of the country. Large buses and multilevel buses create a unique hazard due to the height of the vehicle. These higher-profile vehicles may cause serious accidents, such as rollovers, because of their inherent instability and high rate of difficulty in maneuvering.
Bus operators that lack experience or have not received adequate training can run into serious problems with these large vehicles in challenging road conditions. High winds, abrupt stops, and sudden maneuvers can all cause a bus to lose control and cause an accident due to the height of the vehicle.
Large buses used for commercial transport require routine maintenance and inspection to ensure the vehicle’s safety. Any shortcuts or shoddy maintenance work or repairs can lead to catastrophic failures for the bus. Failures in equipment or critical parts of the bus, such as tires or brakes, can lead to unexpected dangers that can cause an unavoidable collision while on the road.
Types of Passenger Bus Accidents
Bus transportation constitutes a large part of a community’s mobility in many of the country’s metropolitan areas. Many members of the St. Louis community rely on its various types of buses to get to and from their destinations. Whether headed to work, school, or recreational activity, individuals in the St. Louis area use buses for many different reasons. An accident can happen on any type of bus, at any time.
Each bus type and purpose can create unique hazards and risks of injury to passengers.
- School Bus Accidents - Many school buses do not come equipped with seat belts for children and other passengers on board. For those few buses that do have seat belts available, few authorities enforce the use of safety belts by children. This puts a very vulnerable population at risk of severe injury and death in the case of a school bus accident. Even a minor collision on a school bus can result in serious injuries to the children when the occupants are not properly seated or restrained.
- Transit Bus Crashes - Crowded city buses where some passengers must remain standing and where seats do not have safety belts available pose a risk to all riders. Not only do you face a risk of injury from the momentum of a potential bus crash, but standing passengers, bags, and other objects become dangerous flying projectiles that can strike a passenger if a bus accident occurs.
- Commercial Bus Accidents - Long-distance bus travel between cities and states has become more popular in recent times due to buses’ low prices compared to air travel and gas, and the overall convenience of not having to drive oneself. These large-scale companies offer cheap tickets to popular destinations all across the country. Unfortunately, many of these large bus companies also have a reputation for deadly accidents. From overworked drivers to failed inspections and maintenance, many dangers exist when traveling by commercial bus.
- Charter Bus Crashes - When looking for group travel for functions and celebrations, many turn to charter bus options. Charter bus companies can range from small business operations to large corporate offerings. However, the reputation of these companies can vary greatly. With little oversight and spotty enforcement of regulations, many companies will cut corners to save costs at the expense of passenger safety.
- Passenger Van Collisions - Unlike large buses that require special license classifications and qualifications for their drivers, passenger van operators need little else than a standard non-commercial driver’s license to drive these vehicles. Unfortunately, these high-capacity vans can often encounter many of the same dangers as their large bus counterparts. Their larger size and height can make them more difficult to navigate and more susceptible to rollover crashes than passenger vehicles. Many times, drivers of these vans have little to no experience transporting people and can put themselves or others at risk.
What causes bus accidents in St. Louis?
All accidents are different and each involves its own set of unique circumstances, but there are a few relatively common causes of St. Louis bus accidents.
- Unsafe Road Conditions. Poorly maintained roads can lead to an accident, and buses are particularly vulnerable to potholes and other road conditions that can cause drivers to lose control. State and local governments are responsible for making any necessary repairs to roads. These government entities may be responsible for damages due to accidents involving poor road conditions in certain circumstances.
- Driver Error. Driver error is one of the most common causes of all road accidents, and bus accidents are no exception. Bus drivers typically undergo training to enable them to safely operate buses, but they are only human. If a bus driver makes an error behind the wheel that leads to an accident, they may be at fault for the accident. Although the driver’s negligence could make them responsible for an accident, the agency or company that employed the driver may also be responsible for the driver’s actions.
- Inclement Weather. Poor weather conditions can also cause accidents, including rainy, snowy, or icy conditions that negatively impact vehicle performance. In St. Louis, the winters can be particularly harsh, sometimes leading to accidents due to snow or ice on the roads. Bus drivers are often responsible for determining when it’s best to cease operating the vehicle based on weather conditions.
- Other Drivers. Because of their size and weight, buses require extra room to operate and more time to brake safely than smaller passenger vehicles, so other drivers must practice caution around them. If another driver suddenly brakes ahead of the bus or makes an illegal turn, the bus driver may attempt to avoid the accident by swerving. This could lead the bus to collide with other vehicles, pedestrians, or property.
St. Louis Bus Accident FAQ
The attorneys at The Bruning Law Firm are devoted to providing reliable representation for all of our clients. Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get from our clients regarding these accidents.
If you have any specific questions about bus accidents in St. Louis, contact an experienced bus accident attorney to go over the details of your case.
What steps should I take after a bus accident in St. Louis?
Immediately following a St. Louis bus accident, you should take several key steps:
- Stay calm and avoid leaving the vehicle if possible.
- Notify the authorities, regardless of the severity of the bus accident.
- Call for medical attention for yourself or anyone else who was injured, including drivers or passengers.
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident until emergency services arrive.
- Write down the names and contact information of everyone involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, and nearby witnesses.
- Collect insurance information of the drivers involved.
- Record the names and badge numbers of police officers who arrive at the scene.
- Never admit fault following the accident, as the other driver and insurance companies could use this against you when filing a claim or lawsuit.
- Capture as much photographic or video evidence of the scene of the accident as possible.
- Contact your own insurance company to notify them of the accident.
- Never discuss the details of the accident with anyone except for the authorities, your own insurance company, and your attorney. You are not obligated to do so even if they try to pressure you into talking, and you may inadvertently say something that could devalue your accident claim.
What protections do I have after a bus accident in St. Louis?
Bus accident cases are often complex. It’s important to consult with an experienced bus accident attorney in St. Louis to discuss your options. Bus agencies and companies often work with their own attorneys and experts who usually attempt to offer the lowest settlement possible or deny your claim outright. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to recover compensation for the accident if you sustained injuries and other related damages.
What are the common types of injuries that victims suffer in St. Louis bus accidents?
Every accident differs, leading to different injuries. However, some types of injuries are more common in bus accidents than others.
Some relatively common injuries include:
- Cuts and Lacerations. In many St. Louis bus accidents, objects fly through the air, resulting in potentially serious cuts and scarring.
- Broken Bones. Bus accident victims often sustain broken bones, particularly in their arms, fingers, hands, back, or legs.
- Head Injuries. The force involved in bus accidents also frequently leads to head injuries. Even when wearing seatbelts, drivers and passengers may hit their heads as a result of the impact. These injuries don’t heal quickly and can have a major impact on the victim’s life over extended periods.
- Back and Neck Injuries. Whiplash and other back and neck injuries resulting from the impact are common. In the most serious cases, back and neck injuries can lead to paralysis and permanent disability.
Some latent injuries may seem minor injuries immediately after the accident but become life-threatening in the days or weeks after the accident. Even if you believe your injuries aren’t severe, it’s best to seek professional treatment right away, Not only can this protect your health and make a full recovery more likely, but it also can be important to your accident injury claim. Downplaying the severity of an injury early on could lead insurers and others to attempt to deny or reduce your claim.
What should I do in the days after a bus accident?
To help build a successful accident claim, you should acquire and maintain as much evidence about the accident as you can. This can help maximize potential compensation.
Take these steps:
- Obtain a copy of any medical reports detailing injuries sustained.
- Obtain a copy of the police report regarding the accident.
- Keep a journal of any symptoms along with a record of all doctor’s appointments.
- Request and maintain a property damage valuation from your insurer.
- Keep a record of any days missed from work due to recovery or other aspects related to the case.
- Maintain a list of any expenses related to your accident injuries and other damages.
Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company at the start. Insurance adjusters aren’t on your side, and they seek to reach the lowest settlement possible. Consider working with a St. Louis bus accident attorney who can negotiate with insurers and reach the best possible settlement on your behalf.
What happens if the bus company contacts me before I can consult a St. Louis bus accident attorney?
If the bus company’s insurance provider reaches out to you before you have the chance to consult with a lawyer, avoid responding until you’ve had the chance to speak with an experienced bus accident attorney. Don’t provide a recorded statement to the insurance company, as they could use this against you. Also, avoid signing any forms that the insurer sends to you until you’ve discussed the matter with an attorney.
How much compensation can I recover after a St. Louis bus accident?
The value of a bus accident case in St. Louis will vary greatly depending on all of the factors involved.
For example, the total value of your case could depend on:
- The amount of available insurance coverage;
- The severity of your injuries;
- The strength of the evidence available and how clear the other party’s liability is;
- Whether you shared any fault for the accident;
- Your treatment, long-term health, and ability to return to work;
- The impact of injuries on your overall quality of life and interpersonal relationships; and
- The general severity of your injuries.
In most cases, severe injuries that lead to long-lasting impact tend to warrant higher amounts of compensation if you can prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. It can sometimes be difficult to prove who was at fault, which is why it’s necessary to retain as much evidence as you can to support your claim or lawsuit.
What are the types of compensation I can recover following a bus accident?
Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover certain monetary and non-monetary damages.
Monetary damages are easily quantifiable and have a specific economic value.
Potential monetary or economic damages may include reimbursement for:
- Medical bills related to the accident;
- Ongoing treatment costs;
- Property damage;
- Lost wages; and
- Lost employment benefits and earning capacity.
Non-monetary or non-economic damages are those that aren’t as easy to calculate. These damages compensate a victim for physical and mental suffering due to the accident.
They can include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental and emotional distress;
- Scarring or disfigurement;
- Generally hindered quality of life; and
- Loss of relationships.
In more extreme situations, the courts could also award punitive damages if a driver behaved with gross negligence or a blatant disregard for others. In awarding these damages, the courts hope to deter the offender and others from committing the same act again.
By working with a reliable St. Louis bus accident attorney, you can better determine what types of compensation you may be entitled to in your specific case.
Is it possible to sue the bus company or bus driver?
People involved in St. Louis bus accidents may be able to sue either the bus driver or the bus company, depending on the situation.
Bus drivers who were acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident are generally considered agents of their employer, meaning that the agency or company that employed them is responsible for their actions. If the company is liable for an accident and any resulting damages, the plaintiff may benefit from a larger settlement that an individual bus driver may not be able to cover.
How can I file a bus accident claim in St. Louis?
To file a successful bus accident claim, you’ll need to be able to prove the bus driver’s and/or bus company’s negligence led to the accident. While you should gather as much evidence as possible following an accident, it isn’t always easy to prove this.
Working with an experienced St. Louis bus accident lawyer can help you both investigate the accident and build a case. Attorneys often work with experts who can reconstruct the accident scene, and they may also be able to track down witnesses who can provide helpful testimony.
Once you’ve collected sufficient evidence, if your attorney believes that you have a valid claim, they can help you file a claim or lawsuit against the party or parties who were responsible for the accident.
Contact The Bruning Law Firm's St. Louis Bus Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries or died in a St. Louis bus accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today for a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at (314) 735-8100 or through our website’s contact page. We serve bus accident victims in the city and county of St. Louis, the Metro East of Illinois, and beyond.
"When other law firms failed me. Bruning Law Firm came through for me. They did a great job and were able to get me more compensation than I expected. Couldn't be more pleased. Truly glad these folks were there for me. Took care of everything. Truly pleased. Tthank you Ryan and Alice." - Joseph F.
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read more reviews on Google!