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Traveling by bus is a popular choice for people who want to avoid the headache of city traffic. Passengers trust the driver to have the training, skills, and experience necessary to transport them safely. When a driver fails to responsibly operate a bus or if the bus company failed to maintain the vehicle so it could safely drive, those on board are at risk for serious injuries and possibly death.
If you were seriously injured due to a negligent bus driver, contact a New Orleans bus accident lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. Just like most of New Orleans, we are open, for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now by CLICKING HERE to tell us about what happened.
Types of Buses in New Orleans
Bus transportation is a necessity for many people, especially school children or people without a personal vehicle. Access to safe transportation is vital for many residents who depend upon it. Others may take a tour bus for a special trip—enjoying the sites while someone else drives is typically more relaxing than driving yourself. No matter what type of bus you ride, your safety is a top priority. When a bus driver recklessly operates a large bus, resulting in serious injuries for you, you need a bus accident lawyer to hold these bad actors accountable.
- School buses – Transportation to and from school involves especially precious cargo, that of our children. School transportation is mostly regulated by the Orleans Parish school board. The majority of public schools in the city are independently managed by charter organizations. Each of these organizations approved their own contracts with school bus operators. An investigation into several New Orleans bus operators found more than 40 percent not up to new standards required under a city ordinance. Despite an effort by the New Orleans City Council to improve school bus safety, the danger of faulty mechanics or an unskilled driver remains a real possibility.
- Public buses – The Rapid Transit Authority provides a valuable service for residents and visitors to New Orleans. While public buses are primarily safe, there is still a risk of a serious accident. Choosing to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and driving a bus as a profession is a serious responsibility. When a driver takes unnecessary risks in traffic, it places all passengers at risk for serious harm. Whether you take public transportation to work every day or you only use it when necessary, you deserve to reach your destination safely.
- Tour buses – When a tour bus crashes, it tends to make national news. Tour buses are typically used for long trips and are popular choices for large groups. It easy to fall asleep on a tour bus, only to awaken to a violent crash. Often referred to as a motorcoach, these types of buses require extra time to stop and are subject to rollover crashes. A tour bus driver is at risk for drifting to sleep on a long trip, resulting in your dream trip becoming a nightmare. According to research by the University of Florida’s School of Engineering, the correlation between commercial driver fatigue and crash occurrence is among 56 percent. The longer a driver stays behind the wheel, the greater the chance of a serious crash.
Key Factors in Most Bus Accidents
Drowsy bus drivers are just one type of danger on our nation’s highways and city streets. Other key factors that can result in an accident and serious injuries for you include:
Drunk driving – Louisiana has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .04 for drivers of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Drivers found guilty of this charge face a one-year disqualification of their CDL. A driver with a BAC level of 0.08, while driving a personal vehicle, also faces disqualification of their CDL for one year.
Speeding – School bus and public transit drivers make a lot of stops throughout their route. The rush to get their route completed may lead to speeding and other road violations. Improper lane changes and other reckless operations can lead to a crash. For tour buses, cases involving road rage or following too closely can place all passengers at risk for serious harm.
Distracted driving – Bus drivers are not immune to the urge to look at their phone while driving. Texting behind the wheel is certainly not allowed yet, like many drivers, a bus driver may take the chance to send or read a text. Other types of distracted driving include eating behind the wheel or reaching for an item. The moment a driver’s eyes leave the road is the split-second that a crash can occur. While it only takes a second for a serious accident to happen, the painful injuries can last a lifetime.
No one should pay out-of-pocket for expenses that result from a reckless bus driver. The possibility of experiencing a catastrophic injury due to the negligence of the driver, or a poorly maintained bus, is very real. If you step aboard a bus, only to become seriously injured in a crash, Stewart J. Guss, Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. To get an idea of the likely-hood of being involved in a auto accident review our New Orleans traffic accident statistics.
Common Types of Injuries
A serious bus accident of any kind can leave you with catastrophic injuries—injuries that change your life forever. One important fact about commercial buses is that passenger seatbelts are not required. While the driver must buckle up for safety, experts claim the design of most buses is enough to prevent serious injuries. Reports claim that the use of lap belts can result in serious neck injuries and abdominal injuries. At the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) admits that seat belts could reduce the risk of death in a bus rollover crash by up to 77 percent. Whether your bus has seatbelts or not, the responsibility for your safety lies with the bus driver and the company they represent.
A bus accident can occur as a head-on, a rollover, or a rear-end crash. The sudden impact—on a highway or city street—can violently jar your body and toss you through the air. Common types of serious injuries that can occur in a bus accident include:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a TBI as a sudden bump, blow, jolt, or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function. A severe TBI can affect the following:
- Cognitive function (Memory and attention)
- Motor function (impaired balance, weakness in extremities)
- Sensation (hearing, vision, touch)
- Behavior and emotions (anger, depression)
If your loved one experienced a TBI, they may never return to the person you once knew. A severe TBI is a life-changing injury that often requires life-long medical and personal care. In some cases, the patient may require a nursing home facility. Rising costs of this type of care averages more than $5,000 per month in Louisiana.
Spinal cord injury – Another severe injury is damage to the spinal cord. The spinal cord performs an important function in relaying messages to the brain regarding sensations and received messages from the brain regarding mobility. A spinal cord injury is either complete or incomplete. A complete injury means there is no sensation or movement below the point of injury. An incomplete injury means there are limited sensations and movement below the injury point.
Damage to the spinal cord affects the ability to move your arms and/or legs, to feel hot and cold temperatures, and to control bodily functions. Patients with this type of injury typically need power chairs, accessible transportation, and home modifications. The replacement of expensive medical equipment, the need for personal care, and rising medical costs can range into the millions each year.
Neck and back injuries – The neck and back are something we tend to take for granted—until we experience back pain and can no longer turn our heads or use our bodies correctly. The trauma of a bus accident can result in serious whiplash. Whiplash is an injury caused by the rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. Symptoms of whiplash tend to develop within 24 hours of the injury and can include:
- Neck stiffness
- Blurred vision
Back injuries from a bus crash can result in a herniated disc or chronic, lower back pain. Thoracic and lumbar spine injuries are also common injuries that prevent you from returning to the activities you enjoy.
Broken bones – With more than 200 bones in the human body, a bus crash is likely to break more than one. The severity of the break depends upon the force that caused the break. A violent impact can result in an open, compound fracture, or a comminuted fracture where the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
Broken bones may require multiple surgeries and physical therapy. Some patients may need personal assistance with daily tasks, such as cooking and bathing. The recovery process for healing broken bones is often long and frustrating for patients.
Internal Injuries – The injuries you cannot see are perhaps the most dangerous of all. You may feel fine immediately following a bus accident when in fact, you have internal bleeding or organ damage. This is why you should always accept transport to the hospital.
An internal injury is a very serious—and sometimes fatal—injury that requires immediate medical attention. Only a medical professional using testing equipment like that of a CT scan can properly diagnosis and treat an internal injury.
A serious bus crash can place you at risk of one or more of these serious injuries. The driver is the only person on board who controls the bus. If a bus driver operates the bus in a negligent manner that results in serious injuries for you, contact the experienced law firm of Stewart J. Guss, Personal Injury Lawyers. Our bus accident lawyers have more than 20 years of experience handling catastrophic claims.
It is not unusual to receive an initial settlement offer from an insurance company. The amount offered may appear like a large sum of money to you and you may want to accept it. It is in your best interest to not accept the offer and to contact a legal professional right away. The insurance company is looking out for their company, and not you. The initial settlement offer is most likely not enough to cover your ongoing and future medical needs.
Having a highly-experienced legal team on your side provides you with peace-of-mind during this stressful time. No one should deal with aggressive insurance company representatives while recovering from a traumatic bus accident. Let the legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Personal Injury Lawyers deal with the details of your case so you can focus on your health and your family.
Call Our New Orleans Bus Accident Lawyers Now
Taking a bus to school, to work, or for a trip is a great way to travel. Bus transportation helps the environment and can save you money. However, when the wrong driver sits behind the wheel, you don’t know it until it is too late: and this can mean death or disability for you or someone you love. If you or your loved one experienced a catastrophic injury due to a negligent bus driver or a bus with faulty brakes, contact the Stewart J. Guss, Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your options.
At Stewart J. Guss, Personal Injury Lawyers, we treat our clients with the sympathy and respect they deserve. Whether it is a personal injury or wrongful death claim, we remain dedicated to seeking justice for our clients. While each case is different, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If we are unable to negotiate a fair settlement outside of court, we are unafraid to go to trial.
Time is of the essence due to the statute of limitations. We must review your case and proceed accordingly before any deadlines expire. The sooner we review your case, the sooner we can decide upon the best course of action for you.
Seek the justice you and your family deserve. Don’t fall for the initial lowball settlement offers from insurance companies, and call us instead. We work tirelessly to secure fair financial awards for potential clients like you. Let our experience help you with your case by reaching out to us today.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Personal Injury Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a New Orleans bus accident, call our office right now to schedule a free consultation! Because we take all of our bus accident cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE. You have nothing to lose!
Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, New Orlean Office
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