Thousands of people board party buses each day, evening, and night. As an alternative to limousine rentals, party buses are a popular way to enjoy bachelor and bachelorette parties, pub crawls, winery tours, and more. Passengers have a reasonable expectation to return safely after their time on a party bus. Unfortunately, accidents can happen even on occasions meant for celebration.
Party bus injuries and accidents are growing increasingly common. Even though many people rely on party buses as safe modes of transportation, these buses are not always reliable. Thousands of preventable injuries occur on party buses each year.
If you were hurt on a party bus, you deserve to understand your rights. You may be eligible to recover compensation for the damages you have experienced. A qualified party bus accident lawyer can help.
What Is a Party Bus?
A party bus is a commercial vehicle used to host celebrations. Weddings, birthdays, graduations, and other celebrations can all take place on party buses. Most of these buses hold a minimum of ten people.
Most people choose to rent party buses to avoid drinking and driving. A party bus may seem like the safest option that someone has to celebrate while partaking in alcohol and other distracting activities. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries still occur on party buses.
Party Buses Owe the Highest Duty of Care to Customers
Party bus owners and operators owe a duty of care to their passengers. This means that when you board a party bus, you can reasonably expect that you will be kept safe for the duration of the ride.
Party buses are common carriers. This is a concept that predates modern law. In fact, it goes all the way back to old English legalities!
The English legal system used to have to accommodate people who were hurt while staying at inns or riding in horse-drawn carriages. Legal experts of the day quickly realized that it was only fair to expect safety when someone engaged in an activity like this. These are the origins of today’s common carrier laws. Innkeepers and common carriers were given a heightened duty to the people who used their services. Common carriers in the modern era are supposed to use the utmost care, skill, and diligence in servicing customers and clients.
Party Buses Can Be Dangerous
Some auto industry experts consider party buses the most dangerous vehicles on the road. They are often owned and operated by limo service companies, and that means that the people in charge of keeping passengers safe are not usually professionals when it comes to buses.
Oftentimes, limo companies are asked to service large events. Many of these exceed the capacity of a standard limo. To keep up with demand, many limo companies opt to buy old buses and convert them into party vehicles. This usually involves switching out seating, adding a sound system, and so on.
The business model behind many party buses is not a safe one. It often involves using old buses and relying on other workarounds that put passengers at risk.
- The average limo company will not have a trained bus mechanic on staff
- Party buses are usually the only vehicles in their fleet that require CDLs
- Party buses are used almost exclusively on weekends; many companies hire full-time CDL drivers who have worked a rigorous week before even driving the party bus
All of these present clear risks. Party buses are often not properly maintained and they may even be inadequately inspected. Mechanical failures are also common on these buses due to their average age.
Many Party Bus Drivers Are Not Adequately Trained to Operate Party Buses
Industry experts know this well: There is a serious shortage of trained commercial motor vehicle drivers. A lot of trucking companies and other similar businesses struggle to fill job openings due to a lack of qualified applicants.
With that said, party bus drivers must have a CDL to operate a bus. That means that party bus companies have to find drivers to drive their buses—and those drivers are getting harder and harder to find.
Party bus companies have to take what they can get when it comes to drivers. Even if someone has never operated a bus, they can still be hired to drive one as long as their licensing holds up. Party bus drivers often have no experience at all with buses or with transporting large groups of people. Many are delivery drivers, or they operate vehicles like dump trucks throughout the week.
People who transport groups (like bus drivers and some other drivers for motor carriers) need special training to do so safely. Many party bus companies do not offer thorough training to drivers—and most drivers are not getting that training anywhere else.
What Causes Party Bus Accidents?
Good lawyers can often trace back party bus accidents to different causes. Some of them happen because of other drivers’ recklessness or negligence. Other party bus crashes occur due to inclement weather or road conditions.
Recall, however, that party buses have some unique features. These open up the door for more potential risks than most other vehicles.
Many party bus accidents are caused by:
- Lack of regulation and safety: Many party buses are not even road-safe. There are very minimal regulations to govern party bus safety; inspections and maintenance may be rare, if they occur at all.
- Illegal vehicle alterations: Vehicles are often converted into party buses without the need to meet safety standards. If a company chooses to change a bus in this manner, it compromises the bus’s structural integrity.
What Should I Do After a Party Bus Accident?
If you are involved in a party bus accident, there are several steps you can take to protect your physical and legal health. We recommend following this guide if you are hurt in a party bus accident. For more information about your specific matter, contact an attorney today. Consultations are available 24/7 and are always 100% FREE.
Ensure Your Safety
Make sure that you are safe and can call for help first. If your head, neck, or back hurt very badly, do not move. Stay where you are and try calling out for help.
You can also make sure that everyone else is out of harm’s way after the crash. If you can, help move people away from the accident site in case of a fire or explosion. Everyone should be out of the way of traffic.
Call 911 as soon as possible after the accident. This helps ensure that everyone receives timely medical attention. It will also allow the police to fully assess the scene before cleanup begins.
The operator will send out the appropriate parties after you have called for help. Most party bus accidents require emergency medical services to respond. You will likely have paramedics and the police dispatched to the scene of your accident.
Note Important Information
If possible, you should take the time to note what happened and when, while the details of the accident are still fresh in your mind.
Write down some basic information about the accident and the bus—things like the name of the bus company, the license plates of any other vehicles involved in the crash, and so on.
Take Photos and Videos of the Accident Scene
You can take photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries to help prove what happened. This counts as evidence in a legal case. The more you can show what happened right after the accident, the better.
Keep in mind that there may be signs of an accident that are not immediately obvious. Skid marks in the road, for example, may help determine how an accident occurred. They can also be easily missed by someone who is trying to document evidence.
Seek Medical Attention
You may receive emergency medical attention at the scene of the party bus accident. In many cases, accident survivors require transport to a nearby hospital.
You should schedule a visit with your own primary care provider as soon as possible after your party bus accident.
Even if you do not think you were injured in a crash, you may show delayed signs of injury or have symptomless problems.
- Visiting your doctor helps keep them up to date on your health.
- It also offers an opportunity for your physician to observe you for delayed signs of injury.
Reach out to a Qualified Bus Accident Lawyer
Partnering up with an attorney could make all the difference in your pursuit of compensation. You can partner with a party bus accident attorney to help protect your legal wellbeing after a crash.
What Compensation Can I Recover After a Party Bus Accident?
There are several different damages that someone can pursue compensation for after a party bus accident.
If you survived a party bus crash, you may benefit from working with a lawyer who can help you understand the compensation you deserve.
- Medical bills. Previous, current, and projected medical bills may all be eligible for compensation. This includes every type of bill, from emergency hospital costs to the price of long-term therapies.
- Lost wages. Many party bus accidents cause people to miss time from work. Even if you only miss a day or two before you are back to the job, it can be difficult to deal with the consequences of lost wages.
- Diminished earning capacity. Some accidents cause injuries so severe that a person’s ability to earn money is permanently diminished. If you can’t earn as much in wages as you could before your accident, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses.
- Pain and suffering. You could pursue damages to account for pain and suffering after an accident. Party bus accidents cause injuries that lead to physical pain after a crash. If you have experienced pain and suffering because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, you deserve to seek compensation for your experiences.
- Mental anguish. Nobody deserves to endure the mental anguish that an accident often causes. If you have faced mental anguish due to a party bus company, another driver, or another entity, you could pursue damages to account for your emotional struggles.
Other Compensable Damages Include…
- Property damage
- Wrongful death
Frequently Asked Questions About Party Bus Accidents
I was a pedestrian who was hit by a party bus. Can I sue?
You may be eligible to sue if you were a pedestrian struck by a party bus. The bus driver or party bus company may be liable for your accident. An injury accident lawyer can help you determine fault.
How can I protect my rights after a party bus accident?
The best way to protect your rights after a party bus accident is to work with a legal professional. A party bus accident lawyer can help you defend your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Do I have a case if I fell out of a party bus?
A party bus accident does not have to be a vehicular accident (a classic car crash). Many people are injured falling out of party buses. You may still be entitled to compensation; a lawyer can help you investigate this.
Can I sue if my loved one died in a party bus accident?
You may be eligible to sue if you lost a loved one in a party bus accident. This would qualify as a wrongful death case, so you would need to work with a wrongful death lawyer to bring it. Many party bus accident lawyers also have familiarity with wrongful death laws.
Will my party bus accident case go to court?
Fortunately, the majority of cases settle before they reach court. We always recommend selecting a lawyer with trial experience just in case you do make it to trial, though. Our firm is prepared to fight for you in court if necessary.
How can a party bus accident lawyer help me?
A party bus accident attorney can help you understand the legal side of your accident. Your lawyer can help preserve and investigate evidence, look into the history of the party bus driver and company, and hold the liable party accountable for your accident injuries and expenses.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.