Many people rely on the Miami-Dade Metrobus for getting around South Florida, while others ride on buses occasionally for events, long-range transit, school, or other purposes. While you know that taking the bus is affordable and convenient, you might be surprised to find that this form of transportation is not necessarily safer than others. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), almost 3,500 people are killed or injured in accidents involving buses, motor coaches, passenger vans, and related vehicles each year.
For victims and their families, the losses stemming from a bus collision can be devastating. Your medical bills may be mounting, though funds to pay them may run dry if you are also out of work. Plus, you may endure considerable pain, suffering, and emotional implications. It may come as some comfort to know that you have legal options as a victim, and a Miami bus accident attorney will pursue those responsible for causing the incident. However, you should be aware of which individuals and entities may be potential parties to a bus crash claim.
Liability for Florida Bus Collisions
The basis of liability in a bus crash is similar to other motor vehicle accidents, referred to in the practice of law as negligence. You need to prove that the at-fault party caused the collision through a breach of the legal duty to exercise reasonable care when driving.
However, there are some specific legal concepts that apply in a unique way to crash claims involving buses, which are typically classified as common carriers. Whether the bus operator is a government body or a private company, a common carrier is required to exercise the highest degree of care – with special consideration for the type of transportation and the operation of the business. As such, the standard of care for a common carrier is higher compared to car accidents.
Potential Parties to Pursue After a Bus Crash
Keeping in mind how liability works and who could be responsible for causing a collision, you may need to seek compensation from a range of individuals and entities after a bus accident. Examples include:
- A bus driver who was negligent, or failed to exercise the high degree of care required by common carriers;
- The company that owns and operates the buses, which are required to be properly repaired and maintained;
- A business that employs the bus driver and is responsible for vetting, training, and ensuring that person is licensed;
- A tour company that retains buses and/or drivers from a third party to provide travel- and entertainment-related services;
- State, county, and municipal government agencies that operate public transportation;
- School districts that contract with bus operators for transporting students; and,
- A manufacturer that produced defective, dangerous bus parts or components.
A Miami Bus Accident Lawyer Can Advise You on the Legal Process
To learn more about your options, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to schedule a no-cost consultation with a member of our team. We are happy to meet with you at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.