How Are Accident Claims Involving Buses and Other Common Carrier Vehicles Handled?

Most people never expect to be involved in a vehicle crash, yet according to multiple studies, the average person will be involved in a crash on average every 17 years. For drivers who get their licenses in their teens, this means they will be in four crashes during their driving lifetime. And along with those crashes are often accident claims.

Unfortunately, despite how safe a driver you are, there are far too many other drivers on the roads who don’t adhere to safe driving behaviors and/or obey traffic laws. Every driver has a duty of care to drive safely in order to protect themselves and other commuters. In Virginia, public modes of transportation drivers have a special duty of care to also protect their customers from injury and harm.

Common Carrier Vehicles

A common carrier vehicle is one that transports passengers for hire. Examples of common carrier vehicles include buses, taxis, and limousines. Under the law, the duty of care that carrier vehicle companies and operators have to passengers is even higher compared to the duty of care of other drivers. For example, where a driver in a passenger vehicle will stop at a stop sign and look both ways before proceeding, a common carrier vehicle driver is required to look both ways multiple times before they proceed through the stop. No matter what the driving maneuver may be – merging into traffic or changing lanes – a common vehicle driver must take those extra steps to ensure they meet that enhanced duty of care.

Failure to meet that standard can result in injuries to passengers in a crash. When this duty of care is breached and passengers injured, those victims may be entitled to financial compensation for those injuries. Some of the more common ways a common carrier vehicle driver can breach their duty of care includes:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Driving while drowsy or fatigued
  • Failing to properly maintain their vehicles
  • Failing to stop at a red light or a stop sign
  • Not yielding the right of way
  • Tailgating the car ahead of them
  • Traveling above the posted speed limit

Victims of crashes can pursue injury claims against the party or parties who were liable for the accident for financial compensation for medical lost wages, and other losses. If the common carrier vehicle bus driver was at fault, the company that employs the driver is usually held legally liable for victims’ losses. Families of victims who were killed in a crash may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Let a Virginia Accident Attorney Help

There are many causes of commercial bus crashes, whether the fault of the bus driver, vehicle malfunctioning, or another driver. If you have been injured in a commercial bus crash or other mass transit accident, contact an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for the losses your injuries have caused you to suffer. Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to set up a free and confidential consultation.