North Carolina Bus Accident Attorneys
Buses of all types ferry tens of thousands of passengers across North Carolina on a daily basis. In addition the familiar yellow school buses running mornings and afternoons in each of North Carolina’s 100-plus school districts, there are school and church activity buses, city buses, special event buses, interstate motor coaches, and private tour buses carrying thousands of passengers of all ages all across the state.
Like any other motor vehicle, a bus of any type can get into an accident that may lead to injuries and fatalities. Because of their size and weight, as well as their high passenger capacities, buses can cause more widespread damage and serious injuries in an accident than a passenger vehicle or even a commercial truck typically will.
It is important to act promptly if you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident. Private bus companies, as well as public bus systems run by municipal governments, have legal teams on their retainer to minimize the impact a crash has on the organization. Anyone injured in a bus crash, whether a bus passenger, driver in another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist, should seek legal representation as soon as possible to protect their rights to compensation for medical expenses and other losses.
In North Carolina, the bus accident attorneys of Hardison & Cochran have the knowledge and experience necessary to represent your interests after a bus accident.
The Problem with Bus Accidents
In May of 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates buses and other commercial motor vehicles, announced that in “the largest single safety crackdown in the agency’s history” it has shut down 26 bus operations, declaring them imminent hazards to public safety. The agency said these bus companies transported over 1,800 passengers a day along Interstate95, from New York to Florida and through North Carolina.
Federal safety investigators found all of the carriers had multiple safety violations, including:
- A continuous pattern of using drivers without valid commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs)
- Failure to have driver alcohol and drug testing programs
- Operating buses that had not been regularly inspected and repaired
- Putting drivers on the road who had serious hours-of-service and driver qualification violations.
In August 2013, the FMCSA announced passenger bus safety inspections across the country to remove high-risk buses and drivers from the nation’s roads. This was a followup to an earlier safety initiative that resulted in 18 bus companies being ordered out of service for safety violations and the revocation of the operating authority of 10 additional bus companies for “unsatisfactory” safety ratings.
In North Carolina in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available, the N.C. Department of Transportation reported 1,457 bus crashes, including:
- 809 school bus crashes (2 fatal, 248 with injuries)
- 402 commercial bus crashes (165 with injuries)
- 59 activity bus accidents (19 with injuries)
- 187 “other” bus accidents (1 fatal, 68 with injuries).
The FMCSA says its main concerns for motorcoach safety are:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver behavior (errors, carelessness, recklessness)
- Vehicle maintenance
- Operator oversight (failure to mandate adherence to rules and regulations).
The FMCSA also has advised bus operators of its concern that operators overload buses with passengers and luggage. A tire on a motorcoach loaded beyond its tire load carrying capacity, operated at highway speeds for a significant period of time, is more likely to fail, possibly placing the lives of passengers and other motorists at risk, the bulletin says.
Legal Assistance After an NC Bus Accident
The FMCSA has numerous rules and regulations for the safe operation of commercial buses by drivers and company owners. FMCSA research into the causes of bus accidents and their findings are published and available to private and public bus companies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) acts in a similar capacity for school buses and multifunction school activity buses.
When bus line operators and/or negligent drivers ignore or skirt rules and regulations, and this leads to accidents that cause injury and death, those responsible should be held legally accountable. Those who have been injured or suffered the death of a loved one in a bus accident may have the right to seek compensation for their losses.
Depending on the severity of a bus accident, the victim may need to undergo surgery or visit numerous specialists in the course of their recovery. Treatment for injuries may be very expensive over a lengthy period of time.
Private companies, government entities, including schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations that operate bus and passenger van services also can be held accountable for injuries or damages caused by negligence.A skilled bus accident injury lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries and other accident-related costs through the bus owner’s liability insurance and/or other assets.
The bus accident attorneys of Hardison & Cochran investigate bus accidents of all kinds as part of our personal injury practice.We conduct thorough investigations to build evidence in bus accident cases, including obtaining the help of experts in crash reconstruction and forensic engineering when necessary. Our attorneys are also skilled negotiators and litigators.
Contact a Raleigh Bus Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a bus accident in North Carolina, Hardison & Cochran can help you. Our attorneys have successfully pursued compensation for victims of motor vehicle accidents, including accidents involving school buses, activity buses, and commercial buses in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina for more than 30 years.
Our objective is to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you after a serious bus accident injury. If we cannot obtain a verdict or settlement for you, you won’t pay for our legal services.
Contact Harrison & Cochran today for a free initial consultation about your case.
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For More Information:
- North Carolina 2012 Traffic Crash Facts, N.C. Department of Transportation
- S. Department of Transportation Shuts Down 26 Bus Operations in Unprecedented Sweep, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Motorcoach Safety Action Plan, FMCSA
- Motorcoach Safety Advisory Bulletin: Exceeding Tire Load Ratings, FMCSA
- School Buses, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration