Types of Bus Accidents

Bus accidents include head-on collisions, side-impact collisions, rear-end collisions, and rollovers. You can also classify bus accidents by who causes the collision.

Two primary types of bus accidents catch lawyers’ attention: bus accidents that cause injury and accidents that cause wrongful death. After these serious accidents, victims deserve justice—and a bus accident lawyer near you can secure it.

Types of Bus Accidents by How the Vehicles Collide

We can classify bus accidents by how the bus collides with another vehicle. From this crash-type lens, types of bus accidents include:

Rear-End Collisions


One of the more common accident types, rear-end collisions, happens when one vehicle runs into the back of another.

Buses can weigh more than 60,000 pounds. This dangerous amount of weight can crush the back of another vehicle, severely injuring occupants of the impacted vehicle (and occupants of the bus). You can usually hold the rear-ending motorist liable when they strike another vehicle.

Head-On Collisions

Though head-on collisions are comparatively rare, they’re extraordinarily dangerous.

If a bus strikes another vehicle in a head-on fashion, it may indicate that:

Types of Bus Accidents

  • One or both of the motorists left the lane they should have stayed in
  • A motorist lost control of their vehicle
  • A motorist did not understand road markings or traffic rules
  • Some vehicle defects caused the vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic
  • A motorist was traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way roadway

An attorney will determine why a head-on bus accident happened and you can hold responsible.

Side-Impact Collisions

When a vehicle strikes another on the side, it’s called a side-impact collision (sometimes called a T-bone collision). These accidents are especially dangerous for someone occupying the side of the vehicle struck during the collision.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

Some bus accidents involve only the bus. Rollover accidents and collisions between a bus and a fixed object, such as a sign, traffic pole, or tree, are single-vehicle accidents. Rollover accidents are another kind of single-vehicle accident.

Single-vehicle accidents can result from dangerous road conditions, driver error, vehicle defects, and other hazards.

Causes of Bus Accidents

While few studies explore the causes of bus accidents, we know that bus accidents may result from the same hazards that cause car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Some of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents include:

Driver Error, Carelessness, or Inattention

Drivers remain the greatest safety hazard on America’s roadways.

A bus driver or other motor vehicle driver can cause a bus accident by:

Motorists typically know when they’re engaging in dangerous actions, and you can hold them liable when those dangerous actions cause an accident.

Driver Impairment

Impaired motorists pose an outsized risk of causing an accident, as they may not even know the dangers they pose to others. An impaired motorist may have limited vision, a skewed perception of their surroundings, difficulty controlling the vehicle, and may pose a higher risk of impulsive behavior.

All of these things can impair a bus driver:

  • Alcohol
  • Prescription drugs
  • Illicit drugs
  • Caffeine
  • Their own emotions
  • Fatigue

Bus drivers may drive for long periods. This may make them susceptible to fatigue and tempted to rely on caffeine or other stimulants to remain alert. Law enforcement officials and your attorney should investigate any driver suspected of drugged or drunk driving at the time of the accident.

Vehicle Defects

Defective vehicles can cause accidents, and defects may arise from:

  • Poor design
  • Manufacture using cheap or shoddy components
  • Errors during the manufacturing process
  • Improper assembly
  • Improper maintenance

Vehicle defects may be the responsibility of the vehicle manufacturer, a component manufacturer (such as a tiremaker), the owner of the bus, or the bus driver. An attorney will work with experts to identify the nature of a vehicle defect and determine who is liable for that harmful defect.

Dangerous Road Conditions

The road presents no shortage of hazards that may lead to a bus accident, including:

  • Potholes
  • Uneven pavement
  • Broken traffic signals
  • Downed signage (including stop signs)
  • Unmarked or unclearly marked roads

Municipalities generally must ensure safe road conditions. Your attorney may file a lawsuit against a city or other governmental body responsible for your bus accident.

Who Can You Hold Liable for a Bus Accident Victim’s Damages?

Bus accident lawyers evaluate liability on a case-by-case basis, and potential defendants in a bus accident case include:

A Bus Driver

If a bus driver’s direct actions, failure to respond to hazards, distractions, or impairment results in an accident, you can hold the driver personally liable for your damages. You can hold the driver’s employer liable, though, in which case suing the employer may present the soundest legal strategy.

The Owner of the Bus Involved in the Accident

You can hold the bus owner liable if the bus driver caused the accident. You can hold the bus owner solely liable if their actions contributed to the collision.

Negligence by a bus owner may include:

  • Hiring an unqualified driver
  • Failing to monitor the bus driver for drug or alcohol use
  • Failing to repair or replace a dangerous bus immediately
  • Failing to train a bus driver properly

An experienced attorney will understand a bus owner’s duty of care, and they’ll recognize any failures that led to your collision.

Another Motor Vehicle Driver

A bus driver does not always cause a bus accident. In some cases, you can hold another motorist liable for a collision.

A bus accident victim may seek compensation through the motorist’s insurer or may sue the liable party personally.

A Vehicle Manufacturer

If a bus accident results from a vehicle defect, you can hold the manufacturer of the defective vehicle or component responsible for your damages.

A Municipality

In cases where dangerous road conditions cause a bus accident, you can hold the municipality in which the accident happened liable for the accident.

Who Suffers Harm When a Bus Accident Occurs?

When a bus collides with another vehicle or a fixed object—or rolls over without striking anything—those who suffer injuries may include:

  • The bus driver
  • Bus riders
  • The driver of another motor vehicle involved in the accident
  • Occupants of a motor vehicle involved in the accident
  • Pedestrians struck by a bus or another motor vehicle

Depending on how the accident happened and who caused the collision, any of these parties may have grounds for an insurance claim or lawsuit.

You May Pursue Compensation for an Injury or Wrongful Death Related to a Bus Accident

Bus accidents can prove costly for victims, but an insurance claim or lawsuit may secure the compensation you need.

You may seek compensation if:

  • You suffered one or more injuries during a bus accident
  • You lost a loved one to injuries they suffered in a bus accident
  • Your loved one suffered a severe injury that prevents them from retaining their own lawyer

If you did not cause the accident, you shouldn’t suffer the financial and non-economic consequences of the accident. A lawyer can ensure that you don’t.

Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Bus Accident?

You must decide whether to hire an injury lawyer after a bus accident. To make this decision confidently, you must understand what a lawyer offers you.

Those who hire a bus accident lawyer:

  1. Get the law firm’s full financial backing (with no out-of-pocket costs): Bus accident victims are often in difficult financial circumstances, and law firms know that. A firm will not require any upfront fee from you; it will cover the cost of completing your case.
  2. Gain access to the firm’s (potentially considerable) resources: Personal injury firms offer attorneys, paralegals, financial backing, experts, investigators, and other resources. All you have to do is hire a law firm to gain access to these resources in service of your case.
  3. Don’t have to worry about their claim or lawsuit: Bus accident lawyers lead their clients’ cases from start to finish. As soon as you hire an attorney and provide any information they request, it’s time to focus on recovery.
  4. Receive the benefit of their lawyer’s experience: There is no substitute for experience when it comes to winning a bus accident case. If you decide to hire an attorney, seek one with prior experience representing bus accident victims.

Is it any wonder why so many bus accident victims choose to hire a lawyer? These are significant benefits that come from hiring an attorney. Plus, bus accident lawyers do not generally receive a fee unless they win for the client, so there is no direct financial risk in hiring an attorney.

What Information Should I Use to Choose a Bus Accident Lawyer?

As you research bus accident lawyers in your area and decide which law firm to hire, consider:

  • Whether the law firm has a record of handling bus accident cases (the longer the track record, the better)
  • What case results the law firm has obtained in bus accident cases, if any
  • Whether client testimonials are generally positive or negative (you can look at Google reviews and any other public forums for reviewing the firm)
  • How many attorneys the firm employs
  • Whether the firm has an office in or near your area

Complete a free consultation with any law firms you consider hiring. You can ask a firm’s representatives any questions, and you may get a brief feeling of how the firm treats its clients.

Recoverable Damages for a Bus Accident Victim

Several conditions tend to worsen the harm of a bus accident, including when the collision occurs at high speeds. However, any bus accident can cause harm, so every bus accident victim should consider hiring an attorney.

Some of the recoverable damages a bus accident lawyer can seek compensation for include:

  • Medical expenses, which can be significant in bus accident cases that cause significant injury.
  • Pain and suffering, which may include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, lost quality of life, anxiety, chronic pain, and other mental or physical health conditions. Accident victims may even experience substance issues and suicidality in severe cases.
  • Professional harm, as you may receive compensation for lost income, diminished earning power, and any other professional harm resulting from a bus accident.
  • Property expenses: If you suffered vehicle damage or any other property damage as a consequence of the bus accident, your attorney will seek compensation covering those damages.

A bus accident lawyer may seek justice for the loss of your loved one through a financial recovery for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Your pain and suffering
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship (for a spouse)
  • Loss of guidance and support (for a child)
  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support
  • Any other economic or non-economic harm resulting from the wrongful death

Your bus accident attorney will create a complete account of your damages and determine the cost of those damages.

How Bus Accident Lawyers Seek Compensation for Their Clients

Your lawyer will manage every detail of your case, including:

  • Investigating the cause of the bus accident and determining liability
  • Calculating the cost of your accident-related damages
  • Documenting each of your accident-related damages
  • Negotiating a settlement (or at least attempting to)
  • Taking your case to trial if necessary

Many bus accident cases settle, but your attorney can take your case to court if necessary.

Get Legal Help for a Bus Accident Case as Soon as Possible

Tatiana Boohoff - Attorney for Bus Accident in Tampa
Tatiana Boohoff, Tampa Bus Accident Lawyer

Your Tampa personal injury lawyer will start your case as soon as possible, as they will want to gather evidence and file your claim before any statutes of limitations expire. Put your lawyer in a position to succeed by hiring them as soon as possible.

Request A Free Consultation Today!

September 1, 2023
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