Arizona roads are shared by many different vehicles, including various kinds of buses. Buses are used for many reasons, including for transportation to work or to school or to take private tours. They may be operated by the government or by a private entity. Due to the weight and size of buses, when they are involved in an accident, the consequences can be devastating for the bus passengers and for people in smaller vehicles or pedestrians. When a bus driver or its employer is at fault for an accident, Phoenix bus accident lawyer Freddy Saavedra may be able to hold the driver, the employer, or both, responsible.
Types of Bus Accidents
The nature of the bus and the purpose for which it was being used can affect whether and how you can recover damages for a bus accident. Generally, public or city buses are used for commuters traveling locally. Often, they are operated by a local municipality or a bus company hired by the municipality.
Sometimes a group of people band together to hire a private charter bus for a sports event or another outing. The purpose of hiring the bus may be so that the people on the excursion can relax and enjoy themselves or drink alcohol. Private companies own and operate chartered private buses. Closely related are tour buses. However, sometimes the group does not put together the tour bus, but instead a company organizes the tour and hires a bus company to operate a tour bus. Also related are 15-passenger vans, which are usually rented from a rental company and driven by a certain driver in a group of people. These vans are used when space and seats are needed, but a larger bus is too big for the group’s purpose.
School buses are used to carry children to and from school. Sometimes they are also used to transport children to sporting events, field trips, or other school activities. They may be owned by a governmental entity, such as the school district or school board, but sometimes the government contracts with a private bus company. In other cases, a private school may own or operate a bus. A bus accident attorney in the Phoenix area can help determine which parties may be responsible for operating a certain bus.
Liability for Bus Accidents
Whether you can establish liability and recover damages depends partly on which party is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the bus. The rules are different when a governmental entity owns or operates the bus. You can sue a governmental entity for injuries arising out of the accident only if the government has waived its immunity for circumstances that apply to your situation. If the bus accident involves a city bus, you will probably need to hold responsible the municipality that owns the vehicle and collects revenue to be used. Similarly, you may need to hold a governmental entity, the school board, liable for injuries arising out of a school bus accident. It is important to be aware that you will need to follow certain strict timelines and procedures when a governmental entity is the defendant in your lawsuit, such as providing a notice of claim within a narrow timeframe.
If a private entity owned or operated a bus that was involved in an accident that caused injuries, a Phoenix bus accident attorney may be able to bring a lawsuit for negligence against the driver or the bus company without giving notice. However, these situations can be complicated as well, depending on the circumstances. For example, if there is a charter bus or tour bus accident, you may want to hold accountable the bus driver, the bus company, and even a tour company, if it is distinct from the bus company. To show the driver’s negligence, you will need to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care, there was a breach of the duty of care, and this resulted in the accident and your damages. It may be possible to hold the employer of the bus driver vicariously liable by showing that the driver was an employee in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident.
There are also situations in which a third party may be liable for the accident. It may be possible to hold accountable a driver of another vehicle or a product manufacturer. Sometimes it is easier to obtain full compensation for an accident when there are multiple parties at fault for it.
Hire an Experienced Bus Crash Attorney
If you suffered injuries or if a loved one was killed in a bus accident in Arizona, you should talk to a seasoned bus accident lawyer in the Phoenix area. Freddy Saavedra represents accident victims throughout Maricopa County. Contact us at (602) 753-8917 or via our online form.