Last Update: 01/05/16
Unfortunately, when someone gets hit by a bus they are usually seriously hurt or even killed in the accident. Most of the victims are on foot — which Florida law defines as a “pedestrian”. Fortunately, pedestrians involved in some type of vehicular accident are afforded protection under Florida’s personal injury law.
Pedestrians Hurt or Killed in Bus Accidents
Too many people die in pedestrian accidents in this country. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA):
“On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes. Fourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians.”
For more on why this is happening, read our earlier post, “Top 13 Reasons Why Pedestrians Are Hit By Motor Vehicles.”
However, a particularly tragic type of pedestrian accident happens when it is a bus-related accident. These can be school buses, tour buses, or commercial buses like those Miami-Dade Transit buses that we pass on the roads all the time here.
People getting seriously hurt because they are hit by a bus happens with regularity in our state; for example, just a few weeks ago an elderly woman was seriously injured and had to be airlifted from the accident site in Palm Harbor after she was hit by a commercial bus while crossing the street.
Last fall, the Miami New Times had an interesting expose on the dangers of our local transit buses in a story entitled, “Dozens Are Injured Every Year On Miami-Dade Buses, Often By Drivers With Bad Records.” Written by Trevor Bach, the news article delved into the dangers of commercial transit buses here, and how people are hurt all too often in bus-related accidents and how there appears to be a problem here with driver error — and the Powers that Be turning their heads to what is happening.
In the news story, the people that are getting hurt most often are those who ride the transit buses here in the Miami area— adults, some of them seniors who prefer to ride the bus rather than take their car.
Should Bus Drivers Be Arrested After a Crash?
This isn’t just a local problem. It’s a national concern; right now, for example, there’s a big debate up in New York City on whether or not a law should be passed to allow bus drivers to be ARRESTED for their involvement in bus crash accidents where a pedestrian or a passenger is hurt or killed. (Criminal arrests of the bus driver would not be part of a civil personal injury case, but it would be evidence of the bus company’s liability for damages sustained by the accident victim.)
School Bus Accidents Where Young Pedestrians Are Hurt
There is another big concern regarding bus-related pedestrian accidents here — and that involves young kids and teenagers being hurt going to or from a school bus stop.
NHTSA studies show that each year, 21% of people who perish in a school bus accident are not on the school bus but are near it as pedestrians, sometimes bicyclists.
School kids are particularly at risk for being injured in a bus accident because they are not as likely to be vigilant to danger as adults. Children awaiting their bus at a bus stop, or those kids who are entering or exiting the school bus on their way to school or returning home from classes, are pedestrians who are at high risk of being hit by a school bus.
While it’s important to have children instructed on the dangers of bus-related pedestrian accidents, it’s also extremely important for bus drivers of school buses and those driving vehicles near a school bus stop to take extra care as they maneuver through these areas. A child who is hit by a school bus has a particularly high risk of serious injury or death from this type of crash.
Pedestrian Victims of a Bus Accident
For those who have been hit by a bus while on foot, it is all too often a life-changing event. These bus crash victims may have claims against the bus company that operates the bus, as well as the driver (who should have insurance coverage through his employer), and perhaps others who share responsibility for the bus – like a school or organization who provides bus travel.
Having an experienced Florida injury lawyer on hand to sort through the liability issues and the claims process can be comforting to a pedestrian who has suffered serious injuries in a bus crash.
What Should You Do Now?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed by a pedestrian accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.