People take buses all the time, and many assume that such a big vehicle is always a safe place to be. In reality, bus accidents happen more often than people realize, and they are extremely dangerous for passengers and other drivers.
While public transportation is a bit limited in Florence compared to bigger cities, there are a few options. Alternatively, many people charter private buses for private events. Whether public or private, bus accidents are possible, and injuries can be deadly serious. When analyzing a crash, there might be numerous parties you can sue for damages. Bus drivers and other drivers are often directly responsible, but private bus companies or even local municipal entities might be vicariously liable. To start your claim, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Arrange a free evaluation of your claims by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and talking to our bus accident lawyers.
Possible Bus Accidents in and Around Florence, AL
Public transportation around Florence is limited compared to more populated areas and cities. Even so, some public transit exists. A service called Dial-a-Ride is available, but only during certain hours and by availability. Using Dial-a-Ride, residents may call and arrange a ride at a predetermined time and place. Dial-a-Ride vehicles are often small buses that pick up multiple passengers. Passengers or other drivers might be injured in an accident with these vehicles.
Another potential bus accident might involve private rather than public transportation. People often charter private buses for large events and trips. Alternatively, a private bus company like Greyhound might pick up or drop off passengers in the area or simply pass through. Accidents with these buses can be devastating, especially on major highways where the speed limit is faster than residential streets.
There might not be a lot of bus traffic in northwest Alabama compared to other more urban areas, but accidents are still possible. For example, a private or public bus might crash along the Singing River Bridge going to or from the Muscle Shoals area. State Route 157, which spans this bridge, is often busy, and the risk of accidents might be greater.
Drivers should also be more defensive along Lee Highway, another major highway that runs through Florence. The University of North Alabama can be very crowded and busy, especially during the school year when classes are in session. For example, the area of North Pine Street that runs through the campus can be very hectic, and a bus passing through the area might crash.
Liable Parties in Bus Accident Lawsuits in Florence, AL
Bus accidents are often complicated. Not only are there often numerous drivers and passengers involved, but the accident scenes tend to be large and take longer to investigate. As such, it is often unclear at first who is responsible for the crash. If the investigation of your crash is still pending, there are some potentially liable parties you should consider.
Although it seems obvious, the leading cause of accidents on the road is driver negligence. What’s not obvious is which driver was negligent and how their negligence caused the accident. In bus crashes, it is common for injured victims to blame bus drivers, which is understandable. However, other drivers might have contributed to the crash and should also be examined for liability.
For example, the bus driver might have been distracted behind the wheel. Perhaps they were talking to a passenger, looking at their phone, or even dozed off. In that case, the bus driver should be held liable. However, another driver might have also contributed to the crash. Suppose the bus driver was speeding when another driver cut them off without signaling, causing the driver to slam the brakes and swerve into the other lane, toppling the bus. In that case, both drivers can be held liable because both behaved negligently and caused the crash.
If the bus driver is potentially liable, their employer might be too. Private bus companies can be held vicariously liable for their employee’s negligence and the resulting injuries. Under the legal theory known as respondeat superior, an employer may be held vicariously liable for injuries caused by a negligent employee. The employee’s negligence must have been within the scope of their normal job duties. Intentional or criminal acts of harm are usually not covered.
Another possibility is that the bus driver was so unfit for the job that the bus company should have known better than to hire them. You can sue the bus company for negligent hiring if the bus driver was too dangerous to be behind the wheel. This is common in DUI accidents. The bus driver might have been drunk when they caused the accident, and DUI accidents are criminal offenses not covered by respondeat superior. To hold the bus company liable, you can sue them for negligent hiring if they knew the bus driver had a history of DUIs and alcohol abuse when they hired them.
Although less typical, the state or local government may be held liable for the bus accident. The government might be implicated if extremely poor road conditions caused the accident or if the bus was part of a public transportation network.
Florence, AL is less densely populated than other more urban areas, and public transit is less common. However, residents may arrange public transit through the Dial-a-Ride service maintained by the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG). If the bus is involved in an accident, the NACOLG might be implicated.
The Department of Transportation handles poor road conditions. You might have a claim against the government if road conditions were so bad that they contributed to the crash. A common example of bad road conditions is large potholes. If a pothole was so dangerous and unavoidable that it caused a crash, you might have a case against the government for failing to maintain the roads.
Suing the government is different from suing a private person or entity. Claims against state or local government entities must be filed within a must stricter deadline, according to Ala. Code § 11-47-23. You must submit a notice of your claim to the appropriate government entity within 6 months of the accident or lose your right to sue the government.
Call Our Florence, AL Bus Accident Attorneys for Legal Assistance
Set up a free evaluation of your potential lawsuit by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and talking to our bus accident attorneys.