The last several years has seen a surge in charter, transit and tour bus accidents throughout the Northeast, especially in New York and New Jersey.
The crashes have caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is directing more awareness toward safety.
Passenger protection is an especially high concern for tour buses, following the March fatal crash of a tour bus returning to New York City’s Chinatown after an overnight trip to a Connecticut casino. Fifteen people died when the bus toppled onto its side and struck a pole. That same month, a luxury bus heading from Chinatown to Philadelphia crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike, resulting in two deaths.
More recently, several people were injured in early August when a tour bus carrying more than 30 passengers flipped on an upstate New York highway.
According to Ricky Bagolie, co-founder of Bagolie Friedman Injury Lawyers, a personal injury law firm in Jersey City, NJ, roughly 12,000 people are injured and 330 people killed every year in the United States due to bus-related crashes. In instances involving fatal or serious tour bus accidents, evidence often shows drivers lack proper training and credentials to safely operate the vehicles.
Common crash causes include driver inattention and speeding, in addition to rollovers resulting from flawed designs and damaged parts. Of course, equipment exists to prevent many charter and tour bus crashes, while also increasing the likelihood of fewer injuries and death. But safety regulations are rarely followed.
Top-heavy designs and limited seatbelts are two critical factors that lead to serious injuries (and often death) during bus accidents. There are also risks outside tour buses, as driver fatigue, speeding, improper maintenance and blind spots put pedestrians at risk.
Federal and state guidelines require transportation carriers to put greater safety precautions in place for tour buses, as compared to smaller vehicles. So when these measures aren’t followed and a crash occurs, tour bus companies can be held liable for passengers’ injuries or deaths.
Bagolie is representing a passenger permanently disabled in the deadly Chinatown-to-Philadelphia bus crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. The lawsuit contends the tour bus company operated without regard for passenger safety and failed to properly train, hire and supervise its drivers.
Victims of tour bus crashes can sometimes receive higher settlements because of the greater required insurance coverage. But settling a lawsuit without the help of a tour bus crash lawyer can be challenging because of all the regulations and deadlines. Furthermore, lawsuits from charter or tour bus accidents usually involve multiple state laws and federal regulations.
If you or a loved one was hurt as a result of an accident involving a tour bus, fighting for a settlement is your best way to ensure negligent parties make safety a greater priority. But realize tour bus companies have an advantage after accidents because they have teams of risk management personnel (including their own lawyers) who are well-versed in ways to minimize your recovery.
A personal injury and workers’ compensation trial lawyer, Ricky Bagolie is co-founder of Bagolie Friedman Injury Lawyers, a personal injury law firm with offices in New Jersey, New York and Florida. He offers aggressive representation and free consultations. Get more of his free tips and insider ideas for protecting your rights after an accident at https://www.bagoliefriedman.com.