Whether they are commuting to work, sending their kids off to school, or chartering a motorcoach to a private function, more and more Hoosiers are relying on buses to get them where they need to go. Indiana’s 65 public transit systems recorded 20 million passenger trips in 2022, a 16.2 percent increase over the previous year’s ridership. Bus travel can be an convenient means of transportation, but it is not always a safe one
There are about 66,000 bus accidents annually in the United States, many of them resulting in serious, even fatal injuries. In 2021, 175 buses were involved in deadly crashes across the country, while 108 deaths were recorded in American school bus collisions during that period.
If you have been hurt in a bus accident in Indiana, you may be eligible for financial recovery, though success is never guaranteed. To tip the odds in your favor, get in touch with the Indiana bus accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been fighting for the everyday people of Indiana for more than a quarter century.
Call us at (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form to schedule a no-cost consultation with a dedicated Indiana bus accident lawyer today.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Indiana
There are multiple reasons why a bus accident may occur. Certain factors could apply to any type of crash, while others are more specific to collisions involving buses. Common causes of bus accidents in Indiana include:
● Speeding – Traveling too fast is the leading factor in motor vehicle accidents, playing a role in more than 15,000 Indiana crashes every year. Speeding drivers have less time to respond yet need more time to stop, increasing the frequency and severity of collisions.
● Driving under the influence – Intoxicated driving is a significant problem in Indiana, where law enforcement agencies make an average of one DUI arrest every 11.98 hours. While your bus driver is statistically unlikely to drive drunk, the same may not be true of other motorists on the road, and the results can be catastrophic, with 124 people killed in alcohol-related crashes in Indiana just in 2020.
● Fatigue – Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. One study found that a driver who has gone more than twenty hours without sleep may have the same level of impairment as a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, the legal limit for intoxication in Indiana. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue causes approximately 100,000 collisions, 50,000 injuries, and 800 deaths nationwide each year. Bus drivers may be more prone to fatigue because their shifts behind the wheel are over eight times as long as the typical motorist’s.
● Distraction – Distracted driving is the second most common cause of motor vehicle accidents, with phone use being one of the worst sources of distraction. Cellphones are involved in about 12 percent of all collisions, even though Indiana and other states have made it illegal to hold mobile devices while driving.
● Distraction from passengers – Passenger-based distraction has been linked to an estimated 3.55 percent of traffic accidents. Given how many passengers could be riding in a bus, their distracting behavior may be more likely to contribute to a bus accident.
● Insufficient training – Drivers must undergo extensive training before the State of Indiana officially certifies them to operate buses. When that training proves insufficient, a bus driver may have trouble doing the job without causing a crash.
● Confusion about bus operations – Even the best trained bus driver may encounter drivers who do not understand the unique way buses interact with traffic, resulting in otherwise avoidable accidents, such as rear-end collisions at designated stops.
● Inadequate bus maintenance – While all vehicles need to be kept in roadworthy condition, this need is even more pressing for mass transit buses, which accrue nearly four times the mileage of cars, light trucks, and vans. Buses that do not receive adequate maintenance could suffer disastrous malfunctions while they are in use.
Regardless of the cause of your bus accident, our Indiana bus accident attorneys are ready to advise you of the best course of action if you are contemplating a claim.
Who Is Liable in a Bus Accident?
Many parties could be liable when a bus accident takes place. While the bus driver is probably at fault in a single-vehicle crash, another driver could be blamed for a bus accident involving two or more vehicles.
In certain instances, someone who is not even present during the bus accident could be culpable, like the manufacturer of a defective part or an outside servicing agent when the incident is caused by a malfunction or a construction crew or public works department when road conditions are a factor.
Sometimes, multiple individuals and entities could have different levels of legal liability for a bus accident, for which they could share different levels of fiscal liability. Untangling such a complex scenario may necessitate the assistance of a seasoned Indiana bus accident lawyer.
The Challenge of Pursuing a Bus Accident Claim
Given how many parties may be involved in a bus accident, it is crucial to go after every one of them within the time allotted by law, known as the Statute of Limitations.
The Statute is two years for most automotive collisions in Indiana, though it can be shorter in claims against government bodies, who are often party to accidents involving mass transit buses.
If the potential defendant in a civil case is a public transportation service like IndyGo or some other state or municipal entity, additional restrictions may apply under Indiana’s Tort Claims Act. In these circumstances, a plaintiff must file a Notice of Tort Claim with the appropriate government agency within 270 days of the date of loss (or 180 days in some claims against “political subdivisions”).
Failure to meet the statutory requirements and deadlines for filing a lawsuit or establishing a claim could forever bar you from receiving full and fair compensation – a mistake that our meticulous Indiana bus accident attorneys will never let happen.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
A bus accident can be unnerving, but there are a number of steps you should remember to take to protect yourself and any case you may have, including the following:
● Call 911 – Bus drivers are supposed to alert the authorities when an accident occurs, but be prepared to dial 911 on your own so that police and emergency personnel will be there to document the incident and attend to the injured.
● Seek medical attention – If you are one of those injured, seek medical attention, either at the crash site or promptly afterwards. Any delays in treatment could hinder the healing process and create an opening for doubt to be cast on the relevance and scope of your injuries.
● Shoot pictures and videos – A contemporary visual record of the scene of a bus accident can be invaluable in determining liability, so take out your phone when it is safe to do so and shoot pictures and videos of your surroundings.
● Obtain eyewitness information – Eyewitnesses can provide independent confirmation of what happened, so obtain the contact information of any bystanders and encourage them to share their accounts with the police.
● Avoid the insurance company – You may be surprised how quickly insurance adjusters contact you after a bus accident. However, anything you say to them could be used againstyou, especially if you do not understand your rights, so try to avoid the insurance company, at least until you…
● Speak to a lawyer – A knowledgeable bus accident lawyer can educate you about your rights, answer your questions, and explain what you can expect if you initiate a case.
How Our Bus Accident Attorneys Can Make a Difference
A bus accident can be over in a matter of seconds, but its effects can last for months or even years, potentially overwhelming you with mounting medical bills and unforeseen costs while preventing you from going to work. Even making ends meet can become a challenge, much less handling the new demands on your pocketbook.
When the worst happens, you need attorneys with the compassion to support you through your struggles and the wisdom to overcome them. You need the Indiana bus accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group. No adversary is too intimidating to keep us from serving the best interests of our clients.
If you choose to retain our firm, we will carry out a comprehensive investigation into the cause of your bus accident and everyone who may be responsible for it within the time permitted by law. We will also secure all the materials necessary to construct your claim, including:
● Police reports
● Tickets and dispositions
● Witness statements
● Dash cam, traffic light, and surveillance footage
● Black box data
● Phone records
● Driver histories
● Vehicle maintenance logs
● Accident reconstruction and forensic analysis
If evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the defendants exists, our Indiana bus accident lawyers will work tirelessly to find it.
Maximize the Value of Your Bus Accident Case
After putting together an airtight case against the at-fault parties, we will attempt to negotiate a settlement that reflects the totality of your losses, including:
● Medical expenses
● Lost income
● Pain and suffering
● Psychological and emotional impairment
● Punitive and wrongful death damages (if applicable)
No two bus accident cases are exactly the same, but we will strive to maximize the value of yours.
What Will It Cost to Hire a Bus Accident Attorney?
If you are worried about more expenditures when you can least afford them, you may be pleased to learn that our firm works on a contingency basis. This means that you will not have to pay us anything until our Indiana bus accident attorneys win your case.
Hensley will take on all the risks involved in getting you the resources to get your life back on track.
Talk to an Indiana Bus Accident Lawyer Now
Since 1998, Hensley Legal Group has devoted its practice to getting justice for the wrongfully injured. If you have been the innocent victim of negligence, talk to an Indiana bus accident lawyer now to discover the remedies available to you.
Arrange a free case review with one of our Indiana bus accident attorneys by calling (317) 472-3333, chatting with us online, or completing our contact form.
Free Case Review
You won’t pay any fees until we win your case.
It’s easy - you can: