Charleston Bus Accident Lawyer
Today, there are more passengers on more buses than ever before. The increased ridership and traffic means an increased risk of serious injury. Since people literally place their lives in the hands of a bus company, the company is legally responsible for these injuries, at least in most cases.
At the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm, our experienced Charleston bus accident lawyers routinely handle these matters throughout the Palmetto State. Over the years, we have developed proven methods which ensure maximum compensation for your injuries. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
On-Board Passenger Injuries
The chaperones on school buses do not just keep unruly children in line. These chaperones also monitor passenger safety. They break up arguments before they become violent, keep the pushing and shoving to a minimum, and clean spills before someone falls. The bus owner, which is usually the school district, has a duty of care to prevent all these injuries.
Most intercity and municipal buses don’t have chaperones. Therefore, the driver must assume these responsibilities. A pre-departure inspection and safety announcements are not enough to fulfil the duty of care in this situation. Bus passengers are invitees. They pay money to be on board the bus. As such, the company has a duty of care. That duty requires more than a one-time safety check.
Speaking of duty, commercial operators, like bus drivers and Uber drivers, have a duty of utmost care. They must use all their training and experience on every trip, so passengers get safely from Point A to Point B.
Intercity Bus Wrecks
Since they are basically wearing two hats (driver and chaperone), intercity operators are always distracted. If that distraction substantially causes an accident, the company could be legally responsible for damages. More on that below.
Furthermore, drowsy driving is a serious problem. Many intercity and tour bus drivers are behind the wheel late at night and/or early in the morning. Most people are naturally drowsy at these times.
Bus companies are financially responsible for damages in these cases, because of the respondeat superior rule. Employees are liable for the negligence of their employees, if that conduct occurs during the scope of employment. South Carolina law defines all these key terms in broad, victim-friendly ways.
Other employer liability theories, which often apply in assault and other intentional tort claims, include negligent hiring and negligent supervision.
Municipal Bus Wrecks
These same basic principles apply to municipal bus drivers. The duty of care is the same, the hazards are the same, and the respondeat superior rule usually applies.
However, these cases are procedurally different. First, victim/plaintiffs must overcome the sovereign immunity doctrine. This principle shields governments from most liability lawsuits. The negligent acts exception usually applies in these cases.
Then, victim/plaintiffs must normally file a notice of claim. This notice gives the county, city, or other government unit a chance to settle the claim quietly out of court. After an investigation, the bus owner must make a reasonable settlement offer. Many cases end at that point. Most victim/plaintiffs have the option to go to court and seek additional compensation.
Connect with a Savvy Charleston County Bus Accident Lawyer
Bus accident injury victims are entitled to fair compensation for their serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Charleston bus accident lawyer, contact the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.