Many people rely upon commuter buses to get to work quickly and safely, especially in a large city like Chicago. The Windy City has a comprehensive transit system, including subways and buses, and they shuttle thousands of people through the metropolis every day.
With hundreds of different bus lines and countless buses in the CTA fleet, it’s understandable that there are occasionally accidents throughout the city; some of these are harmless, but many can result in catastrophic accidents for passengers or those who are hit by a bus. Today, we’ll describe why bus accidents are so dangerous, what kinds of laws relate to commuter buses, and how those injured in a bus accident can receive justice for their injuries.
The large size and length of buses makes accidents particularly dangerous
Buses are large, blocky vehicles, with a very wide turning radius and far less maneuverability than a small passenger vehicle, which makes it all the more likely that they will get into an accident with tragic consequences. While CTA drivers are highly skilled and experienced, the size and lack of maneuverability makes it difficult for even the most attentive driver to completely avoid accidents.
Some buses in the CTA fleet even have an accordion-style connection in the middle, which makes them longer and more difficult to maneuver safely. In addition, buses have a high center of gravity, which means that they can easily roll over should they be T-boned at an intersection. This can endanger not just the passengers of the bus, but also any cars that may be in the intersection at the time of the accident – especially because the bus may actually land on their car and make it incredibly difficult for the car’s driver and passengers to be extricated from the vehicle.
It’s not just those who are struck by a bus who are in danger. Because buses do not have seatbelts for the majority of riders, these passengers are very likely to fall and hit obstacles within the bus. Especially during high-traffic times, some buses may be standing-room only, and those who are standing during an accident could fall and injure themselves as well as any individuals they land on.
There are clear laws governing transit authorities, which makes it clear who will be held responsible for an accident
Commuter buses are highly regulated at both the local, state, and federal level to ensure the greatest safety for all those on the road, but this does not mean that accidents never happen. All buses in the Chicagoland area, whether in the city or outside of it, are regulated by the Regional Transit Authority, or RTA, which oversees and maintains the bus fleet. Additionally, the RTA itself is beholden to the regulations of the Illinois Department of Transportation, which mandates certain conditions for the safe functioning of all buses. This includes carrying minimum liability insurance and requiring that bus drivers have the appropriate licenses to safely operate these vehicles.
In the event of an accident, a bus company can be held liable, particularly if it can be proven that it or its employees acted irresponsibly.
In the case of an accident, those injured can receive justice by working with a Chicago personal injury attorney
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, it can be incredibly tempting to take the first offer that’s given to you by the bus company or its insurance agent, as it may seem like a good deal if you have little experience with personal injury. However, before you even speak to any third parties, you should reach out to a Chicago bus accident lawyer, who can negotiate with the insurance company and transit authority on your behalf. They have the knowledge and experience to know what is a fair settlement, and they can ensure that you do not accidentally say anything that would implicate yourself as somehow responsible for the accident.
Sometimes these settlements will fail, which is when your personal injury attorney will sue the bus company, the insurance company, or any other parties who may have been responsible for the accident. A personal injury law firm experienced in bus accidents has the knowledge and resources necessary to successfully prove that the defendants were responsible for your injuries, and they will be aware of what would be appropriate and fair compensation for your injuries.
Should you ever be in a bus accident, it’s important to understand that you don’t need to go through this alone: while doctors can assist you with the physical healing process, a personal injury attorney will ensure that you have the funds necessary to make a full recovery. A law firm with knowledge of bus accidents can mean the difference between unfairly struggling with medical bills, or having the peace of mind that you can pay for your recuperation in every way possible. While bus accidents are terrifying, having a personal injury lawyer on your side can make the healing process much easier.