Buses, ferries, taxis, and shuttles are an important part of our transportation system. Especially in the metropolitan Seattle and Bellevue areas. Unfortunately however, bus accidents in Seattle are also a common problem. The people who ride these vehicles expect them to be safe, however this isn’t always the case. Poor vehicle maintenance, training, and human error lead to hundreds of bus accidents in Seattle a year.
Don’t Give Anyone Your Statement
If you’re in a bus accident, the investigators and insurance adjusters for the transit service will call you to get your statement. They do this as a tactic to get you to admit things or make statements they can use against you. They do this so they can deny liability and minimize your claim.
It’s important to speak with an experienced bus accident attorney as soon as possible. That way, you can be advised on what to say and what not to say. Or better yet, not have to say anything at all! With an expert bus accident lawyer on your side, they will take care of the insurance company while you focus on getting better. If you were in a bus accident in Seattle, you should talk with a bus accident attorney today.
Types Of Bus Accidents
Mass transportation has gained a great deal of popularity in the last 10 years. Most of the vehicles on the road are still cars and trucks, however with the growing population many people have started taking the bus. In fact, nearly half of the downtown Seattle commuters take some form of mass transportation. With that said, here are the different types of bus accidents in Seattle.
- Commercial bus accidents: These types of buses include King County Metro buses, Sound Transit buses, Community Transit, school buses, Vanpool, Vanshare, and Ride The Ducks vehicles, etc.
- Private transportation bus accidents: These vehicles include shuttle buses, taxis, limos, carpools, airport shuttles, Microsoft Connectors, Grey Lines, etc.
- Trolley and street car accidents: For example, these would be vehicles like a Lake Union Trolley or a Seattle Streetcar.
- Ferry Accidents: Though less common, these accidents are just as dangerous. Washington State Ferries, water taxis, private cruises, and whale-watching tours are examples of these.
- Railcar accidents: These can be some of the most frightening accidents, as they often result in serious injuries or death. These include mass transportation vehicles like the Seattle Monorail, Sound Transit Light Rail, Link Light Rail, and Amtrak.
- Church Bus & Van Accidents: Many churches provide passenger vans and buses to take congregation members and groups to special events. Church buses are usually viewed as being “perfectly safe” transportation. But the reality does not match this perception. In fact, serious church bus accidents do happen.
- School Bus Accidents: School buses are often the most convenient way for many families to get their kids to and from school. Additionally, school buses also transport children to sporting events and field trips. However, unfortunately for some families, their child ends up getting hurt in a school bus accident.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
With the many different types of bus accidents in Seattle, there are also many different causes for these accidents. Because of this, determining who or what was at fault can be a challenge. That’s why it’s so important to hire a Seattle bus accident lawyer. A Seattle bus accident attorney who knows the legal process, what proof to look for, and how to win your case against the insurance company. That said, the most common causes of bus accidents include:
- Negligence by the bus company. Some bus companies cut corners in some areas to hit the bottom line. Their goals are to raise profits, but in doing so it puts people like you and me at risk on the roads. Things like proper training, enforcing safety measures, and following federal regulations often get left by the wayside to keep the corporate machine running smoothly.
- Negligence by the bus driver. Though the bus driver may have caused the bus accident, a smart attorney will know to look at the company the driver works for to find fault. They do this by looking to see if poor training or being forced to work long hours causing fatigue was the real cause. This then will give you a leg to stand on against the bus company.
- Negligence by other drivers. If another another driver hits the bus and is at fault, then the other driver is liable for the damages.
- Left hand turns. While make left turns, a bus driver’s view is temporarily blocked from seeing other vehicles and pedestrians.
- Blind spots. A blind spot is a danger for all drivers, not just bus drivers. They are the area you cannot see in your mirrors to the side or rear of your vehicle. However, a bus has a much larger blind spot than a typical motor vehicle.
- Bad weather. While drivers may often have plenty of experience driving in the rain, ice, or snow, these conditions still cause many bus accidents in Seattle.
Bus Accident Statistics
- According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large truck and bus accidents that resulted in injury increased by 62% from 60,000 in 2009 to 97,000 in 2015 nationwide.
- Large truck and bus accidents increased another 8% from 2016 to 2018, jumping from 112,000 in 2016 to 121,000 in 2018.
- From 2008 to 2018, of all the fatal bus accidents nationwide, 12% were intercity buses, 40% were school buses, and 35% were transit buses.
- In 2018, 5,096 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal auto accidents. That is a 48% increase from the 3,432 fatal accidents in 2009.
- The vast majority of fatal (83%) and non-fatal (88%) bus accidents in Seattle occurred during weekdays.
School Bus Accidents
School Bus Safety Regulations in Washington State
Meanwhile, the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)’s Student Transportation group oversees the transportation of Washington Students. Moreover, the state authorizes the office to oversee the training and qualifications of school bus drivers.
What’s more, the office is responsible for funding operations and the school bus depreciation and replacement systems. Furthermore, the office also manages the bidding process for school buses. Also, student Transportation works in association with the Washington State Patrol to inspect school buses to ensure their safety.
What’s more, the OSPI publishes regulations for school bus safety in Washington State. These include:
- Washington State School Bus Driver Handbook
- School Bus Specifications Manual
- School Bus Stop Violation Camera Systems Specification
- OSPI/WSP Inspection Interpretations
- School Bus and Traffic Safety Education Vehicle Inspection Manual
How Are School Bus Accidents Investigated?
Another key point is that school bus accident investigations should begin right away after the crash. That is to say, victims and witnesses may lose the memory of the accident over time. Additionally, investigations must determine fault. Moreover, the accident may be the result of failing to comply with safety regulations, policies, and procedures or vehicle failure.
Further, not only do investigations determine fault, but they also prevent future accidents from occurring. Also, accident investigations usually highlight safety issues to introduce safety features and/or training in the future.
More importantly, school bus accidents undergo tedious investigation. That is to say, in most cases involving school bus accidents, multiple groups, and entities conduct their own investigations. These investigations include:
- The local/responding police department
- The bus driver who will submit an “incident/accident report”
- The school district will likely have a supervisor create a “supervisor’s crash report”
- The busing contractor will conduct an investigation
- The attorneys representing injury victims may hire a private investigator
- Insurance companies representing possible defendants may hire a private investigator
What You Should Know About School Buses
Moreover, the following is a list of some of the school bus contractors in the State of Washington:
- Baumann & Sons Buses, Inc.
- Cook Illinois Corporation
- Dean Transportation Incorporated
- Durham School Services
- First Student, Incorporated
- Harlow’s School Bus Service, Incorporated.
- Kobussen Busses, Ltd
- Landmark Bus
- The TransGroup, LLC
The following is a list of some of the school bus manufacturers in the State of Washington:
- Blue Bird Corporation
- IC Bus
- Starcraft Bus
- Thomas Built Buses, Inc.
- Collins Industries
- Girardin Minibus
- Trans Tech
- Van Con
- Lion Bus
The following is a list of types of school buses:
- Type A – Cutaway Van. These are the smallest-sized buses. The typical passenger capacity for these buses ranges from 30-36 passengers.
- Type B – Integrated. These buses are slightly larger than Type A. However, they also hold about 30-36 passengers.
- Type C – Conventional Bus. These buses are constructed from a bus body mounted on a medium-duty truck chassis. Typical passenger capacity ranges from 36-78 passengers.
- Type D – Transit Bus. These buses are constructed from a bus body mounted to a separate chassis. Typical passenger capacity ranges from 54-90 passengers.
Student Transportation Safety Issues
Most importantly, school buses, as part of the transportation industry, are highly regulated. Furthermore, they undergo federal monitoring during manufacturing and also when a school bus is out for field trips. Additionally, the state regulates school buses when the bus is being regularly used.
Moreover, states have extensive regulations for school buses through the motor vehicle and education laws. However, school districts also apply their own policies to school bus operations such as:
- Lack of seat-belts on school buses
- School bus capacity concerns
- Number of students per seat
- Driver training
- School bus outsourcing
How Are School Districts and Bus Drivers Held Accountable?
Additionally, school districts should hire drivers with few traffic violations, if any. Similarly, bus drivers must drive with caution and care to keep children safe. However, these responsibilities are not always met and when they are not, kids get hurt. Moreover, this is when it is helpful to have a skilled Seattle area school bus accident lawyer on your side.
At Premier Law Group, our attorneys handle personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits involving:
- Negligent hiring of school bus drivers
- Failure to maintain buses properly
- Driving too fast for weather conditions
- Allowing kids out of their seats while the bus is in motion
- Failing to stop at railroads crossings
- Failing to put out the stop sign
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Defective brakes and other parts
Also, we are dedicated to our clients. What’s more, we aim to get you the compensation you deserve so your child can recover and your family can heal. Moreover, our child injury attorneys will review the circumstances of the accident to determine what happened. Further, we will gather evidence to present to insurance companies and juries. In short, we want to maximize the compensation your child receives while they focus on recovery.
Don’t Wait To Speak With A Bus Accident Attorney in Seattle!
If you were injured in a bus accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, or Federal Way, don’t wait to speak with an attorney! Every day that passes is another day that the insurance adjusters are working towards denying your claim. However, at Premier Law Group, whether you hire us now or several months from now, we don’t charge a penny unless we win! Give us a call and we can start laying the groundwork for your case. You deserve justice, and the insurance company will fight hard to prevent you from getting it.
Our expert bus accident lawyers have time-tested tactics against insurance companies. We will go to battle for you; and win! Give us a call for a FREE consultation at 206-285-1743. We would be happy to speak with you and see what we can do to help!