Bus Passenger Injury Claims (And Other Bus Accidents)
Claim compensation if you’ve been injured in a bus accident
Because buses and coaches can carry such a large number of passengers, both seated and standing, there is potential for numerous injuries in the unfortunate event of a collision, emergency stop or other accident.
Bus passenger injuries occur when passengers are thrown around in the bus, likely because they are not properly restrained. Common injuries include: cuts, bruises, whiplash, fractures and head injuries.
If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a bus or coach accident, you are entitled to claim for personal injury compensation. Personal injury compensation helps to compensate you for your pain and suffering, for any expense that were incurred as a result of the accident and for lost earnings.
In 2012, there were 4,790 reported passenger injuries or deaths in bus accidents across Great Britain. This is actually a big reduction compared to 2004, when 7,998 were killed or injured.
It’s always best to speak to a qualified injury lawyer about your claim. He or she will be able to determine your likelihood of success and advise you on your next steps.
Who to make a compensation claim against
Who you will claim from depends on the details of your case. Who was it who acted negligently? If the accident was the bus driver’s fault, you will claim compensation from the bus or coach company that you were travelling with. On the other hand, if another road user was responsible for the accident, you will claim against him or her. The accident may have even been caused by poor road maintenance. In this case, you will be able to claim from the council or other responsible authority.
Bus accidents involving other vehicles
When a bus crashes, it is not only the passengers who are in danger of suffering personal injuries. Other road users, such as car drivers, cyclists, motorbike riders and pedestrians can also be at risk of injury. If you’ve been injured as the result of an accident caused by a bus, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. As is the case with all other drivers on the road, bus drivers must have insurance that will cover them int he event of an accident. Any personal injury claim you make will be against the insurance policy held by the bus driver (or his company).
The scale of bus accident injuries
Although the vast majority of bus journeys pass off completely safely and with no injury, the sheer numbers of such journeys which take place every year mean that accidents are sometimes bound to happen. According to the latest figures collected by the Department for Transport, there were 4.7 billion journeys made by bus in England in 2013/14, with over half of these journeys taking place in London. The figure is based on estimates provided by the bus companies themselves which count each time someone boards a bus as a single separate journey.
The legal obligations of bus companies
In some parts of the media, the concept of claiming for compensation following an injury has been somewhat misrepresented, usually by focusing on unusual and egregious cases in which disreputable solicitors and/or clients attempted to take advantage of the system. The truth of the matter, however, is that the very nature of the so called ‘no win no fee’ system – under which solicitors only receive a fee for their work if they win the case – means that a personal injury solicitor is only going to take on those cases in which there is a good chance of success. In order to provide this chance of success, a case will have to involve circumstances where you place a degree of trust in somebody – in this case a bus company – and they abused that trust by behaving in a negligent manner, and that negligence resulted in you suffering a pesonal injury.
Anyone running a bus company, for example, has to have been granted a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) Operators licence, and in order to receive it they have to abide by the details of legislation such as the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, the Public Service Vehicles (Operators’ Licences) Regulations 1995 and the Road Transport Operator Regulations 2011.
Amongst the steps which the holder of a PSV Operator’s Licence is obligated to take are the following:
- Check tachographs for malfunctions and calibration.
- Check speed limiters.
- Keep records of tachograph charts, duty rosters and timetables.
- Check that all drivers have a licence, a certificate of professional competence, a smart card and adequate training, as well as monitoring and recording duty rotas, hours of work and record keeping.
- Check dates and details of MOTs.
- Check the extent and relevance of insurance cover and when it is due to expire.
- When carrying passengers, ensure that vehicle weight limits are complied with and that the vehicle meets the needs of passenger safety under legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act.
- Keep records of all safety maintenance inspections and repairs, even if maintenance is contracted out.
Given the raft of legal measures which the provider of a bus service has to work around, any injury which is caused by negligence or the failure to meet any of these obligations is clearly a serious matter and deserves to be compensated. Not only will compensation mark the unfairness of the way in which you’ve been treated, it will also ensure that you don’t end up being financially worse off thanks to the negligence of another party.
Bus accidents caused by poor road conditions
If the accident which caused your injury was the result of poor road conditions then the responsibility will rest with the relevant Local Authority rather than the bus company. The legislation covering the upkeep of roads is contained in the Highways Act of 1980. This states that a Local Authority must make ‘reasonable efforts’ to keep the road safe. These efforts cover the repair of damage, the removal of obstructions and the treating of snow and ice.
Demonstrating that the Local Authority has been negligent will require showing that they were aware of the problem and had a reasonable length of time to deal with it. This may mean making a Freedom of Information request to establish how often the road has been inspected and whether any reports of the problem had been recorded. If need be, you can bolster your case by requesting any CCTV footage of the incident, and, according to the Department for Transport, 82% of buses have CCTV fitted.
Get free legal advice about your claim
Many personal injury lawyers not only offer free initial consultations, but they also choose to work on a no win no fee basis. This means that there are no upfront fees and if you lose, you will not be responsible for covering the costs of your legal fees.
We have great relationships with hundreds of no win no fee lawyers across the UK. If you’re serious about bringing you claim, we’d be happy to connect you with the right professional for you.
Contact us for some advice
We understand that making a claim for compensation can be a little intimidating. You can get in touch with us by filling out the online claim form or giving us a call anytime. We’d be glad to answer any questions and set your mind at ease!