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Bus accident claims

Bus crash compensation claim

Many of us rely on public transport to go about our daily lives. While bus accidents are rare events, that’s not to say they don’t occur. So, if you’ve been injured in a bus or coach accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

Bus and coach accidents are rare

Although the vast majority of bus journeys happen 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 Department for Transport, in 2021, there were 1,774 casualties (reported) on buses and coaches. This is an increase of 18% from reported injuries in 2020, but a decrease of 52% from 2017 to 2019. In the same time period, there were only 5 reported fatalities on a bus or coach in that same time period.

Given that the Department for Transport (gov.uk (PDF)) reported almost 4.5 billion journeys made by buses and coaches in England in in that period, with just over half of these journeys taking place in London. The numbers are miniscule

(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.)

Bus and coach accidents are rare events due to the good driving training and rigorous health and safety regulations. According to gov.uk, they accounted for just 1.9% of all reported road accidents in 2021.

What causes a bus or coach accident?

Accidents involving buses can arise due to many factors:

  • bad weather
  • badly maintained roads
  • other road users
  • reckless bus driving

When bus accidents occur, they can cause serious injuries to passengers, the driver, and other road users. They can result in long lasting physical and mental injuries. They can even be fatal.

So, if you’ve sustained a bus accident injury that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim.

To find out more, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Common bus accident injuries

When a bus accident happens it has the potential to cause serious injuries including lifelong disabilities due to head injuries or broken bones.

Below are some common types of injuries sustained by passengers in bus accidents:

Head Injuries

Head injuries are common in bus accidents. The most commonly reported head injury is concussion, which is a brain injury caused by a sudden blow to the head. Concussions can be mild and heal on their own, or they can cause long-term damage if they aren’t treated properly. Other types of head injuries include:

  • Facial fractures: Facial bones may break and cause cuts or bleeding inside the mouth or nose, swelling around the eyes, bruising around the ears, broken jaws and chipped teeth.
  • Eye injuries: Eyelids can become swollen shut, leading to cornea damage; retinal tears; cataracts (clouding of your lens); double vision; eye infection (ophthalmia).

Neck injuries

Common injuries to the neck in a bus accident include whiplash and cervical spine injuries.

Commonly, these injuries are the result of sudden movements of the head back and forth or side to side that cause your vertebrae to shift out of alignment.

Whiplash is usually caused by rear-end collisions; cervical spine injuries can be caused by any type of accident in which your head is thrust forward with force into something solid (like the seat in front of you).

Cervical vertebrae are small bones in your neck that protect your spinal cord as it travels through them. These bones can easily shift out of position when you’re involved in an accident, causing discomfort or pain around your neck area.

Cervical vertebrae injuries may also cause headaches, muscle spasms and stiffness around the shoulders and back.

Spinal cord injuries

If you’re injured in a bus accident, it’s possible that part or all of the nerve tissue inside your spinal cord could be damaged beyond repair.

A spinal cord injury is a serious condition that can be life-changing. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves in the spine that sends signals from your brain to your body and back again. It’s what gives you control over all of your muscles, as well as sensation in parts of your body like your hands, feet and face.

This may mean you could lose feeling in some areas (such as being unable to feel pain) or have trouble moving certain muscles on one side of the body (like being unable do anything with one arm).

A person who has suffered a severe spinal cord injury might also experience other symptoms such as: loss of bowel or bladder control; loss of sexual function; weakness across different parts of their bodies; difficulty breathing; chronic pain etc.

Back injuries

Back injuries are one of the most common types of injuries resulting from a bus accident. Because they can be so painful and difficult to treat, they can also lead to costly medical bills.

The severity of a back injury will depend on how badly injured your spine is.

For example:

  • A soft tissue injury might cause muscle spasms or inflammation in your muscles around the spine; this type of injury usually heals on its own within weeks or months after the accident occurs.
  • A compression fracture is when one vertebrae presses against another vertebrae due to trauma—this type of fracture typically heals on its own within one year after an accident occurs if there are no complications (but never fully heals).

Emotional trauma and PTSD

Emotional trauma from a bus accident can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Emotional trauma may be caused by a traumatic event that is not necessarily related to the bus accident, but it has been brought on or made worse by the bus accident.

For example, a person who suffers from anxiety may have an anxiety attack during or after their injury from the bus accident. This situation can lead to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emotional problems resulting from traumatic events are often difficult to treat because they require long term therapy and medication management.

In some cases, these issues can last throughout your life and cause distress in many areas including schoolwork and relationships with friends and family members

Emotional trauma following a bus accident can lead to a whole range of symptoms, including:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • flashbacks
  • nightmares

Common causes of injuries in bus accidents

There are numerous situations that can result in a personal injury to bus passengers and other road users.

For example:


Bus passenger injuries occur when passengers are thrown around in the bus, typically because they are not properly restrained.

This can happen when:

  • The bus hits another object, e.g. a lamp post, or a building.
  • The bus collides with another vehicle.
  • The driver accelerates suddenly before you’ve sat down.
  • The driver performs an emergency stop causing you to slip, trip, or fall.
  • The driver swerves to avoid hitting someone or something.
  • The bus is crowded and there are no seats, so you’re a standing passenger.
  • You’re a standing passenger, and the passenger safety items e.g. grab handles, are faulty.

Pedestrians and other road users

It’s not just bus passengers who might be injured in a bus accident. Pedestrians and other road users are also at risk of being injured in a bus crash.

This can happen when:

  • They’re hit by the bus as they wait to cross the road.
  • They’re standing at the bus stop and are hit by a bus.
  • The door closes prematurely, injuring them as they exit the bus.
  • The bus turns left and the driver hasn’t seen a cyclist or motorcyclist next to them.

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a bus or coach accident, or as a pedestrian or other road user, you are entitled to claim for personal injury compensation. Personal injury compensation helps to compensate you for your pain and suffering, as well as for any expense that has incurred as a result of the accident, including for lost earnings.

It’s always best to speak to a qualified injury lawyer about your claim. They will be able to determine your likelihood of success and advise you on your next steps, and help you decide whether you want to sue for bus accident injuries.

Get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Why you should claim compensation if you’ve been injured in a bus accident

Bus and coach companies have a legal duty of care toward all passengers they carry. As such, operators and drivers are required, by law, to put in place appropriate measures to guarantee passenger safety.

This is a legal requirement regardless of whether the bus company is a public bus, private coach, or school bus.

Anyone running a bus company 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.

DID YOU KNOW: A PSV Operator’s Licence is required for all vehicles designed or adapted to carry nine or more passengers who pay for their journey.

Amongst the checks which the holder of a PSV Operator’s Licence is obligated to take are the following:

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.

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?

  • Bus accidents that were the bus driver or company’s fault. If the accident was the bus company or the bus driver’s fault, you will claim compensation from the bus or coach company that you were travelling with.
  • Bus accidents involving other vehicles. On the other hand, if another road user was responsible for the accident, you will claim against him or her.
  • Bus accidents caused by poor road conditions. 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.
DID YOU KNOW: Drivers are required to have insurance to cover the costs of any compensation claims arising from accidents.

Bus accidents that were the bus driver or company’s fault

Bus companies or public transport providers have a duty of care towards all passengers. So, if you were injured as a result of falling over, for example, because the bus driver drove off before you’d sat in your seat. Or the bus doors closed on you and injured you. Or maybe the bus you were on crashed and you sustained injuries. You could claim compensation.

If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, that was the bus driver or the bus company’s fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation to cover the cost of your recovery. However, in order to claim compensation, you will need to prove that your injuries were the result of bus driver negligence, or negligence by the bus company.

When a bus crashes, it is not only the passengers who are at risk 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 a road traffic accident caused by negligence by either the bus driver or the bus company, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Any personal injury claim you make will be against the insurance policy held by the bus driver (or his company).

Bus accidents involving other vehicles

While the bus or coach company has a duty of care to keep you safe while you’re travelling with them, if you’ve suffered injuries as a result of a bus accident involving other vehicles, the other party responsible might not be the bus driver or the bus company.

If another road user was responsible for the accident, you will likely claim against them. Your personal injury solicitor will be able to determine who is at fault.

DID YOU KNOW: If the accident you’re involved in was caused by an uninsured driver you can still make a claim via the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

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. If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of a bus accident, your personal injury solicitors will work hard to ensure you receive maximum compensation.

How much compensation could you claim?

Judicial college injury tables can provide guidance for general damages.

For example:

  • Less severe wrist injuries: £7,430
  • Loss of both arms: £240,790 to £300,000
  • Moderate neck injuries: £24,990 to £38,490
  • Serious Hand Injuries: £29,000 to £61,910
  • Severe foot injury: £83,960 to £109,650

How to make a bus accident claim

When you’re injured in a bus accident, it can be scary and overwhelming. While the immediate focus is often on getting medical treatment and recovering from your injuries, there are still many other important issues to take care of too.

One of these is making a bus accident claim so that you can get compensated for any losses you’ve suffered as a result of being in the accident. And to help your personal injury solicitor in securing maximum compensation for you, there are a few things you can do to help your claim:

Gather details from the scene

Gather as much information about the incident as possible, including names and contact information for all involved parties.

This includes not just the driver of the bus, but also any witnesses and police officers who were on scene. You’ll also want to write down the name and phone number of any other injured parties too.

In order to make your case stronger, try to obtain photos of the accident (including damaged vehicles), photos that show where on your bus was hit by another vehicle (if applicable), as well as any potential damage done by debris on either side of your bus after it was struck.

Request a copy of the accident report

The next step is to request a copy of the accident report from the police. The report should include:

  • Name of driver
  • Driver’s license number
  • Bus company and bus number
  • Date of accident

Get contact details for witnesses

Once you’ve been treated for your injuries, and the police have determined that it was indeed an accident, get contact information from any witnesses, and anyone else involved in the accident.

Ask them their names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses so that you can get in touch with them later on (you’ll need their testimonies about what happened, especially if they saw what happened before or after the accident occurred.

Take photos or videos of the accident scene

  • Take photos from as many different angles as possible. If there were other vehicles involved or if there was significant damage to the bus, take pictures of this as well.
  • Get pictures of the bus driver, their name badge, and the number on their bus.
  • Take pictures or video footage of passengers and their belongings that were affected by the accident.

Get a medical check up as soon as possible

Get a medical check-up as soon as possible after the bus accident. Depending on the type of injury you sustained, your doctor may recommend an x-ray, CT scan, MRI or some other type of scan.

You should also get blood and urine tests to see if you have internal bleeding or other injuries. They may even suggest a psychological evaluation or mental health evaluation if they suspect trauma.

Get a medical note from the doctor if you’re unable to work

If you are unable to return to work, get an official note from your doctor stating your inability to work until further notice due to the injuries you have sustained in the bus accident. For example, if you were travelling in a bus when it was hit by a drunk driver, and you got whiplash, and now you’re unable to travel due to pain in your back and neck, get a note from your doctor that states this.

This is not just good practice, this is necessary if you want any chance of receiving compensation for your injuries. If there are no records of how long your injury has lasted, or the impact it’s had on your life, there is little proof that it happened.

Get free legal advice about your bus accident claim

Many personal injury lawyers not only offer free initial consultations, but they also choose to sue the bus company involved 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.

Our partners have great relationships with hundreds of no win no fee solicitors across the UK. If you’re serious about bringing you claim, they will be happy to connect you with the right professional for you.

Make a bus accident claim on a no win no fee basis

If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you might be eligible to claim compensation on a no win no fee basis. Simply get in touch with a legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438 and if they believe you have a case, they’ll pass your case over to one of our specialist personal injury solicitors who will be able to help you make your claim on a no win no fee basis.

Pursuing a compensation claim on a no win no fee agreement takes the financial risk out of claiming for you, because it means that if your bus accident claim isn’t successful, then you won’t have to pay your solicitor’s fees.

If you do win your claim, you’ll pay your solicitor a percentage of the compensation you receive – but this will only ever make up a small amount of your money, and your solicitor will tell you how much this is before you proceed.

The amount you pay in fees will never be more than 25% of your awarded compensation, so you’ll have the financial help you need to move on following your accident.

Speak to an advisor about personal injury claims

We understand that making a claim for compensation can be a little intimidating. You can get in touch with a trained legal adviser by filling out the online claim form on this page or giving them a call for free on 0800 234 6438. They’ll be glad to answer any questions and set your mind at ease.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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