Most people consider buses to be a safe mode of transportation; however, this does not imply that buses are immune to accidents. For many people in Nevada, buses are the most convenient forms of transportation. A majority of people rely on buses as a reliable and safe method of transport. However, when a bus crashes, the results can be devastating. Buses qualify as common carriers and have to abide by the strict common carrier law in Nevada. If you suffer injuries in a bus accident in Nevada, you may no longer be able to return to work and provide for your family. Under these circumstances, you would be hoping to get compensation for your damages and injuries. Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can help assess your case and determine the compensation you deserve.
Common Carrier in Nevada
Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination and attracts visitors from all over the world. The city has a wide range of activities to offer, and most people visit for leisure, to attend conferences, and other events. Irrespective of the reason for visiting Las Vegas, the visitors do not bring their private vehicles but rely on public means of transport. Therefore, a majority of people use common carriers when getting around Las Vegas and while visiting different venues in the city.
According to Nevada law, a common carrier is a legal term that encompasses all businesses that are willing and ready to transport individuals from one place to the other. The typical carriers may operate in a fixed scheduled route and may work on an on-call basis. Common carriers include buses, airplanes, trains, and taxi companies. Some standard carriers are privately operated while state agencies operate others. All common carriers, both public and private, have one thing in common. All the carriers are under the same regulations by the federal and state governments.
All common carriers have to abide by numerous safety rules and regulations, to operate legally in Nevada. If a common carrier fails to abide by the set rules and regulations and people suffer injuries in the process, the common carrier is held liable. Even if common carriers abide by all set rules and regulations, the carriers' operators have to exercise their due duty of care. This means that the operators must act the way a reasonable operator would act while operating the common carrier. The operator has to ensure that the passengers are safe. If an employee of the common carrier company act in a negligent manner and injuries occur, the carrier operator is held liable.
Why the strict common carrier laws in Nevada? The majority of common carriers operate vehicles that transport many people at a time. Therefore, if an accident occurs, the results are often catastrophic. For this reason, the state of Nevada holds the carriers to the highest possible standard of safety. The strict standards help to avoid situations of mass transportation injuries.
Bus Accidents in Las Vegas
In the state of Nevada, common carriers are under the regulation of Federal and State laws. The laws regulate common carriers to a high obligation and duty of care to their passengers. The state aims at enhancing the safety of passengers on common carriers. Commercial bus companies in Nevada have to enhance the safety of their passengers in several ways.
The common carrier operators have to ensure that they make entries and exits safe for their passengers. The operators also have to enhance the safety of the passengers. Common carrier operators have to ensure that their drivers have the right qualifications to operate buses. The bus operators have to ensure that the buses are well maintained. Maintenance entails ensuring that all the parts are working well, including the mechanical parts, bus engines, and motors. Common carrier operators are responsible for monitoring and correcting any problems that arise.
According to the law, all road users have a legal obligation to act reasonably to avoid inflicting injuries on other people. If a person fails to prevent injuries to other people reasonably, he/she may face charges for the resulting injuries and damages.
Duty of care applies to all motor collisions, including common carriers. If a bus driver operates his/her mobile phone while driving and causes an accident in the driver may be guilty of failing to exercise due care. The victims would have a right to sue the driver and seek compensation, even if the driver did not intend to cause the accident.
Unlike personal vehicle drivers, bus drivers are subject to an additional duty of care. Common carriers in Nevada are liable for the injuries of the passengers, even if the carriers were only slightly negligent during the accident.
Why Bus Accidents More Complicated than Vehicle Accidents
Bus accidents are more complicated than personal vehicle accidents. It is also more complicated to litigate a bus accident compared to a vehicle accident:
Buses are inherently dangerous because of their height. Buses have a higher risk of tipping or rolling over, and this increases the likelihood of bus accidents. Most city buses in Nevada do not have safety restraints like seat belts and lack other safety features like airbags.
Causes of Bus Accidents in Nevada
There are several causes of bus accidents in Nevada, and the most common include collisions. An accident may occur if a bus collides with other vehicles. A bus may also collide with other objects, including highway signs, guardrails, and other structural elements on the highway.
A bus accident may also occur if a bus hits a pedestrian or an animal. Bus safety in the state of Nevada has greatly improved in the past decade. However, bus accidents are still relatively common, and when they occur, they cause significant damage to property and detrimental injuries on passengers. Bus accidents are particularly common in Las Vegas. Every year, tourists from across the United States and the world at large converge in Las Vegas, a world-recognized entertainment capital. The majority of tourists do not rent private personal vehicles. Instead, they prefer using commercial buses and other forms of mass transportation to tour the city. There is always a steady flow of tourists in and out of Las Vegas due to the thriving tour bus business. For these reasons, Las Vegas has high bus traffic, and bus accidents are equally serious.
Most collisions occur due to the negligence of the bus driver. A driver is negligent if he/she fails to observe traffic signs or engages in reckless behavior like distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving. Improper bus maintenance may also lead to a collision if some parts of the bus fail, and the driver is unable to control the bus.
Bus accidents may also occur due to hazardous conditions when passengers are boarding or alighting from the bus. The bus operators have a duty of ensuring that the passengers do not face risks when boarding or getting off the bus. For instance, the operators should de-ice the entryways during winter. To avoid slip-and-fall accidents at the bus station, the operator should avoid wet floors.
Injuries in commercial buses may also occur due to criminal activities. The common carrier companies should do their best to protect passengers from criminal activities. Despite all the efforts by the bus operators, at times, it may be hard to protect passengers from criminal activities. Steps that the common carrier companies should take include installing surveillance cameras to help capture criminal activities.
Bus accidents in Nevada also occur when the driver fails to yield right of way and engages in improper driving. If a driver follows too closely behind other vehicles or fails to keep in lane, a bus accident may occur. The main cause of a bus accident may not be immediately apparent.
Upon hiring a personal injury attorney, the attorney will conduct investigations to establish the actual cause of a bus accident. The attorney will find out about certain factors, including the weather conditions at the time of the accident. The attorney will also establish the state of the bus and the safety equipment. Other factors investigated include the state of the highway at the time the accident occurred. The bus company's safety records, maintenance records, and records of discipline against the driver will also help in determining the root cause of the bus accident.
Common Injuries from Bus Accidents
Most common carrier buses carry many passengers; some buses may carry up to 100 passengers. When an accident occurs, passengers may fall off their seats and jolt against each other. Bus passengers do not enjoy safety features like airbags, which are common in smaller vehicles. When a bus accident occurs, the bus occupants are prone to more severe injuries.
When a bus accident occurs, common injuries sustained by passengers include fractures and broken bones, whiplash, head trauma, concussions, herniated disks, back injuries, torn ligaments, and sprains. If the passengers are unable to get out of the bus after an accident and remain therein for an extended period, they may suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning. In severe bus accidents, the passengers may even lose their lives.
Liability in a Bus Accident in Nevada
When an accident involving smaller personal cars occurs, it is often easy to establish liability. Usually, the negligent driver is responsible for the injuries suffered by the victims. Accidents involving private cars are less complicated, and insurance companies settle the claims fast. However, a bus accident is more complicated because there may be several liable parties.
The laws that regulate buses are also more complicated and take into consideration a wide range of factors. Some of the factors that count when investigating a bus accident include the company or the bus operator and the place where the bus accident occurred. You also have to consider the state in which the bus is registered. Some tour buses may operate in Nevada but are registered in other states. Usually, investigating bus accidents is a costly and lengthy process. The process calls for a proper understanding of the state, local, and federal laws. It is therefore important to seek the help of a personal injury attorney if you suffer injuries in a bus accident.
When a bus accident occurs, the bus operator responsible performs its independent investigation. The liable bus operator aims to minimize liability in the accident. The company may even seek to release its fault/liability from the accident. It may be hard for the bus accident victims to get compensation without the assistance of an experienced attorney.
You should not allow the bus company to intimidate you and prevent you from seeking compensation in case of an accident. To help strengthen your injury claim, you should take specific actions after the accident. If you are in a position, you should collect adequate information about the accident. For instance, you should record the exact location of the bus accident. You should also describe the bus, including the operating company and the route the bus operates. Record the circumstances surrounding the accident, including the events before the accident.
Ensure that you also record your injuries and other damages. For instance, you may take pictures of your cuts and bruises, if any. These will make it easy for you to present evidence when seeking compensation. You may also take videos of your injuries.
Ensure that you inform a competent personal injury attorney immediately. The attorney should have experience in handling bus claims in Las Vegas. Do not allow the investigators from the bus company to give evidence on your behalf. The investigators from the bus company do not have your interest at heart. Therefore, the investigators are likely to understate your injuries to reduce the liability of the bus company.
Some of the parties that may be liable for a bus accident include bus drivers. A bus driver is liable if he/she negligently operated the bus and failed to exercise the due duty of care. The bus company may also be liable for employing incompetent drivers or for failing to maintain the bus in an excellent working condition. The managers and supervisors may also be liable. For instance, supervisors may be liable if they assign long working hours to the bus drivers, making them suffer fatigue, which leads to distracted driving.
The bus manufacturer might be liable if the bus accident occurred due to mechanical problems over which the bus company and the bus driver had no control. In some instances, the bus maintenance expert may be liable after an accident. If the bus operator had taken the bus for maintenance, but the maintenance experts failed to identify fault, the maintenance company may face charges.
Bus accidents may also occur due to the negligence of third parties, including other vehicle drivers. If this is the case, the third parties may be liable for the accident. If the state or other state agencies own the bus involved in an accident, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the government.
It is rare for a pedestrian or a passenger to be liable for a bus accident. Typically, it is usually the fault of the bus driver, the bus manufacturer, the bus company, or the company responsible for maintaining the bus. A careless pedestrian or an unruly passenger can distract the bus driver and lead to an accident. However, these cases are rare, and the majority of bus accidents occur when bus owners or operators fail to abide by the set rules and regulations.
You are Partially at Fault in the Bus Accident
At times, you may be partially to blame for a bus accident in Nevada. The state of Nevada recognizes the comparative negligence standard. This law also goes by the name Nevada shared fault law. However, even if you partly contributed to the occurrence of the accident, you are entitled to compensation up to a certain level. The bus operator has to compensate you depending on the degree of fault.
The apportionment of the fault will have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you will receive for the injuries you suffered in the accident. The bus carrier and its insurer may attempt to use your contributory negligence to deny you compensation. However, your attorney will negotiate with them to ensure that you do not miss your compensation due to your degree of fault.
Statute of Limitations
Statute of limitations is the law that provides the period within which you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file the lawsuit within the set period in the statute of limitations, you may not get the compensation you deserve. In the state of Nevada, bus accidents are subject to the period in the statute of limitations. You should not wait too long to file a claim because the insurance company may deny your liability claim.
It is advisable to contact a personal injury attorney immediately after the accident to get started with the claim. The attorney will advise you on your legal rights. The attorney ensures that your time for filing the claim does not run out. In Nevada, the period provided for in the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the occurrence of the accident. However, you should note that there might be some exemptions to the statute of limitations.
Damages Available in a Bus Accident
After suffering injuries in a bus accident in Nevada, you are entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easy to express in monetary terms while non-economic damages are subjective and hard to express in monetary terms:
Under economic damages, you will receive compensation for the money you incur in seeking medical treatment upon suffering injuries in an accident. When determining medical expenses, it is advisable to consider the past, current, and future medical costs. For instance, if you are going to require several months of physiotherapy, you should ensure that you consider the costs. You should only seek compensation for medical expenses incurred in treating conditions related to the accident. For other pre-existing medical conditions, you are not entitled to compensation.
You may not be able to work and generate income like before after suffering injuries in a bus accident. You may seek compensation for lost wages. Lost wages would comprise of the money you would have earned if you did not suffer injuries in a bus accident. When determining the lost wages compensation due, the court considers your regular rate of pay and the number of days; you spend away from work due to the injuries suffered.
You may also seek compensation for loss of earning capacity. You may be able to participate in income-generating activities after the bus accident. However, due to the injuries suffered during the accident, you may not be able to be as effective. You may make less money than you used to make before the accident. For this reason, you may seek compensation for lost earning capacity.
After a bus accident, you may constantly suffer from stress, anxiety, and in some cases, depression. You may also be in constant pain due to the injuries suffered in the accident. You can seek compensation for pain and suffering. Also available is compensation for emotional distress. It may be hard to determine the compensation due. However, if you have visible cuts and bruises from the accident, it will be evident that you have suffered pain and suffering. A report from an expert, a psychiatrist, may help to prove that you have undergone mental anguish and that you qualify for compensation of emotional distress.
Also available is a compensation for loss of enjoyment of life. The injuries suffered during the bus accident may hinder you from participating in fun activities and your hobbies the way you did before the accident. You may shy away from the crowd and avoid social gatherings due to your injuries.
Your spouse may also seek compensation for loss of consortium. After suffering injuries in a bus accident, you may no longer be able to offer your spouse companionship and intimacy the way you did before. If a victim dies in a bus accident in Nevada, his/her family compensation may file a lawsuit and seek compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one.
Contact Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
After suffering injuries in a bus accident in Nevada, you should not suffer in silence. It is advisable to contact a personal injury attorney to help you seek compensation. Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can help evaluate your case and determine if you qualify for compensation. Contact us at 702-996-1224 and speak to one of our attorneys today.