Las Vegas offers the best destination for tour bus expeditions due to its panoramic views, the strip, and several famous landmarks. However, your tour can turn out to be a nightmare once you are involved in a tour bus accident. This kind of accident has a high possibility of causing catastrophic injuries to the victims involved. If involved in a catastrophic accident, it should prompt you to seek compensation from the party responsible for the accident. Reach out to us at Las Vegas Personal Injury Personal Attorney Law Firm when seeking compensation after a tour bus accident.
Types of Catastrophic Tour Bus Accident
There are different types of tour bus accidents. However, some cause severe injuries to the victims involved. Most of these accidents are caused by the driver's negligence and negligence from the other road users. Let's have a closer look at the common types of catastrophic tour bus accidents.
A rollover is particularly complex and violent. It reflects the interaction of the driver, environmental factors, and other vehicles on the road. A tour bus rollover accident can be catastrophic, especially on open tour buses. Their lack of top cover puts the tourists on the upper deck at risk of suffering from devastating injuries.
A side-impact collision, also known as a broadside collision occurs when the side of one or more vehicles is impacted. A tour bus side-impact collision would be catastrophic, especially when the other vehicle was moving at high speed. Such kinds of accidents are common at intersections where the at-fault party fails to yield to the right of the way of the tour bus.
A head-on collision occurs when two fronts of two vehicles hit each other in opposite directions. It could be fatal if both vehicles were at high speed. Head-on collisions usually occur when one vehicle fails to stay in its lane by overtaking a vehicle using the opposite traffic lane.
Causes of Tour Bus Accidents
There are a lot of factors associated with bus accidents. As stated earlier, these factors come into play due to the negligence of the drivers or other users on a particular road. The factors that lead to tour bus accidents are not different from the common causes of motor vehicle accidents. Here is a detailed view of the common causes of tour bus accidents.
Bus Driver Fatigue
A fatigued driver is in no condition to make reasonable decisions when presented with a challenging situation. Driver fatigue can occur due to sleep deficit, sleep apnea, insomnia, and other factors. Most drivers become fatigued when they work for long hours without any sleep. This is common for drivers who have to drive long distances without backup drivers.
Driving is not a competitive sport. A tour bus driver should be extremely cautious with his or her speed or end up causing an accident. However, some engage in road rage to cover more distance while driving at a long distance, which can easily end up in a catastrophic accident. It is not easy to bring a bus to a stop while it is on speed hence the high possibility of causing an accident.
Different types of distractions can make a tour bus driver cause an accident. Some of these distractions include texting, receiving calls, eating unruly passengers, and distraction from outside. Regardless of the distraction, there is a possibility of getting into a fatal accident.
Drugs or Alcohol Abuse
A tour bus driver under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be a serious threat to his or her passengers. Such a driver cannot make reasonable decisions on the road and would less likely react to a situation that presents itself on the road. If the driver is on speed, there are chances of causing a severe accident, resulting in catastrophic injuries.
Sometimes drivers' negligence does not play a part in causing most accidents. Faulty equipment might be a significant reason behind an accident, especially when a bus has taken long without its routine servicing. In such cases, the at-fault party would probably be the company responsible for the scheduled maintenance.
Individual Driving Errors
Driving errors take several forms. This ranges from failing to check blind spots, making wide turns, driving too fast, and so on. When a bus driver makes such errors, he or she might end up in a wreck. Most wrecks caused by individual driving errors can turn fatal since drivers have less or no time to react to the situation that has presented itself.
Negligence from the tour company can also play a part in causing accidents. Some tour companies usually turn a blind eye to federal regulations, keeping their fleet maintained, and training their drivers. They deliberately choose to sacrifice the safety of their clients for a significant bottom line. If the accident that you were involved in was a result of the tour company's negligence, it should take full responsibility and compensate all the victims.
Rarely does bad weather lead to accidents, but it can happen sometimes. Hazardous weather makes it difficult to maneuver and can easily lead to a wreck. Still, a driver might be cautious enough to drive in bad weather, but bad roads contribute to an accident. In such a situation, the state or county government should take responsibility for the accident.
A tour bus driver can end up causing an accident due to the negligence of another driver. With the many drivers on the road, it is easier to cause an accident if the other driver was distracted. When the other driver fails to obey traffic regulations, he or she can cause a severe bus wreck.
Bus fires are particularly dangerous. They usually occur on poorly maintained buses. Passengers at the rear can find it challenging to escape, ending up with severe injuries. Most passengers or tourists are unable to escape due to the fumes from the bus fire.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries Sustained in a Tour Bus Accident
Catastrophic injuries can be defined as injuries that are too serious and can significantly affect your ability to perform gainful works. Catastrophic injuries are usually a result of physical harm to crucial parts such as the brain or the spinal cord. Here are the types of catastrophic injuries that you can suffer from a bus tour accident.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a severe form of brain injury resulting from sudden trauma caused by brain damage. The symptoms that result from TBI vary from mild to severe ones, based on the extent of damage to the brain. Moderate or severe TBI symptoms include coma, dilation of one or both pupils, slurred speech, loss of coordination, and restlessness.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury is trauma on the spinal cord that leads to a temporary or permanent change of the spinal cord's motor, sensory, or autonomic functions. Tour bus accident victims who suffer from spinal cord injuries can end up with devastating neurological deficits and disabilities. The most common result of spinal cord injury is paralysis, and can lead to quadriplegia or paraplegia. Quadriplegia involves paralysis of both the arms and legs, while paraplegia involves paralysis of only the legs. Victims might require lifetime rehabilitation once they end up with either type of paralysis.
Nerve damage occurs due to damaging of the nerves outside the spinal cord or the brain. That's why it is referred to as peripheral neuropathy. This kind of damage causes pain, weakness, and numbness in your feet or hands. Some of the symptoms that result from nerve damages include:
- Damage to the sensory nerves
- Motor nerves that control your muscle movement
- Automatic nerves that control functions like digestions, bladder, heart rate, and blood pressure
In severe nerve damage, the signs and symptoms include:
- Uncontrollable sweating or inability to sweat
- Digestive, bowel, or bladder problems
- Change in your blood pressure, leading to dizziness, and lightheadedness
When a victim has suffered from nerve damage, he or she might need lifetime care to mitigate the effects.
Some of the worst eye injuries occur when an object penetrates the eye or its tissue. The severity of the injury depends on the depth of penetration and the force of the impact. If the injury is not promptly treated, it can lead to permanent loss of your eyesight. In such a situation, you will have no other option but to seek vision aids to continue your regular life.
Limb loss or amputation is another common type of catastrophic injury that a person can suffer in a bus tour accident. Doctors decide to amputate a leg or an arm if it is significantly injured to the point of failing to respond to any form of treatment. Limb loss might not only be your amputation injury. You might end up with other injuries such as severe blood loss that can lead to hypovolemic shock and acute infections. Amputees might need prosthetics to maintain their normal limb functionality, which is quite expensive to afford.
Ruptured Inner Organ
You can end up with ruptured inner organs once you are involved in a bus tour accident. A ruptured inner organ can vary from your spleen to your rib, depending on the accident’s nature. Severe injuries such as a broken rib can end up harming your lungs or other vital organs. Such situations can be fatal and can end up causing lifetime breathing problems if not handled promptly.
If you were involved in a tour bus fire, you might end up suffering from severe burns. Skin burns vary from first-degree to fifth degree. Third, fourth, and fifth-degree burns are the most severe, and their damage can be so extensive due to nerve damage. They can lead to problems in the deep skin tissues, bones, or organs. Therefore, the victim may require to seek surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and lifelong assisted care.
Post Traumatic Brain Disorder
Post-traumatic brain disorder or PTSD is emotional distress that occurs after a severe accident. Some of this emotional distress include:
- Trouble believing that you suffered lifelong injuries
- Nervousness or worry
If you have PTSD, you should seek psychological treatment to deal with emotional distress. Psychological treatment might be expensive and sometimes take a long time to achieve the desired result.
Filing a Compensation Claim after a Tour Bus Accident
There is a specific process used to claim compensation after a tour bus accident. The process depends on the elements of negligence that you should prove to win your injury claim. The burden of your attorney is to prove the negligence of the other party. Here is a detailed process that would help you successfully claim compensation for after a tour bus accident.
Determine The At-Fault Party
The first step in your compensation claim is acknowledging the at-fault party. The party is determined based on the causes of the tour bus accident. Some of the parties that could be held liable for your tour bus accident are as follows.
Drivers are the most common liable parties in a tour bus accident. Their negligence plays a significant role in causing an accident. Most drivers do not directly take responsibility for such an accident since they work under their employer. Therefore, drivers can be held liable for the accident if they work as private contractors. In that case, they should take full responsibility for the accident if you can successfully prove that they were liable for the accident.
The Tour Bus Company
A tour bus company can take responsibility for an accident if the accident's cause is directly associated with their negligence. Such kind of liability would come into play if the company did not comply with its responsibilities that they have towards maintaining the safety of their vehicles and clients. For instance, if the company fails to take their vehicles to their scheduled maintenance, they should take responsibility for the accident if the accident results from a mechanical problem. Other factors can link a tour company with liability, such as poor hiring procedures and overworking their drivers.
The Tour Bus Maintenance Company
It is recommendable to service your vehicle regularly. In that case, the company responsible for the scheduled maintenance should be held liable for the tour bus accident if it resulted from a neglected maintenance problem. This kind of conclusion should be made if the investigation report shows that the accident resulted from a mechanical problem that was not identified and rectified by the maintenance company.
The State or County Government
The state or county government can also be held responsible for a tour bus accident. Such parties end up responsible for an accident if the tour bus is managed by the entity or the accident results from a poorly maintained vehicle. Claiming compensation from a government entity can be challenging, hence hiring a professional personal injury attorney to help you in this process.
Bus or Part Manufacturer
It is rare to find a bus or part manufacturer liable for an accident. Such parties end up liable for the accident if there are multiple reports on tour bus accidents due to a similar cause, probably one that can be traced back to the manufacturing process. Your investigation should specifically identify that a specific part of the manufacturer defect led to the accident holding these parties liable for your accident.
Proving that the Other Party Owed You Duty of Care
The second step in your compensation claim is proving that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care. Furthermore, you cannot consider a specific party responsible for your injuries if it did not owe any duty of care to you.
When you are proving that you were owed a duty of care, you should argue that the potential at-fault party was responsible for ensuring your safety while using their tour buses. Suppose you are filing a compensation claim against a government entity. In that case, you should argue that the respective entity was responsible for keeping you safe by maintaining all the roads in good condition.
Proving that the Other Party Breached His or Her Duty of Care
The third step in your compensation claim is demonstrating that the other party breached the duty of care that he or she owed to you. This is proved if you can successfully associate the cause of the accident with the at-fault party. For instance, if the accident was a result of a poorly maintained tour bus, you need to show the connection between this aspect and the at-fault party. The legal term used to define breach of duty of care is negligence. This means that the at-fault party was negligent of his or her duty of care hence the accident.
There is specific evidence that you can use to prove that the other party breached his or her duty of care. These pieces of evidence are as follows:
- Police report
- Pictures of the accident. These will help you evaluate evidence such as the skid marks, debris on the roadway, relevant traffic signs, damage to the tour bus, and injuries
- Testimonies from eyewitnesses
- Traffic footage
- Information from the tour bus's black box
Partial Blame for the Accident
There are situations where you might have partial blame for the tour bus accident, especially if the bus was involved in a head-on or rear-end collision with your car. In such a situation, the pure comparative negligence rule applies.
According to this rule, both parties should share the fault according to their contribution to the accident. This means that if you, as the plaintiff, had a 30% participation in causing the accident, you will be eligible for the 70% of the total amount needed to be compensated. 70% represents the percentage of contribution of the defendant. There should be a thorough investigation of the case to ensure that the percentages are right.
Proving that you Suffered Damages from the Tour Bus Accident
Several types of damages can result from your tour bus accident. Damages are forms of monetary awards paid to a claimant as compensation for the injuries suffered in an auto accident. They vary according to the extent of injuries that a victim has suffered. In most cases, catastrophic injuries can lead to the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Property loss
- Wrongful death damages
- Punitive damages
You need to prove that you suffered the above-stated damages by providing the relevant evidence. The evidence that you should present to court depends on the type of damage you have suffered. Here is a list of some of the common pieces of evidence that you can present to support your compensation claim:
- Medical reports and receipts that prove that you incurred medical expenses after the accident
- A report from your employer shows your reduced working capacity due to the injuries or your absence from work.
- A valid testimony from your spouse that shows your inability to maintain a healthy relationship compared to your past
- An expert witness report that proves that you lost quality of life due to the injuries
- Mechanical report that shows the extent of the damages on your vehicle after the accident
- A valid death certificate and report that shows that your loved one died as a result of injuries sustained from a tour bus accident
Find a Bus Accident Attorney Near Me
It is challenging to handle a compensation claim all by yourself. You should be well-versed with all the legal requirements needed in this process and have enough time to go through these requirements. However, it is much easier to go through the whole compensation claim process with the help of a personal injury attorney. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we comprehensively prepare your case to get you the maximum compensation. We will start building your case from the accident scene and consult all the relevant professionals to build your case. For more information, contact us at 702-996-1224 and get a free non-obligatory consultation.