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Who is responsible if I am injured in a bus accident?

Thousands of people take mass transportation each day in the United States. Whether you are a young student on a school bus on your way to class, on a commuter bus on your way to work, on a tour bus with vacationers exploring America, or on a rented charter bus to or from a charity golf outing, we all know that an accident can happen at any time.

All buses, as well as commercial planes, taxis and even cruise ships are considered common carriers, meaning that they are hired to transport goods or people from one place to another. When an accident occurs, it must first be determined whether the operator of the vehicle exercised a high degree of care and diligence regarding the safety and well-being of the passengers.

Courts follow a "reasonableness" standard when determining negligence. A good example of this would be if a careless or drunk driver crashed into a bus. More likely than not, the driver of the bus could not have avoided or foreseen the accident, and therefore would not be considered to be at fault in the crash.

Even if a bus driver is not considered negligent, there are several other factors that could be considered when determining fault. A bus company that failed to maintain its fleet of buses could be found liable for negligence. A tour bus driver who failed to recognize and address hazardous conditions at one of the stops could also be considered liable for injuries that occurred while leaving or entering the bus. Making such determinations is not always easy; if you have been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, you may want to reach out to a legal professional to see whether you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Source: FindLaw, "Tour Bus Accidents and Liability," accessed on April 24, 2017

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