The number of fatal tour bus crashes has increased over 60 percent since 2009. Drowsy driving may be largely responsible for this increase. Many tour bus operators drive early in the morning or late at night, and even if they are well-rested, most people are naturally drowsy at these times of day.
Compensation in tour bus collision cases normally includes money for both economic and noneconomic damages. Moreover, because of the respondeat superior rule, the tour bus company may be responsible for damages, as well as the tortfeasor (negligent driver).
Injuries in Tour Bus Crashes
Large, heavy buses often emerge unscathed from low-speed collisions that might result in serious injury to passenger car occupants. But these design features have the opposite effect at higher velocities, because speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects. THat results in injuries like:
- Head and Neck Injuries: The violent, unexpected motion is often enough to almost literally scramble a victim’s brain in the same way that it’s possible to scramble an egg simply by shaking it. Brain injuries are incurable, but lengthy and extensive physical therapy often significantly reduces the symptoms.
- Broken Bones: Serious fractures usually require long-term rehabilitation as well, because the metal pins or screws that are often used to set these bones result in significant muscle atrophy and loss of function.
- Internal Injuries: Internal organs push and grind against one another in these incidents, just like bones grind against each other and the brain pushes against the skull. Many times, internal bleeding is not detected straightaway, putting victims on the edge of hypovolemic shock.
The serious nature of these injuries often results in medical bills that exceed $100,000, and for liability reasons, most health insurance companies do not pay these expenses. Fortunately, an attorney can write a letter of protection to a medical provider, who will then provide services to the victim at no upfront cost.
Tour bus drivers are common carriers in Florida, so they have a duty of utmost care when it comes to the safety of their passengers. Noncommercial drivers are usually not liable for damages in slight negligence situations, such as adjusting the air conditioner or travelling 1mph above the speed limit. But if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is a commercial operator, liability may attach in these situations.
This duty also means that the tour bus driver, or another employee, must ensure that passengers do not get into fights or otherwise get injured while they are on board. This duty begins when passengers get on board and does not end until they safely disembark.
Partner With Experienced Attorneys
Tour bus crashes nearly always cause very serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Orlando, contact Oldham & Smith. We are prepared to assist you immediately.