When tour bus accidents occur, severe injuries and deaths lead to insurance claims and injury lawsuits- often with multiple entities involved. Determining liability in a tour bus crash can be complicated because of variances in contractual relationships and terms and the multitude of people who could be at fault.
Defining the Tour Bus as a Common Carrier
Tour buses, along with other types of buses, are considered “common carriers” according to a majority of federal and state laws. Common carriers are defined as entities intended to transport goods or passengers from one place to another for the purpose of compensation. Common carriers can include tour buses, school buses, and commercial buses, along with other modes of transportation including cruise ships, commercial airplanes, certain commercial trucks, and taxis.
Most successful claims filed against common carriers are the result of willful or negligent acts based on the standard of “reasonableness.” For instance, it’s expected that a reasonably cautious bus driver will make a full stop at a location that’s reasonably safe to unload passengers, as well as adhere to all traffic laws and avoid any reckless driving maneuvers. In the event of negligence, injured individuals can sue for compensation. But there are cases in which the bus driver and thus the carrier may not be the only ones found to be responsible for an accident.
Determining Liability in Tour Bus Accidents
There are several different parties that could be responsible for damages when a tour bus is in a wreck.
- Bus Companies – As the owner of the bus, a bus company is required to have reasonably safe vehicles in its entire fleet, along with properly licensed bus drivers. Even with these requirements met, negligent drivers could put the company at risk of getting found liable for bus accidents.
- Tour Companies – Tour companies are responsible for hiring bus companies with clear records. Otherwise, they could share liability with the bus company if an accident occurs.
- Bus Destinations – If an individual is injured during a tour as a result of negligence on the part of a venue owner at any location along a tour, that owner may be found liable for injuries.
With all of these aspects in mind, bus accident attorneys can more effectively determine who is liable for injuries sustained in accidents.