Private companies, daycare centers or churches that put passenger buses on the road have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care for the safety of bus passengers. That rule not only applies to bus drivers, but also the duty of bus owners to maintain the bus in an appropriate condition.
As you would expect, passenger buses need regular maintenance to be safe. Belts need to be tightened or replaced, bus tires need to be inspected, rotated and/or replaced, and brakes need to be maintained. The failure to do so can result in the failure of an essential component of the bus system, and result in a bus accident that in turn causes injury or death to bus passengers or other people. In addition, bus drivers must be trained to not only do the inspection of the buses but also be prepared to handle mechanical failures of the component parts of the bus system. A multitude of federal regulations apply to protect bus passengers from the errors of bus owners or bus drivers.
Tennessee law provides compensatory damages and, in limited cases, punitive damages to those harmed by a failure of the owner of a passenger bus to property maintain the vehicle. Tennessee law has a very strict deadline for taking legal action – the injured person (or the representatives of a deceased person) must file suit within one year of the date of the incident causing the initial injury or death or the injured or deceased persons rights will be lost forever.
Importantly, rights can be lost in the meantime. Bus companies and their insurers get to accident scenes quickly, and begin to investigate, talk to witnesses, and gather evidence. Promptly hiring a lawyer will help make sure that all of the relevant facts are gathered, and appropriate evidence is preserved, so that the case will be decided on the real facts.
If you or a loved one were hurt or suffered a loss of life in a bus accident, whether that accident is a result of driver error, the failure of a bus driver to exercise due care, or the fault of some other person or entity, call me any time for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 866.812.8787. We do not charge for an initial consultation and, if we are able to help you, we are able to accept you as a client on a contingent fee basis. In the alternative, you can complete our Contact Form and we will call you.
The bottom line: do not assume that you will be treated fairly by the bus owner’s insurance company or any other insurance company. Under Tennessee law, an insurance company for a bus owner or any other person who causes an injury or death has no legally enforceable obligation to treat victims of an accident fairly. An experienced Tennessee personal injury and wrongful death bus accident lawyer will help you protect your legal rights to the full extent of the law.