I was visiting Nashville on a bus tour that started in Rockford, Illinois. The bus driver wasn’t paying attention, ran a red light, and our bus got hit on the side by a pick-up truck that was coming from our left. The truck hit the bus right under where I was sitting, and I received a broken ankle. I have missed three weeks from work and incurred lots of medical bills. What are my rights?
Bus companies that operate in interstate commerce have an obligation to follow federal laws that are very similar to the laws that over-the-road truckers have to follow. They must register with the federal government and follow numerous regulations designed to enhance passenger safety. Some of these regulations include strict rules about how many hours a day the driver can operate the bus and the qualifications of the bus driver. Others ban the use of drugs and alcohol before driving and require testing of bus drivers after certain types of accidents.
Since it appears the bus driver was at fault and the wreck occurred in Tennessee, Tennessee law will apply and you will be able to recover damages for lost wages, lost future earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life. Federal law may also play a role, because a violation of federal regulations applicable to the driver or the bus company may be admissible in the Tennessee case.