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Illinois has excellent public transit infrastructure, and commuters and visitors have the option to travel by train or bus all over the state. An unfortunate corollary of great public transit is the accidents that come from having so many vehicles on the road. Although buses and trains are generally very safe modes of transportation, accidents do happen and it is important to know your options if you are involved in a public transit vehicle accident in Illinois.

Was the Driver or Operator at Fault?

The first thing you need to know when determining whether you can take action against a public transit company is whether the accident happened because the driver of the bus or operator of the train was at fault. If you were completely at fault for the accident, you probably do not have a claim; if you were partly at fault for the accident, whether you can successfully sue will depend on how much of the accident was due to the actions of the other driver. Answering these questions and gathering evidence that proves the other driver was at fault often requires the assistance of attorneys or private investigators with experience in these types of accidents.

Can I Recover Damages For My Medical Expenses?

If you have been injured in a bus or train accident, you likely already know many of the ways people suffer after these incidents - in addition to the physical pain, medical treatment, and rehabilitative efforts, wages are often lost, and finding similar future employment may be out of the question. While every case is unique, the good news is that successful lawsuits often do compensate victims of bus crashes and help them pay for their medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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IL injury lawyerSchool buses, city buses, coach buses, and other types of buses transport millions of Americans across the U.S. Some people take a bus to school or work every day and never experience any problems. Unfortunately, other riders suffer serious injuries or even deaths. While rare, fatal and injury-causing bus accidents are not unheard of. Often, when someone is a victim of a bus accident, they face unique challenges recovering compensation for damages. Many buses are owned by government entities. This makes filing an injury claim against a bus driver or bus company particularly complicated.

Injuries Resulting from Bus Crashes

Bus riders assume that the vehicle is safe and that they will reach their destination without incident. However, bus accidents caused by negligent drivers, defective vehicles, poor vehicle maintenance, and other issues can lead to severe injuries. Bus accidents may involve:

  • School buses
  • Public transportation buses such as Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses
  • Private bus companies such as Coach and Greyhound
  • Shuttles
  • Tour buses
  • Private charter buses

Who Is Legally Responsible for a Bus Injury?

Determining fault in a bus accident case is often even more complicated than determining fault in typical car accident cases. This is because so many different parties can contribute to one serious bus crash. Sometimes, a bus crash is caused by a negligent bus driver. The driver may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting and driving, or simply too sleepy to stay alert. Often, the bus company is liable for a bus crash caused by a negligent driver. Bus accidents may also be the fault of third parties including other drivers. Bus crashes may be caused or worsened by poor road conditions, inadequate traffic signals, or dangerous intersections. A bus company’s failure to regularly inspect and maintain buses can also cause crashes.

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IL injury lawyerPublic transportation, including CTA buses and commuter trains, offers many benefits to Illinois residents, including convenience, reduced costs, and a lower environmental impact. However, choosing to use public transit also means placing your trust in the driver or operator to keep you safe from injury. If an accident happens because of the negligence of the driver or another party, you may be seriously injured. In this case, you should know the steps you will need to take in order to recover fair compensation.

Get Medical Help and Hire an Attorney

As with any personal injury case, there are a couple of things you should be sure to do as soon as possible after the accident. The first is to seek medical attention. This ensures that you have detailed information about the extent of your injuries, both for the sake of getting the treatment you need and for creating a record to support your injury claim. Second, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can help you immensely with the following steps and give you a better chance of recovering full compensation for your damages.

Determine Who Is At Fault

If you are injured in an accident as a public transit passenger, someone else is almost always at fault, but it may not be easy to identify exactly who because of all of the different parties that may be involved. Depending on the situation, the negligent party could be the operator of the bus or train, the government organization responsible for the transit system, the driver of another vehicle involved in the collision, or some combination of multiple parties. Thoroughly investigating the accident and speaking to witnesses can help you identify anyone from whom you can recover compensation. You should also know that according to Illinois legal doctrine, public transportation is a common carrier with the highest duty of care to passengers, which means operators can be liable even for injuries caused by third parties and other passengers.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysPublic transportation is a convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly form of transportation for many Americans. Commuters riding a city bus to work, children aboard school buses, and other bus riders often assume that riding a bus is a safer alternative than other forms of transportation. While the vast majority of bus rides are completed without issue, major bus accidents do happen. Passengers involved in a bus accident can suffer devastating, sometimes fatal, personal injuries.

Determining Fault for Injuries Sustained in a Bus Accident

Just recently, three women were killed and 17 others were injured when the charter bus they were riding on rolled down an interstate embankment in California. The official cause of the crash has not yet been established, but it is likely that rainy conditions contributed to the bus driver losing control of the vehicle.

Determining liability in a bus crash is often very challenging—especially when multiple vehicles are involved in the accident. Bus drivers are held to a high standard of care and are expected to do everything in their power to prevent foreseeable passenger injuries. A bus driver may be liable for damages caused in a bus accident if he or she was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a cell phone while driving, or otherwise acting negligently. It is also possible that liability lies with the company the bus driver works for or the party responsible for bus maintenance. If the cause of a bus accident is a malfunctioning piece of equipment, the manufacturer of the bus or equipment may be legally responsible for damages caused in the accident. The liable party in a bus accident could also be the driver of another vehicle.

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Waukegan bus accident attorneyOn Tuesday, July 3rd, a startling bus crash in downtown Chicago reminded all Chicagoans that bus accidents, while seemingly unlikely, can occur. The accident occurred early Tuesday afternoon when a car crashed into a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus. After colliding with the bus, which was traveling in the Gage Park area, the driver of the car was fatally injured. On the bus, four passengers and the bus driver suffered serious injuries requiring hospitalization. While all the bus occupants are now stable, the accident was a stirring reminder of the fact that CTA bus accidents, when they do occur, can be very dangerous. 

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), more than 1,000 motor coach accidents occur each year nationwide. In 2016 alone, 227 passengers lost their lives in bus accidents. If you or a loved one are injured in a bus accident, it is critically important to find the quality personal injury attorney that your family deserves. 

Nationwide Large Commercial Vehicle Trends 

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