Injured in a bus accident?
Since the 1850s, Chicagoans have relied on mass transit to navigate our city and its suburbs. Although we have moved on from horse-drawn carriages to trains and buses, our main goals are still getting to our destinations on time and all in one piece.
Being delayed by a late bus is something we all expect to deal with from time to time, but suffering an injury as a passenger or bystander is unacceptable. Buses and other common carriers are supposed to keep us safer than other modes of transportation. When they don’t, and a bus accident causes serious injuries, the Stein & Shulman team is here to help.
During our 50+ years in practice, the attorneys at Stein & Shulman LLC have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured Chicagoans who are anxious to move on with their lives following a serious accident.
Buses Are Common Carriers
Bus companies, like other forms of mass transit, are classified as “common carriers.” Under Illinois law, a common carrier must provide you with the highest degree of care they can, taking into consideration the type of transportation involved and the realities of operating a business. A failure to fulfill this duty is considered negligence.
Carriers have a duty to protect passengers not just from injury while boarding, riding, and exiting, but from injuries caused by carrier employees and other passengers or third parties. If a carrier is aware that a passenger is at greater risk of injury because he or she is disabled, sick, intoxicated, or a child traveling alone, the carrier must take even greater care than normal.
Any Chicago-area resident who is injured while boarding, riding on, or exiting a bus or other mode of transportation that is considered a common carrier should not hesitate to seek compensation for the injury.
Bus Accidents Are More Common Than You Think
On a typical weekday, the Chicago Transit Authority’s fleet travels about 380,000 miles, providing roughly 1.6 million rides to the people of Chicago and 35 neighboring communities. At the same time, additional Chicagoans and visitors to our area are also riding around on chartered buses for special events or tours, and traveling between Chicago and other cities on buses run by private carriers.
Considering the thousands of people on buses, and the millions of miles traveled, it is not surprising that some passengers and bystanders are injured in Chicago bus accidents each year. What is surprising is the frequency of buses are involved in accidents. An investigation by ABC 7 discovered CTA buses are involved in a crash roughly every 36 hours.
Common Causes Of Bus Accidents
Determining the cause of a bus accident can be complicated because a number of parties may share responsibility. Over the years, the Stein & Shulman team has seen bus accidents caused by:
- Driver negligence;
- Drunk or fatigued bus drivers;
- Intoxicated and/or disruly passengers;
- Drivers of other motor vehicles that do not obey traffic rules and safe driving practices;
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance;
- Substandard training;
- Inadequate supervision by busing companies; and
- Poorly maintained or constructed roadways.
When a bus accident occurs, the Stein & Shulman team works quickly to gather evidence of the accident and its causes. In addition to visiting the site of the accident and interviewing witnesses, our experienced Chicago bus accident attorneys will examine bus driver training manuals/procedures, personnel records, bus company maintenance, and safety records, past violation of safety regulations by the busing company, and law enforcement accident reports.
Bus Accidents Cause Serious Injuries
The operation and maintenance of buses are exclusively within the control of the busing company, so there is little that riders can do to protect themselves from injury. When riders take a bus they are literally placing their safety in the hands of the bus driver and the bus company.
Bus accidents often cause serious injuries because the passengers are not as well protected as they would be in their vehicles. Buses are built to move the maximum number of people possible from place to place, so they lack standard safety features like seat belts and airbags.
Holding The Responsible Parties Accountable
Several factors can make it challenging to hold bus owners and operators accountable for the accidents they cause.
Fly By Night Operators
Private companies that offer tours, special event charters, and cheap city-to-city transportation often cut corners in order to maximize their profits. It has become quite common for these fly-by-night operators to shut down and reopen under a new name if they think it will help them shirk responsibility for an accident, or evade state or federal regulators.
Because public entities have sovereign immunity, lawsuits involving public busing lines require compliance with governmental tort claims acts. These are laws that authorize those injured by a negligent government employee or entity to pursue personal injury claims against government entities subject to special procedures and/or restrictions. Government tort claims acts typically require that notice of a claim be filed with the public entity before initiating a lawsuit. The timing requirements for initiating a claim under a tort claims act are sometimes as short as a few months from the time of the accident, so time is of the essence when a bus accident involves a public entity.
Fighting For Your Full Monetary Compensation
In order to ease the anxiety that comes after an accident occurs, our goal is to obtain as much money as possible for our clients. We want them to be able to move forward with their lives without having the accident hold them back.
Under Illinois law, personal injury accident victims can seek both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost income;
- Decreased future earnings; and
- Property damage.
Non-economic damages include things like:
- Physical pain;
- Emotional anguish;
- Permanent disfigurement or disability;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Stein & Shulman’s decades of experience, and deep roots in the Chicago area, help us gather the evidence we need to maximize your compensation.
We Do Not Get Paid Unless Our Clients Do
Stein & Shulman represents Chicago area bus accidents victims on a contingency fee basis. This means we do not get paid unless you do, and our fee will always be just a portion of the money we recover on your behalf.
We will not pressure you to settle for the first low-ball offer a bus company or an insurance company throws at you just so we can cash a check. We will aggressively fight for every penny you deserve.
Contact Stein & Shulman LLC, Chicago Bus Accident Attorneys You Can Trust
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bus accident and suffered a serious injury, the Stein & Shulman team is here for you. We advocate on behalf of accident victims no matter what the underlying cause of the accident was.
Whether you are ready to take legal action and seek compensation for your injuries, or are simply curious about what options are available to you, we are ready to take your call. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.