If you have ever been on a public bus in south Florida, you know it’s not the most luxurious way to get around, but it gets you where you’re going. Just not very fast!
We talk about seat belts a lot, and many other safety concerns when you’re on the road, but buses are different because there is far less attention paid to safety devices and they are usually not required. If you are a passenger on a bus and the bus is involved in an accident, making a claim for your injuries may be difficult because most buses are owned by a government, city or county. There are special procedures involved when attempting to collect damages from a government agency and you should reach out to an experienced attorney.
There are videos from on-board cameras of passengers being thrown about during bus accidents, and many people have received serious and fatal injuries.
If you’re involved in a serious bus accident, call 911 and make sure everyone gets medical attention. As with any accident, it’s best to give law enforcement only the information as required, and don’t speak with other people until you talk to an attorney. Someone may contact you about signing papers for an early settlement, but once again, speak to an attorney first.
The law pertaining to school buses is different, and states: 316.6145 School buses; safety belts or other restraint systems required.—
(1)(a) Each school bus that is purchased new after December 31, 2000, and used to transport students in grades pre-K through 12 must be equipped with safety belts or with any other restraint system approved by the Federal Government in a number sufficient to allow each student who is being transported to use a separate safety belt or restraint system. These safety belts must meet the standards required under s. 316.614. A school bus that was purchased prior to December 31, 2000, is not required to be equipped with safety belts.
(b) As used in this section, “school bus” means a school bus that is owned, leased, operated, or contracted by a school district.
(2) Each passenger on a school bus that is equipped with safety belts or restraint system shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt at all times while the bus is in operation. The state, the county, a school district, school bus operator under contract with a school district, or an agent or employee of a school district or operator, including a teacher or volunteer serving as a chaperone, is not liable in an action for personal injury by a school bus passenger solely because the injured party was not wearing a safety belt. The full statute is here -> Click
Some common sense advice for anyone riding on any bus: Remain seated, and hold on to a strap or one of the metal poles and keep holding on until the bus comes to a complete stop and you are able to exit. Bus drivers start and stop suddenly, so always try to maintain a grip on something to stabilize yourself.
The attorneys at Lazarus and Lazarus understand the complexities of dealing with government agencies for accident cases, and we would be pleased to speak with you if you have been involved in an accident involving any government-owned vehicle. Please call us at 954-356-0006 and we will discuss the best course of action for your circumstances.
Broward County Transit produced a video on proper bus courtesy, which will make life better for everyone who rides the bus: