Today’s personal injury blog is about an interesting story out of Orlando, Florida.
Usually, scary moments are not what we should encounter when we hop the bus, but for some passengers on board, not one, but two LYNX buses scary moments are exactly what they encountered during two separate accidents in the same day. I have in fact been forced to file suit against a number of various bus companies in my years as a personal injury attorney, I have never had to sue LYNX. While in these collisions, it appears that the bus drivers had done nothing wrong and were not at fault for causing the crashes, but bus crashes do bring in their own set of issues for personal injury attorneys.
If you are in the unfortunate position of being struck by a bus, you soon find out the effect of the difference in weight between a car and a bus or semi will have on you. To make a very long story short, more energy is transferred into your body, so it hurts you worse.
One issue in bus collision law that not everyone knows that that often times, bus companies, such as PSTA we have in Pinellas County enjoy limited liability of a government branch. Even if the bus driver does injure you, you will only be able to recover $200,000 no matter how bad your injuries are. While this seems like a lot of money, just remember that same cap applies if there is more than $200,000 in damages! Importantly, attorney’s fees are also limited to 25%. The practical effect on this is that most aggressive lawyers will not even represent you unless the case is a “slam dunk” and there are significant injuries.
In the cases at hand, however, it appears that the buses were rear ended by cars, and both involve numerous personal injuries to the occupants. While it may seem hard to believe that a car can ram a bus hard enough to cause injuries to the occupants, read on. It happens. Bus occupants are not facing forward and do not have to wear seat belts.
According to reports, the first collision occurred at the intersection of North Orange Blossom Trail and Rosamond Drive. In that crash, a car crashed into the back of the bus when it stopped to unload passengers.
I hear from the news that eight passengers were treated for minor injuries. The driver of the car was not so lucky, being taken to Florida Hospital in serious condition. He faces careless driving.
The second crash involved six passengers being treated for injuries and occurred at OBT and Fudge Road.
According to reports this too involved a vehicle rear ending the bus and was so serious that firefighters had to cut open part of the car in order to for the driver and his passengers to be freed.
Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating the cause of both of the crashes.
As a reminder to the public, troopers are encouraging people to drive slowly and more carefully when driving near buses. Especially as they are loading and unloading. Passengers tend to walk right in front of the bus when they depart in order to cross the street. Vehicles moving around the buses as they are stopped put the passengers who have exited at risk of being hit and injured.
Following road rules is important especially to ensure the safety of passengers as well as pedestrians.
July 13, 2011
Herman & Wells, P.A. is a law firm which handles personal injury lawsuits for the injured and their families in Florida.