According to authorities, three people were injured when a car rear-ended a school bus that was stopped on a state highway in southeastern Arizona. Read on to learn more about how to avoid accidents like these, and also what to do if you are involved in an accident involving a bus.
Recent School Bus Accident
State Trooper Kameron Lee described the scene of the school bus accident. The bus was stopped and was displaying its red lights and stop sign to indicate that students would be entering and exiting the bus. A car then rear-ended the bus. Two people in the car were injured in addition to one student aboard the bus. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
Bus Accident Injuries
While buses are a fairly safe mode of transportation, dozens of people are still injured in bus accidents every year. Injuries sustained during a bus accident come in a wide range – from whiplash to serious trauma. Since many buses are not equipped with seatbelts, their passengers are left unrestrained. In an accident this can lead whiplash, head injuries, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, or a combination of all these. When a bus comes into contact with a pedestrian or passenger car, there are numerous injuries that can result, simply because a bus is so much larger than a car or human body. In cases such as these, the victim is entitled to compensation for injuries and life changes sustained as a result of that accident.
Rear- End Accidents
In a rear-end accident the impact propels the driver’s and passengers' bodies forward while their heads stay in place. This action exposes the neck to sudden, extreme extension and flexion that follows a whip-like motion. Opposite to popular belief, whiplash is commonly caused by low speed, low impact, rear-end automobile collisions.
Other Types of Whiplash Incidents
Whiplash can also occur in other types of accidents not limited to but including the following:
- car and truck accidents that don’t involve rear-end impact
- contact sports such as football, hockey, and soccer
- intentional assaults
- skiing and snowboarding accidents
- repetitive stress injuries that occur at work
- child abuse (shaken baby syndrome, for example), and
- slips and falls that occur in stores and homes or on poorly-maintained sidewalks.
Symptoms of Whiplash
If you’ve been involved in an accident you should look for signs of a whiplash or neck injury. It may take several days for symptoms to appear. Symptoms include:
- neck pain and stiffness
- decreased range of motion
- blurred vision
- shoulder, arm, or back pain
- unusual sensations such as burning, prickling, or tingling in arms
- sleep disturbance, fatigue, or trouble concentrating, and
- other cognitive or psychological difficulties.
Legal Note: Personal injury attorneys will often avoid using the word “whiplash” due to the fact that in recent years the word “whiplash” has come to be associated with fake or exaggerated personal injury claims. These types of injuries are now commonly referred to by more technical names like hyperextension/hyperflexion injury, myofascial injury, neck sprain or strain, and cervical strain or sprain. If you have been involved in an accident it might be a good idea to avoid using the word in your personal injury action or insurance claim.
Added Risks of Riding in Bus
There are also added risks that come with riding in a bus, such as a higher risk of rollover and the lack of seatbelts or safety restraints. Because of this, there is greater risk for higher levels of injury. There are claims that are specific to bus accidents, and you’ll need to know your rights if you are involved in this type of accident.
When it comes to assigning fault in a bus accident, it can be difficult. This is because buses are often owned by a wide variety of entities – government, school districts, and public transportation bureaus. Filing these kinds of claims can be far more difficult than filing a typical insurance claim in a car accident.
Often some form of initial investigation will be required to determine liability in the bus accident. Various things factor into this, including:
- Fatigued bus driver
- Untrained, or inadequately trained drivers
- A bus that is improperly loaded or overloaded
- Poorly maintained bus
What to Do
The first thing you should do if you are involved in a bus accident is to get medical attention. Injuries can often take time to appear as well, so you might not see or feel anything until weeks later. Also, keep a journal of any injuries sustained. Note how painful the injuries are. This journal should also include all hospital vists and any medical bills that pertain to the sustained injuries. All this will be used as evidence if you decide to pursue a claim. At that point, it is advised that you contact an attorney that can help you build your case.
Reconstructing the Accident
When an accident occurs, and there are no eye-witnesses, it’s hard to understand exactly what occurred. The accident needs to be reconstructed by investigators in order to get a full understanding. Once that understanding has been given, liability can be assessed. The dynamics, methodology, and principles involved in reconstructing a pedestrian accident are slightly different than those used to reconstruct car accidents. A investigator looks at car speed as well as pedestrian speed (which can be very difficult to determine), perception and reaction time, as well as highway design and sign placement. The pedestrian’s impact kinematics (which is how the pedestrian moved at or through the impact phase of the collision) are reconstructed. Once all these factors have been identified, a lawyer can build a negligence or wrongful death case based on the investigator’s findings.
In the case of pedestrian and car accidents, negligence can be assigned to both sides of the accident: to the driver, or to the pedestrian. Drivers are considered negligent if they neglect to do the following:
- Pay attention to surroundings
- Adhere to posted speed limits
- Yield at stop lights and cross-walks
- Properly use turn signals
- Adhere to Arizona state traffic laws
A pedestrian can be considered negligent if they do the following:
- Run-out in front of cars
- Illegally jaywalk
- Fail to use designated cross-walks
- Ignore pedestrian signals at traffic lights
- Fail to pay attention to surroundings and traffic situations
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident
If you have been a victim in a car, truck, pedestrian, or bicycle accident, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney that understands the specific laws around these types of accidents. They will be able to perform a full investigation and build your case. It’s crucial that you work with someone that knows the intricacies of the laws surrounding these types of cases as well as your specific state’s laws. The attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC have experience handling personal injury cases such as car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents. They will help build a case to ensure you receive everything you need to recover from your specific accident.