As we approach the midpoint of summer, more and more people are busy finalizing their carefully prepared summer vacation plans or making spur of the moment arrangements for some much-needed time away from home.
While this, of course, means that many are dealing with airlines and rental car companies, it also means that many are dealing with tour bus companies, which allow passengers to take in the sights while someone else does the driving.
As we discussed last time, however, it's important for those planning to utilize the services of tour bus companies this summer -- or anytime in the foreseeable future -- to understand that the law covering tour bus accidents is much different than the law covering car accidents.
To that end, we started discussing how the law considers tour bus companies to be common carriers and the legal significance of this classification. In today's post, we'll continue this discussion, examining both the elements of a tour bus crash claim and the parties that may be held liable in the event of a crash.
What must be proven by a personal injury plaintiff in a lawsuit against a tour bus company?
While a complete explanation of the elements of a case alleging negligence on the part of a tour bus company or other common carrier is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, the short answer is that four elements must be demonstrated:
- Demonstrate that the defendant tour bus company owed a duty to the plaintiff passenger.
- Demonstrate that the defendant tour bus company breached this duty.
- Demonstrate that the defendant tour bus company caused the plaintiff passenger's personal injuries.
- Demonstrate that the plaintiff passenger suffered actual damages, like physical injuries or emotional harm.
Who can be held liable in a tour bus accident?
The answer to this question will depend on the unique circumstances of the case. For instance, consider a tour bus accident caused by a bus driver who was exceeding the speed limit and had been cited by law enforcement for this on prior occasions. It was later discovered that the tour company failed to learn about this before entering into a contract with the bus company that employed the driver.
Here it's possible that an injured plaintiff passenger could file a lawsuit against not just the bus company that employed the speeding bus driver with a history of violations, but also the tour company for failing to discover this potential hazard before retaining the services of the bus company.
What all of this serves to underscore is that tour bus accidents are legally complex matters requiring both careful consideration and, if necessary, the aggressive advocacy that can only be provided by a highly skilled and experienced legal professional.