Drivers and operators of buses owe a high duty of care to protect passengers from injuries. While the bus line is not an insurer against accidents, it will be liable for the slightest neglect or lack of care resulting in injury to its passengers. Most injuries occur while getting on and off the bus or from sudden stopping and starting of the bus.
To recover for injuries while entering or exiting a bus, there must have been some defective condition which the bus driver or bus line knew or should have known about. This may be anything from a badly worn step to an icy step. For example, one passenger was able to recover when the heel of her shoe got caught in a raised piece of steel in the bus and she tripped and fell. Another passenger was able to recover for injuries while trying to get off the bus when she slipped and fell on a slippery step which had no handrails.
A passenger boarding a bus is presumed to have reached a place of security or safety when he or she has entered the door of the bus, and the driver has no duty to keep the bus stationary until the passenger is seated. However, a bus company may be liable if it started the bus with such violence that a passenger in the exercise of reasonable care was injured. For example, one passenger who was standing holding onto the back of a seat was thrown to the floor by a sudden stop of the bus. The bus line was found liable because there was evidence that other passengers were jarred and some were thrown to the floor when the bus suddenly stopped.
Passengers who are seated in the bus may be able to recover for injuries they suffer from negligent sudden starts or stops. For example, one passenger was able to recover where a man was running toward the bus and the operator stopped, applying the brakes so suddenly that the plaintiff was thrown forward from her seat against the seat in front of her and sustained serious injuries.
If you have been injured in a bus, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Dealing with the bus company can be difficult, but a personal injury attorney can explain the law and assert your rights so that you can recover damages for your injuries.