What to do if you are injured in a bus accident

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A major incident was declared earlier today (Tuesday, 17 January 2023) following a double decker bus crash on the A39 near Bridgwater.

The bus was carrying workers from the company EDF to the nearby Hinkley Point C construction site and is understood to have overturned as a result of icy road conditions, possibly after a crash involving a motorcycle.

Emergency services including the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance were called to the scene, with 3 workers believed to be seriously injured, and another 26 walking wounded being treated at hospitals in Bridgwater and Southmead.

Avon and Somerset Police reported that poor winter weather conditions on the roads caused 53 road traffic accidents on Monday night alone.

The accident has also raised questions about employers’ responsibility for worker safety. The MP for Bridgwater Ian Liddell Grainger told the BBC:

“Obviously it was a terrifying experience for everyone on that bus and my thoughts are with them and their families.

“But we absolutely must get to the bottom of why this crash occurred because EDF is very conscious of the need to maintain the highest safety standards for the protection of their workers – and that concern naturally extends to those periods when they are being transferred to and from the site.”

Who is responsible for a bus accident injury?

Bus companies have a duty of care to follow health and safety regulations and keep their employees and passengers safe.

Buses should be well-maintained and have equipment such as handles and straps so that anyone who has to stand can steady themselves. They should make safety measures clear, for example via signs and posters on buses, and ensure that drivers are well-qualified and aware of the rules. However, they are not necessarily the only responsible party. Others who are potentially responsible for bus accidents include:

  • Local authorities – Bus services are not always run by local authorities such as the council, but they are typically responsible for making sure the roads buses use are safe and well-maintained, with clear signage to avoid the risk of confusion or accidents. This includes gritting important roads in icy weather, clearing them of debris or hazards, and filling in potholes or fixing other damaged sections.
  • Other road users – Motorists and other road users are responsible for keeping each other safe. Although bus passengers are not considered vulnerable under the Highway Code’s hierarchy of road users, accidents caused by the dangerous or negligent behaviour of other drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists or e-scooter riders can have serious consequences.
  • Passengers – People riding buses should be careful and considerate of others, respect the rules and obey the driver. If the actions of one passenger leads to others becoming injured, they may become liable for any damages or compensation owed.

Rebecca Brisley is a specialist personal injury solicitor from Novum Law’s Plymouth team. She has worked on many cases where people have been involved in road traffic accidents or injured as bus passengers. She says:

“It was terrible to hear about the crash on the A39 Quantock Road this morning and our thoughts go out to those who were injured and their loved ones. We hope that everyone involved makes a full recovery.

“Last week’s heavy rain and the sudden drop in temperatures has made the roads extremely icy leading to treacherous driving conditions across the region.

“It is too early to know what caused the accident, but we’re sure Avon and Somerset Police will fully investigate to establish who was responsible and take appropriate action.”

Bus accident compensation claims

As with other road traffic accident compensation claims, if you are a bus passenger and you are injured in an accident, you may be able to claim compensation, especially as the crash was probably not your fault.

While injuries from bus accidents can be minor, they can also be extremely serious, causing injuries such as multiple broken bones, head and brain injuries, spinal injuries or even fatalities in the most tragic of cases.

Rebecca Brisley continues:

“Travelling by bus or coach is one of the safest ways to get from A to B. Drivers who carry passengers are generally trained to a high standard and the buses are usually well maintained.

“But bus accidents do happen. There are many different reasons for bus crashes including adverse weather conditions, poorly maintained roads, driver error including lapses in judgment or carelessness, and the actions of other road users.

“If you have been injured in a bus accident that was not your fault you deserve support. You may be able to make a personal injury compensation claim to pay for private medical treatment, care and support, and to cover any lost earnings and expenses.

“But don’t leave it too late to speak to a specialist lawyer. You typically have just 3 years following an injury or accident to start a compensation claim, so it’s vital to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible.”

At Novum Law, we have many years’ experience of helping injured people claim the maximum possible compensation they deserve, including cases other firms consider too difficult to take on.

For a confidential chat about how we can help you claim compensation on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis, call us for FREE today on 0800 884 0777, email info@novumlaw.com , or complete our short enquiry form.

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