Can passengers seek damage recovery after a bus accident in Juneau Alaska?

Alaska – February 15, 2021

A city and borough owned Eaglecrest shuttle bus crashed on Egan Drive at Twin Lakes at about 5 p.m. Monday and became stuck on a guardrail.  There were five people aboard the bus at the time of the accident and a forklift was called to the scene to life the bus off the rail, but was unsuccessful.  The guardrail had to be cut in order to free the vehicle.  The bus was purchased from Juneau Tours and owned by the City and Borough of Eaglecrest.  Police reported that the cause of the crash appears to be possibly related to a mechanical issue with the vehicle and the driver was not cited.  When individuals are involved in a bus accident that may have been caused by negligence of a driver, owner, or mechanical shop, it is important to speak with a bus accident attorney who can guide next steps through insurance, or legal action to seek damage compensation.

Common carrier buses responsibility.

Buses that offer a service to communities and charge a fee for the transportation service fall under federal common carrier laws.  Public entities and private companies offer carrier services and are regulated by local, state, and federal laws, but the federal government regulates carriers that transport passengers across state lines under the Interstate Commerce Act and individual state law regulates travel within a state.  Legal responsibility for common carriers mandates a higher level of care because of paid services to the public. The size of a bus and the passenger capacity increases the catastrophic outcomes when a bus is involved in an accident.  Experienced bus accident attorneys can build winning cases to support damage compensation through their knowledge of the laws that regulate inter and intrastate travel, including driver screening and proficiency to ensure passenger safety.

Bus accident causes.

  • Poor training of bus drivers,
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
  • Distracted driving,
  • Limitations to bus driver visibility,
  • Aggressive driving techniques, speeding, or dangerous maneuvering,
  • Sudden acceleration, or braking,
  • Poor bus maintenance,
  • Fault of other vehicle drivers.

Bus driver requirements.

Bus drivers have different demands by regulation as to their safe ability to operate a passenger carrier.  The specific medically disqualifying conditions found Under 49 CFR 391.41 are hearing loss, vision loss, epilepsy, and insulin use, with certain exemptions. Most commercial bus drivers are required  to have commercial drivers’ licenses (CDL).  The CDL regulations provide that “no person shall operate” a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)s before passing the written and driving tests required for that vehicle (§383.23(a)(1)).

Mandatory Insurance.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if a bus carries over 15 passengers, the bus must carry at least $5,000,000 in liability insurance coverage. Buses carrying fewer than 15 passengers must carry at least $1,500,000 in insurance coverage. While these amounts are considered to be the minimum limits, it is rare that buses will carry more than $5,000,000 in insurance. Experienced accident attorneys can explain how insurance coverage will impact damage compensation for victims.

A lawyer can assist with damage recovery.

An experienced bus accident attorney will work with insurance companies after an accident, to determine fair valuations of property, residual bodily harm, and wrongful death, and make certain the insurance company’s offer represents resultant compensatory and punitive damages to cover all victim’s losses.  In the event that damages exceed coverage amounts, further legal action may be necessary.









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