Multiple entities may be liable for a party bus accident in Las Vegas. These often include the party bus owner or operator, the driver, the governmental entity responsible for maintaining roadways, and any other third party who may have caused the accident. Party bus accidents and injuries have been increasingly hitting the headlines in recent years, sparking concerns about issues like their safety and liability.
Nevada Bus Accident Statistics
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada compiled statistics for bus accidents that occurred in Nevada from 2015 to 2019. There were a total of 2,355 bus-related accidents during the period. Most crashes occurred on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown areas. The highest percentage of severe and fatal injuries was in the bus accidents near Tropicana and Boulder Highway.
About 4% of the bus drivers in the crashes appeared distracted during the accidents. Another 4% had been drinking, while 1% were fatigued or had fallen asleep or fainted during the crashes. Factors that were common among the buses that were involved in the reported crashes included unsafe lane changes, making improper turns, failure to yield the right of way, and being followed too closely.
Who Can Be Held at Fault for a Party Bus Accident?
Any party whose negligence contributes to a party bus accident can be held liable for resulting damages. People are widely using party buses for nightclub crawls, bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings, proms, corporate events, birthdays, and other celebratory events. The trend is gaining more and more steam in Nevada and the rest of the country. The buses come with amenities that allow guests to board and celebrate to the fullest as they’re driven about, which may include large flat-screen TVs, surround sound, LED lighting, mini-bar, and dance floors.
While renting these buses seems to be a safe way to avoid drunk driving, the recently reported party bus crashes highlight the risk for Las Vegas residents. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries while riding on these buses are becoming increasingly common. If you’re injured on a party bus, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses.
You’ll need to identify the right liable party or parties before pursuing compensation. Identifying the responsible party requires you first to understand the cause of your accident.
Top Causes of Party Bus Accidents in Las Vegas
Accidents and injuries on party buses can happen for a number of reasons. The most common causes include:
Inadequate Driver Training
Drivers usually receive training from the party bus companies that hire them. Some companies may overlook training or hire inexperienced or unqualified drivers to save on costs. Inadequate training increases the chances of drivers making wrong decisions and causing severe accidents.
People often hire party buses for evenings and weekends. A driver who’s not properly rested may be unable to drive a bus safely due to physical and mental tiredness. Fatigued drivers find it harder to focus on the road, make decisions, and react quickly. They may also fall asleep behind the wheel.
Besides the usual distractions like phone usage, food, drinks, and vehicle controls, party bus drivers may also have to contend with loud music, rowdy or unruly passengers, monitoring passenger behavior, and an overall chaotic environment.
Accidents commonly occur due to bus drivers or other motorists violating traffic laws.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Poor road maintenance can lead to dangerous conditions, such as potholes, that cause accidents. A party bus hitting a pothole or any other obstacle on the road could easily result in a collision. Poor weather conditions, such as sudden thunderstorms, can lower visibility and make the road slippery, increasing the risk of accidents.
Mechanical failure due to a manufacturing defect or improper vehicle maintenance can lead to catastrophic accidents and injuries. Faulty equipment can also cause a non-vehicular accident inside the party bus itself.
Potentially Liable Parties in a Party Bus Accident Lawsuit
The people and companies that can be held liable for party bus accidents may vary from one case to another. Below are some parties that can be held liable.
Party Bus Owner or Operator
When a party bus accident occurs, the company that owns or operates the bus could be held liable for your injuries. Party bus companies owe guests a duty of care to ensure their safety during the ride. That could be upheld through measures like regular inspections, routine vehicle maintenance, and thorough background checks of drivers. In many party bus accident cases, the factors that lead to injuries are found to have resulted from the operator’s negligence.
Failure to follow safety precautions and state or federal laws and regulations could make the company liable for your damages. A negligent driver also exposes a party bus operator or owner to liability. A party bus company could be considered negligent if it hires unqualified drivers or fails to provide adequate training to its employees.
Party bus companies can be held responsible for accidents if they fail to maintain their vehicles properly. Maintenance issues can increase the chances of a bus malfunctioning while on the road. In one case, the passenger double doors opened unexpectedly when the party bus hit a bump, causing a 26-year-old woman to fall onto the highway. Three cars fatally struck her. The vehicle hadn’t undergone inspection, during which inspectors would’ve likely noticed the defective door. The woman’s family received a significant settlement after taking the bus company to court.
Party Bus Driver
In addition to the party bus company, you can sue the driver if he or she was reckless or negligent when operating the bus and caused an accident. Some instances where a party bus driver can be held liable for an accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failure to follow the traffic rules
A Third-Party Driver
Some party bus accidents occur due to the negligent driving of another motorist. For example, a drunk or speeding driver could collide with the party bus you’re riding or cut off the bus, forcing the party bus driver to swerve to avoid an accident. In such cases, the other driver could be held liable for damages. You could recover compensation from that driver’s insurance company.
If the bus has a poor design, mechanical defect, or defective component, the bus manufacturer or maker of the defective component could be liable for your injuries. You can recover damages from a bus or parts manufacturer for issues like brake failure or a malfunction of the wheels on the bus.
Bus Repair or Maintenance Company
Independent companies that repair or maintain party buses can be held liable if they commit maintenance errors or repair fails.
You could hold a government entity liable for a party bus accident and the resulting injuries if the accident happened because of faulty signage, malfunctioning traffic signals, inadequate road maintenance, and other roadway defects.
You can file a civil action against another guest on the party bus if he or she causes an accident or injuries, for example, by being unruly.
Challenges of Party Bus Accident Claims
You may encounter issues when seeking compensation after being involved in a party bus accident, especially if you try to file a claim on your own. Filing a claim successfully and receiving a fair compensation amount requires an understanding of federal and state laws.
Identifying the liable parties in party bus crashes isn’t always straightforward. Filing a case against the wrong party can hurt your claim. Carrying out bus accident investigations is expensive and lengthy. Party bus companies may make you sign a waiver to assume all injury risks when you use their vehicles. However, these waivers may not be enforceable. Nevertheless, you may have to prove that the company was grossly negligent to win your case.
After an accident, the Las Vegas bus company will likely have its own team take over investigations, creating a conflict of interest. Leaving the investigations entirely to the company’s investigators could jeopardize your case, as they will be looking to lessen or eliminate the company’s responsibility for the accident.
Party bus accidents usually cause many people to suffer injuries. Even if a case results in a settlement, the compensation may not adequately cover the losses of each injured victim.
A Nevada commercial bus accident attorney can make a significant difference in these types of cases. A lawyer for bus accidents gathers important evidence like police reports, bus operator records, CCTV footage, and witness statements to establish crucial elements. Bus accident lawyers investigate crashes to identify all possible defendants. By identifying and filing a claim against all the appropriate parties and negotiating with them, a bus accident lawyer helps increase your payout.
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case in Nevada is two years from your accident date. Your case could be dismissed if you file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired. The longer you take before filing your claim, the more chance you give the party bus company to conduct its investigations selectively to reduce or eliminate its liability.