Tour buses are still a popular form of entertainment and travel for many people—but an accident involving a tour bus can be incredibly tragic because so many people get injured at once.
Because tour buses are considered “common carriers” under the law, their owners and operators are held to a higher standard of care than average. Most vehicular accidents require the jury to ask the question, “What would a reasonable person do under these circumstances?”
When a common carrier is involved, the question that the jury needs to ask is, “What would a reasonably careful operator do?” That’s considered a much higher standard. This higher standard of care is imposed both because the operator of the bus has more specialized training than the average driver and is responsible for more passengers than the average driver.
Tour bus operators are expected to exercise extreme caution toward their passengers. That includes things like doing a safety check on the bus before it gets in motion, making sure that passengers are properly seated and not acting in a distracting way, obeying all traffic laws and not speeding or making dangerous maneuvers.
When a passenger on a tour bus does get into an accident, it can be difficult to determine who exactly is liable for the victim’s injuries. There are often several potentially liable parties:
—The driver of any other vehicle involved in the accident may be responsible. If the tour bus was hit by a passenger car or semi, for example, the driver of that vehicle may bear all or most of the liability for your injuries.
—The bus company could be responsible. If the driver was distracted, going to fast for the weather, or too fatigued to be driving, the company is responsible for its driver’s mistakes.
—The tour company, if the bus doesn’t belong to it, could be partially liable for your injuries. Sometimes tour companies hire independent bus companies for their tours. If they do, they have a responsibility to check the bus company’s safety record and hire a company that can be trusted.
—The booking agent that arranged the tour. If you arranged the tour through a booking agent and there had been previous incidents with the particular touring company before, the agent should have been more careful about booking your tour.
Anyone injured while on a bus tour should consider contacting an attorney for advice.
Source: Findlaw, “What is a Common Carrier?,” accessed Jan. 06, 2017