If you live in Calgary, there’s a good chance you have taken the bus to work or school, a hockey game or the Stampede, or to visit your family in a neighbouring province for the holidays. Buses provide an easy-to-use, affordable, and generally safe mode of transportation both within the city and for those travelling long distances. Alberta’s provincial laws provide stringent requirements for driver licensing, bus safety devices, equipment, and standards, and vehicle safety inspections both scheduled and roadside. Seat belts are not currently mandatory on buses anywhere in Canada – a topic that gets raised every time a bus crash takes place. But that’s all about to change. Transport Canada recently announced that all highway buses built on or after September 1, 2020 will require seat belts in an effort to keep Canadians safe on our roads. Bus accidents are rare (accounting for less than 0.5 per cent of all motor vehicle accidents, but when they do happen the results can be catastrophic. If you were injured in a bus accident that was not your fault, we can help. At Litwiniuk & Company we’ve represented injured Calgarians for over 44 years, including bus accident victims, and the families of those fatally injured. Our knowledgeable Calgary Bus Accident lawyers will leave no stone unturned to ensure you get the maximum compensation for your injuries. We’ll handle the legal work and the insurance companies, so that you can focus on what matters most – your health and getting your life back.
Injured while riding city transit?It’s rush hour, and the bus you take to work is crammed full of people. All the seats are full so you, along with a dozen other passengers, stand for the ride. While travelling down Calgary’s Deerfoot trail, another vehicle cuts off your bus driver forcing him to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. The sudden brake catapults you forward causing you to hit your head on a metal pole and crash into the aisle. As a result, you suffer a concussion and broken wrist, and you are left feeling pretty shaken up. Now you are forced to take time off work and spend the next few months recovering from your injuries. Your medical doctor recommends physiotherapy, massage, and chiropractic care. But none of those services are covered under Alberta Health Care. So now what? As there was no collision, the other driver is likely long gone. How do you make a claim against a driver you can’t locate? Can you make a claim against the Calgary Transit Authority? What if the bus driver was partially at fault because they were speeding? When it comes to bus accidents, there are two key sources of evidence that could be very helpful should you choose to make a claim:
- Eyewitness accounts – unless you were the only passenger on the bus at the time of your injury, the other passengers should be able to corroborate the events that caused your injury. For example, the bus stopping or swerving suddenly and causing you to fall. Witnesses might also be able to shed some light on whether or not the bus driver was speeding, seemed distracted, or simply got cut off by another vehicle.
- Camera footage – most public transit buses in Calgary are equipped with internal and external cameras. You or your lawyer can request the camera footage by submitting a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) request to the City of Calgary. Details on how to place a request can be found here.
School Bus AccidentsSchool bus collisions in Alberta are thankfully very rare and also less likely to result in injuries than other motor vehicle collisions. When school bus accidents do occur, they tend to capture public attention, as children are usually involved. Our Calgary Bus Accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children, and families of fatally injured children. We understand that a child’s life is affected differently by an accident than an adult’s life. We work with medical professionals to determine the effects of injuries on a child’s school performance, memory, concentration, personality, leisure activities, future opportunities, and relationships with friends, family, and teachers. If your child has been injured in a school bus accident in Alberta, we can help. Whether the collision was caused by the bus driver, another driver, a mechanical failure, or something else, we will work hard to get your child the compensation that he or she deserves. Depending on the circumstances, liability could fall to the bus driver, the company that provides bus service on behalf of a school, or even the school district. Multiple parties could be held liable if they are even partially to blame for the injury-causing accident. It won’t cost you a thing to talk to a Litwiniuk & Company Bus Accident lawyer. And if you do choose us to represent your claim, we’ll cover the expenses of gathering evidence for your case until you receive your settlement, meaning we don’t get paid until you get paid.
Long distance travel, motor coaches, and tour buses.With the beautiful Rocky Mountains nearby, every year thousands of people take chartered bus tours to visit the local Icefields and other popular tourist attractions. Although rare, tour bus accidents do happen. Determining liability for these types of accidents is often complicated as there are several parties that could be liable for a bus accident. Aside from the bus driver and others on the road, there are three additional parties that may be held liable in a bus accident claim:
- The bus company – The company which owns the vehicle has a responsibility to follow the National Safety Code Safety and Maintenance Program Development Guidelines provided by Alberta Transportation. This detailed guideline includes important steps to ensure the safety and maintenance of the buses, and that all drivers are competent and qualified to safely operate the fleet. Even if these criteria are met, a bus company may still be held liable for injuries caused by a negligent driver or a poorly maintained vehicle.
- The tour company – It is the responsibility of the tour company to hire a bus company with a good safety record. In some cases, tour companies can be held partially at fault for an accident, even if they did not directly cause it. If, for example, injuries occur as the result of an accident on a tour bus operated by a bus company that has a long history of safety violations, the tour company might be held partially liable if they were or should have been aware of that history. Likewise, a tour company that owns its own buses must follow the Alberta Transportation guidelines that standard bus companies adhere to.
- Venue owners – Often tour buses will stop at various locations as part of their itinerary. Let’s say a passenger slips on a patch of ice and breaks their leg after exiting a bus at a mountainside café. In this case, the owner of that venue may be held liable for failing to ensure the safety of visitors to the premises.