Many Tennesseans’ summer plans will no doubt involve travel on a tour bus, whether for long distances or short day trips. We assume that these vehicles are well-maintained and that the drivers are safe and experienced. However, every year, people are injured and killed on tour buses — sometimes due to recklessness or negligence by the driver or problems with the bus itself. Determining what individuals and entities can be held civilly liable for a tour bus accident can be a challenge.
The company that owns the bus is responsible for keeping its vehicles reasonably safe and hiring drivers who are qualified and properly licensed. Tour buses, like school buses, cruise ships and other modes of transportation for passengers, are considered “common carriers” under the law. Common carrier laws mandate a high degree of safety by these companies.
A tour company can also be held liable for an accident even if they aren’t the owners of the bus that was involved. Many tour companies contract with bus companies. When they do that, they’re required to determine that the bus company has a good safety record. If they fail to do that, they can share in liability for an accident that’s determined to be the fault of the driver or involve a malfunction of the bus.
Sometimes,people are injured at one of the stops along their trip. Just as with any premises liability case, it may be possible to hold those who own or manage the property responsible if the hazard could have reasonably been prevented.
In some cases, it may be possible to hold multiple entities responsible. For example, if a tour bus stops in a location the company knows is poorly-lit and a high-crime location or not well-maintained, it may share in the liability for what happens to passengers there. A Tennessee personal injury attorney with experience in handling tour bus cases can advise you of the best course of action for your individual situation.
Source: FindLaw, “Tour Bus Accidents and Liability,” accessed May 13, 2016