People hire a party bus for a variety of occasions. Whether it is for a prom, graduation, a bachelor party, a bachelorette party, or a wedding people generally rent a bus of this type – and the driver’s services — to have a good night out while being safe and responsible. In light of the intense public service messaging push discouraging drinking and driving and the harsh penalties for DUI, the usage of party buses can only be expected to increase. However, not all businesses that supply the party bus and driver operate with the same level of care when providing their party bus services. The failure to do so can result in severe injuries or even the death of the party bus occupants.
At The Reiff Law Firm our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys have fought for injured people for more than 30 years. We handle every step of the process and will negotiation on your behalf with the insurance company. We fight to secure the compensation you need to cover your severe injuries, lost wages, and other costs related to your injury.
Party Bus Occupants Can Fall from Front Doors or Rear Emergency Door onto the Roadway
Unfortunately hiring a party bus does not necessarily guarantee an incident-free evening. In a number of scenarios well-meaning and responsible individuals who hired a party bus to provide transportation to and from their celebratory destination nevertheless suffered severe injury or wrongful death. Some of the scenarios where catastrophic party bus injuries have occurred include:
- Fall through front bus doors – If the front doors of the party bus are defective, unsafe or of insufficient strength a vehicle occupant can tumble through the doors and into traffic or other hazards. In one incident in September 2013, a 24 year old Los Angeles-area man fell through the front doors of a party bus to his death. The bus involved in the accident was under an out of service order that was ignored by the operator.
- Insufficient supervision of riders – If the party bus operator fails to account for all members of the party or otherwise fails to take note of his pay customers, injury can occur. Perhaps the most common reason for a lack of supervision injury is when the bus strikes or runs over a passenger who is attempting to board at the last moment as it pulls out.
- Fall from rear emergency door – A defective or improperly secured rear emergency door can also lead to fatal injuries. In a May 2013 incident in Kansas City a bachelorette party attendee fell out of the party bus’ rear emergency exit while the vehicle was traveling on the highway. She was hit by 3 vehicles and was, tragically, pronounced dead at the scene.
- Insufficient bus lighting – Insufficient overheard or track lighting can increase the likelihood of fall injuries for bus occupants. When alcohol is a known and foreseeable risk factor, special care should be taken to protect those who have entrusted the party bus company with their health and safety.
The foregoing provide only a few of the more common scenarios for the occurrence of severe party bus injuries or deaths. Unfortunately tragic situations can occur in a number of ways.
Party Buses May be Regulated at the Federal Level
Passenger carrying motor carriers are regulated by the federal government when the gross vehicle weight of the party bus or van exceeds 10,000 pounds and the vehicle is used in interstate commerce. Most, if not all companies engaged in the small scale for-profit transportation of passengers will find themselves regulated at some level. The level of regulation is dependent upon the form of compensation the party bus company receives. Companies that receive direct compensation for their transportation services are regulated more closely than those receiving indirect compensation. In general, the difference between direct and indirect compensation is that direct compensation includes payments made directly from passenger to the company for transportation services only. Indirect compensation includes situations where the transportation services are merely party of a travel package that provides other benefits.
Companies receiving direct compensation must adhere to regulations including:
- 49 CFR 387 setting forth the minimum levels of insurance necessary.
- 49 CFR 395 setting forth maximum driving times for a commercial driver.
- 49 CFR 385 setting forth safety assurance and fitness procedures
- 49 CFR 391 setting forth medical exam requirements for a commercial driver
- 49 CFR 390 setting forth mandatory accident record keeping procedures.
Companies receiving indirect compensation, generally, fall under less stringent regulatory standards. However, they must still file a motor carrier identification report, keep and accident log, comply with all driver restrictions regarding cell phone use or texting, carry vehicle USDOT identification and maintain an accident register. At both levels of regulation the company must also adhere to out of service orders and other safety orders issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
If You Were Injured in an Accident on a Party Bus in Philadelphia, Our Lawyers Can Help
The personal injury and party bus injury lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm have fought for Pennsylvanians injured by the recklessness or carelessness of others for more than 30 years. To schedule an initial consultation regarding your party bus injury call (215) 709-6940 today.