Buses often appear to be very safe, because they are larger than most vehicles that share the roads and strongly built to withstand crashes. Unhappily, buses can experience accidents caused by driver error, lack of proper maintenance and, of course, collisions with another vehicle. A recent bus accident near Uptown Charlotte tragically demonstrated the risks faced by bus passengers.

A bus owned by Victory Christian Center was traveling south on I-77 when the driver lost control of the vehicle. According to the state highway patrol, the bus struck a concrete retaining wall as the driver was attempting to change lanes. The impact ignited a fire in the bus’s engine. The bus came to a halt, and most of the passengers were able to escape the burning vehicle. Unfortunately, an 87-year old woman could not extricate herself from the burning bus and passed away. Four other individuals suffered injuries that required hospitalization. The driver is facing criminal charges in the incident.

This situation is tragic, but it is important to understand that driver error is not the only cause of bus accidents. Lack of regular maintenance can lead to an engine fire or the driver’s loss of control. Buses are usually required to carry fire suppression equipment, but some are not compliant with this rule.

Anyone who has suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident may wish to consult a personal injury attorney for advice on the likelihood of recovering damages from the party whose fault caused the accident. When it comes to bus accidents, in addition to the driver, sometimes the driver’s employer can be held vicariously liable for the driver’s fault.