When vehicles that transport large volumes of people such as buses are involved in collisions with other drivers, the potential for property damage, injuries, and even loss of life increases greatly.

Local police responded to an accident that involved a school bus, a tractor trailer, and a third vehicle in Palm Beach County.

Crash on Highway 27 near county border required several people to be hospitalized

The incident occured on U.S. Highway 27 northbound’s 5100 block near the town of Belle Glade and Clewiston around 8 am. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that five children were on the school bus at the time of the accident and a total of seven people needed to be treated by paramedics. An adult male needed to be airlifted to a local hospital, and all five children who were on the bus were also taken to a hospital to be evaluated, even though they appeared to be in good health. Fire Rescue reported that a tractor trailer involved in the accident was turned on its side when they arrived on the scene and another pickup truck was involved in the crash and sustained damage. An air rescue crew was also in the process of responding to the scene but there was no information given about any additional injuries.

Belle Glade is located on the western side of Palm Beach County near the Hendry County border. The bus was en route to Lake Shore Middle School on Canal Street.

Accidents that involve multiple large vehicles used for transportation and commercial purposes

Car accidents that include vehicles of varying sizes such as buses, trucks, and standard cars can result in serious injuries to drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicles. Lawyers who focus on accident cases recommend that victims obtain accident report from the police immediately afterward and notify their insurance company as soon as possible. When the insurance process is insufficient to cover losses and remedy problems associated with the accident, it is beneficial to file a civil personal injury lawsuit.

It is possible that several of the school children’s parents may sue the transportation company that owns the bus, or the other truck or driver involved in the accident. The bus company is responsible for providing safe transportation and hiring drivers with clean records. Any breach of this duty can be used as evidence of negligence in a related civil lawsuit.

Lawsuits against common carriers

Buses, airlines, train lines, and certain other companies are considered common carriers from a legal standpoint. This is a doctrine that has special rules regarding how guests must be handled, and there are certain procedures for bringing lawsuits against businesses in these fields. As a general rule, these vehicles are held to a higher standard than other drivers on the roads while transporting passengers. In Florida, this common carrier doctrine has been applied to many kinds of transportation, including cruise ships, taxi services, school buses, and charter vehicles.

One of these reasons this doctrine is applied is because drivers who transport large amounts of people using vehicles designed to carry dozens of people can generally cause a much greater amount of property damage or multiple injuries when they make a mistake. Buses are subject to specific regulations regarding maintenance and warnings for passengers to prevent these kinds of injuries and minimize the risk of accidents. Trucking companies also have to follow similar rules regarding the condition of their vehicles and the number of hours their drivers can be on the road in a day without taking a break. Fines for traffic citations are usually larger for drivers of commercial vehicles than standard cars as well. This is meant to act as a deterrent to keep them from breaking traffic laws.

The burden of proof against common carriers

Any lawsuits against a common carrier will generally have to prove that the transportation business was negligent in some way. This can involve hiring drivers who lack proper credentials, allowing drivers to be on the roads for too long, which increases the risk of accidents, drivers who are not tested for drugs or alcohol and may be driving while under the influence of these substances, and mechanical problems with vehicles that should have been discovered through routine repairs and maintenance.

If the government owns a bus or other form of transportation, there are other special rules that must be followed. These include a cap on damages unless the legislature in Tallahassee authorizes more funding to be paid out to victims. Your attorney must also follow certain procedures under the Florida Tort Claims Act, rather than just filing a standard personal injury lawsuit.

Get help from a local attorney licensed in Florida

There are excellent lawyers who can assist you after an accident in the West Palm Beach area. Smith and Vanture provide free case evaluations to victims of all kinds of motor vehicle incidents.