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Who is liable in a tour bus accident?

Whether you're touring the many scenic areas of this country or simply joining visiting friends and family on one of Chicago's many guided bus tours, chances are that you're going to find yourself on a tour bus at some point in your life. While people tend to feel safe on a tour bus, we've all seen footage of tragic tour bus accidents.

So who is legally responsible for one of these accidents? It depends in part on the circumstances of the crash. If another driver is found to be at fault in a crash, that person would likely be the one liable for any injuries.

However, if the driver or a problem with the bus is to blame, then liability would be based on contractual relationships. For example, a tour company may have a contract with a bus company to provide the vehicles and drivers it uses.

If that bus company has a poor safety record, the tour company may share liability for an accident. If the tour company owns its own buses, that company would likely be liable for any accident caused by its driver or vehicle. Even companies not directly responsible for the crash may have what is called contributory negligence.

Obviously, tour bus companies and drivers cannot be held responsible for any injury that may occur to a passenger while at a stop along the way. For example, if a tour of the city includes a shopping excursion at Water Tower Place and you slip on someone's spilled coffee and break your hip, you couldn't hold the tour company responsible. You may be able to hold another entity responsible, however, depending on where it happened.

If you are injured or if a loved one has died as the result of a tour bus accident that you believe was the fault of the driver or due to improper maintenance of the bus, it's wise to explore your legal options for compensation for your injuries and other damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine what entities can and should be held responsible.

Source: FindLaw, "Tour Bus Accidents and Liability," accessed Nov. 24, 2015

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