You know it happens, you look down for a second while you're driving only to look back up and see the rear end of a car much too close. Usually we are lucky enough to see it and stop before disaster occurs.
Unfortunately for one bus driver, a truck stopped faster than the driver could react. This caused the bus to sustain severe front end damage and injure the driver and the bus aide that was the bus' only passenger, reports WPVI-TV. The driver and passenger of the truck were uninjured, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Adding insult to injury, the driver could face liability for the bus aide's injuries and potentially for the damage to the bus and truck.
The bus driver could face civil liability under the theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a person breaches a legal duty that ends up causing harm or damage. Every person owes the world a duty to act in a reasonable manner.
Acting in a reasonable manner doesn't mean that you need to be perfect, just that you are paying reasonable attention about what you are doing, or taking reasonable precautions when participating in activities.
Here, it is the case that anyone on the highways owe a duty to drive reasonably to both other drivers and to passengers of your vehicle. This raises the question of whether the bus driver was driving reasonably at the time.
Generally, in a "rear end" accident, there are presumptions that the driver in the rear vehicle is at fault. In Pennsylvania, this presumption arises because of the vehicle code section that requires drivers to keep a safe distance and speed from the car in front of them.
What this means is that the bus driver will be presumed to have broken a public safety law by not being able to stop before the truck did, and therefore have breached the driver's duty to drive reasonably. Thus, it would be possible for the passenger to show that the driver's actions caused the passenger's injuries from the driver's negligence.
However, all presumptions can be overcome. Not knowing the full facts of the accident, it is possible that there was a failure of the bus' mechanics that caused the accident. This would clear the driver of wrongdoing and avoid liability.
Next time you're driving, be sure to keep you head up. Or at the very least have your passenger look forward while you're trying to find something in the console.
- Looking for a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney? (FindLaw)
- What to Do After a Philadelphia Car Accident? (FindLaw's Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Greyhound Bus Accident near Lancaster Injures 14 (FindLaw's Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog)