Dangers of Ontario bus accidents and legal remedies

In 2016, there were 643 bus accidents in Ontario that resulted in fatalities (6) or injuries (637), according to the Road Safety Research Office of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. While this is fewer than the numbers of car, truck or motorcycle accidents, a bus crash is particularly dangerous in its own way.

A bus is extremely heavy and for passengers without airbags or seatbelts, their bodies are subject to abrupt, violent movements from bus impact with other vehicles or stationary objects. Of course, drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles are also at serious risk of harm in a collision with a bus if only because of the sheer differences in size and weight.

Recent Ontario bus crash examples

In an early 2018 collision widely covered in the international press, Ryan Straschnitzke, a young player with the Humboldt Broncos, a Saskatchewan junior hockey team, sustained a shearing injury to his upper spine in a team bus accident, leaving him paralyzed below his chest. A semi truck "blew through a stop sign and into the path of the team's bus," according to The Canadian Press.

Sixteen victims passed away from that accident, while 13 were injured.

Then, in the summer of 2018, 24 Chinese tourists were injured when their tour bus left the roadway and hit a rock cut, breaking many windows, near Prescott, Ontario.

In January 2019, Ontarians learned with dismay about an OC Transpo double-deck bus crash into a shelter at the Westboro station in Ottawa when the driver abruptly drove off the road and "lost control of the bus," according to CTV Ottawa. There were three fatalities and 23 people were injured, many from "blunt trauma." Some were ejected from the bus upon impact.

Potential legal remedies

A bus accident can be extremely complex, both factually and legally, especially if public transit is involved, so anyone with injuries or who lost a loved one in a bus accident in Ontario should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to preserve available claims and identify evidence while fresh.

An experienced lawyer will carefully investigate a bus crash on behalf of his or her client to uncover the circumstances and determine all potentially responsible parties such as insurers, a bus driver who drove negligently or while impaired or distracted, at-fault drivers of other vehicles, government entities and others. The lawyer can explain to the client what legal remedies may be available that will allow maximum compensation for losses related to the accident, including insurance coverage, accident benefits and other kinds of damages.

Adequate compensation may be substantial in a bus accident and could include money for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental health treatment
  • Therapies
  • Rehabilitation
  • Caregiving
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • And more

For example, in the OC Transit bus crash, CTV News reported that one of the severely injured parties claims in a lawsuit:

  • That the driver was reckless and driving too fast
  • That the city of Ottawa provided inadequate driver training and allowed negligent road design
  • That the province of Ontario failed to require seatbelt installation on the bus
  • That the victim should get compensation for pain and suffering, future care and loss of income

The personal injury lawyers at the Ottawa office of Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP represent those injured in bus accidents throughout the Ottawa Valley and the surviving loved ones of those killed in such crashes.