Many people come to Las Vegas in tour buses from Arizona, California, and other nearby locations. These vehicles offer a number of amenities for travelers, making them good options for distances that are a little too far to drive yet not far enough to fly.
To maximize passengers’ time in the city, many Las Vegas tour bus drivers are on the road early in the morning and/or late at night. No matter how much rest they got the night before, most people are naturally drowsy at these times of day. This drowsiness is just one issue which complicates these vehicle collision claims.
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Legal Responsibility in Las Vegas Tour Bus Crashes
Fatigued driving is a serious problem among truck and bus operators. To address this issue, the federal government now requires many of these vehicles have electronic logging devices. ELDs are connected to the vehicle’s ignition. So, they almost conclusively establish when the vehicle was in operation and how much rest the driver had.
The ELD is a powerful tool. However, as mentioned, Las Vegas tour bus drivers may be dangerously fatigued even if they were well-rested. So, an attorney probes this area carefully. For example, drivers who recently changed schedules are especially at risk for fatigued driving.
This question is important because tour bus drivers are common carriers in Nevada. As such, they have a higher duty of care than non-commercial drivers. Common carriers have a duty of utmost care, which basically means they are one step short of insurers of safe conduct.
For example, when a light turns green, a non-commercial driver can usually proceed through the intersection. But a commercial driver arguably has a duty to stop, or at least pause, look both ways, and then proceed through the intersection only if it’s clearly safe. Failure to do so may constitute negligence.
Tour bus drivers in Nevada also have a duty to protect their passengers from on-bus incidents. They, or another employee, must break up fights and make sure the aisles are clear of spills and other obstructions. Again, a failure to do so could constitute negligence.
Liability for Damages in Las Vegas Tour Bus Crashes
Tour bus drivers may be the ones at fault for accidents, perhaps due to fatigued driving. But the tour bus owners are legally responsible for the damages which victims sustain. This doctrine, which is called respondeat superior (“let the master answer”), applies if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was:
- Employee: In this context, “employees” are not just drivers who receive regular paychecks and W2s. Nevada courts use the Labor Department definition of “employ,” which is “suffer or permit to work.” So, independent contractors, substitute drivers, owner-operators, and perhaps even unpaid volunteers may be employees for negligence purposes.
- Scope of Employment: This phrase is very broadly defined as well. Any activity which benefits the employer in any way is generally within the scope of employment. Such activity could include driving an empty tour bus back to the garage.
Damages in these cases usually includes compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available in some cases as well.
Connect With an Experienced Lawyer
Tour bus crashes usually involve complex legal issues. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We routinely handle cases in Clark County and nearby jurisdictions.