Many Seattle area residents are probably unaware that private and public bus drivers have a duty to maintain the safety of their passengers. In some cases, a bus driver can be held accountable if he or she failed to protect one passenger from another.
A Seattle Times report exposed frightening statistics earlier this month, in regard to violent incidents taking place on King County Metro buses. There were 700 assaults and disturbances in 2011 on the worst three bus routes in the Washington state county.
On the 358 route, which runs from North Seattle into downtown, there were 333 incidents last year. Bus route 7, which goes from downtown Seattle to Rainier Beach, had about 250 problems. Finally, the Rapid Ride, which travels between Tukwila and Federal Way, had 145 incidents last year.
Metro authorities have said that they are planning to increase security on the buses, both by adding cameras and police presence. Currently, only one in four buses has a camera.
Those who have been injured on a public or private bus, or in an accident with a bus, can become very confused about their rights. This is in part because there are special rules regarding bringing a claim for injuries sustained in a bus-related incident.
There are many layers of organization and responsibility in bus management, and often the claim would be against a public entity, which is quite different than filing a normal insurance claim. This is why there are lawyers who focus on cases involving those who are injured on or by private or public buses.
Source: Seattle PI, “700 assaults, disturbances on three Metro routes,” Jon Humbert, Feb. 2, 2012