Church Bus and Church Van Accidents

church bus accident

Many churches use small buses and 15 passenger vans to help elderly or disabled parishioners get to services each week. Or, the church might use their buses and vans to take members of the congregation to a retreat or special event. Unfortunately, church buses and 15-passenger vans are not immune to accidents.

The causes of church bus and van crashes are numerous:

  • Negligence by the driver of the church bus or van
  • Negligence by another motorist
  • Improper maintenance or repairs of the church bus or van by a service company or the church
  • Defective equipment on the vehicle which may be the responsibility of the vehicle manufacturer
  • Defective tires which may be the responsibility of the tire manufacturer
  • And many others

Of course, no parishioner wants to sue their church, but most churches have insurance for exactly these types of accidents.  Just as no one wants to sue their church, no church wants to do something or fail to do something that causes harm to a parishioner and not make it right.  In fact, the church has paid insurance premiums to protect themselves and others in exactly this situation.  Finally, the crash may have been the fault of someone outside the church like the vehicle manufacturer or a repair facility.

Because church bus and church van accidents happen frequently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has re-issued warnings to church groups using 15-passenger vans. The agency warned that tire maintenance is paramount to preventing rollover crashes and other accidents. Church groups should be sure to use appropriately-sized tires, and the tires should be checked for proper inflation before every trip. Because a lot of church groups use their buses relatively infrequently (one or two days per week) for short, local drives, the NHTSA cautioned the tires can degrade over time even if they have not seen a tremendous amount of mileage. In fact, the NHTSA echoed the warning of most tire manufacturers -- tires older than 10 years should not be used at all. Finally, the NHTSA offered the following safety tips for anyone planning a church trip in a 15-passenger van:

  • If you are the owner, make sure the vehicle is properly maintained.
  • Drivers should be fully trained and experienced in operating a 15-passenger van as the handling capabilities are different than a regular passenger car.
  • 15-passenger vans are very sensitive to loading so great care should be exercised to ensure the vehicle is not overloaded. Overloading increases rollover risk and makes the vehicle less stable in other handling situations.
  • Owners should ensure properly sized tires are being used on the vehicle and that the tires are properly inflated. Before each trip, the driver should check the tires for wear or other problems.
  • Because of the increased risk of rollovers with 15-passenger vans, it is even more critical for passengers to wear their seat belts to protect against ejection in a rollover.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a church bus or church van accident, we encourage you to seek legal help quickly.  Following any type of accident, critical evidence can be lost or destroyed, intentionally or unintentionally, if steps are not taken to properly preserve it.  We offer a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can understand your legal rights and options without incurring any expense.  Our award-winning attorneys handle all church bus and church van cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we win and we advance all case expenses such as filing fees, expert witness fees, deposition costs and more so that you are not out-of-pocket to pursue your legal rights.  To get started, give us a call at.  We are located in Middle Tennessee so that we can conveniently help accident victims across the State of Tennessee. 

Nashville: 615-669-3993

Murfreesboro: 615-867-9900

Brentwood: 615-742-4880

Toll-Free: 866-812-8787

Other Bus Accident Information:

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