Traffic incidents can be difficult enough, but when you have trusted your safety to another and then your health is compromised due to negligence or incompetence, it can be devastating.
Many people depend on public transportation to get them to and from work, errands, and personal activities. Especially in cities, where driving and parking can be incredibly difficult, public transportation plays a vital role in the lives of many. Getting on a bus for your daily commute should be an experience that leaves you feeling safe, but if you find yourself on the receiving end of an injury while using public transportation, then you are likely entitled to legal action.
Bus accidents frequently involve city and state employees, which means these cases quickly become a municipal or government agency lawsuit. This poses a unique set of challenges that an expert attorney is best equipped to handle.
Buses transporting daily commuters are common in bustling cities. Bus transportation has become increasingly popular as cities become more and more populated and passengers seek a cost-effective option to get to and from work, while trying to be environmentally conscious. With more people commuting each day and increases in the number of buses and bus schedules, the chances of having a bus collision start to increase.Common Bus Accident Injuries
All traffic poses some risk and given that buses are also more physically imposing than other cars on the road, their weight and force are critical factors in an accident.
Given the higher stance of a bus, it is also vulnerable to rollover accidents. Also, most buses do not provide the same standard of protection as cars, such as requiring and providing seat belts and airbags.Potential Liable Parties in a Bus Accident
- Drivers Involved: If the driver is found to be intoxicated or negligent while driving, the driver may be sued.
- Manufacturers: This pertains to the manufacturer of the bus. If the accident was due to damaged equipment or parts on the vehicle, you might be able to sue the manufacturer and/or the manufacturer of the part or equipment that was faulty.
- Government: If the infrastructure of highways or conditions of a road caused the accident then you might be able to pursue a lawsuit against whatever government authority was responsible for preserving that roadway. However, suing the government is no easy task. Also, since many drivers work for the city, if the city denied the driver’s request to rest or was pressured to work unreasonably long shifts, the city agency may be responsible.
To help further pinpoint liability for the bus accident, additional investigation may be necessary.
Contributing factors may be:
- Drivers working without adequate rest
- Drivers not adequately screened or trained to perform bus driver duties
- Drivers who are under the influence of any substance
- Bus far exceeded the weight and load limit
- The bus was not properly inspected or maintained
It is highly recommended you consult a licensed attorney for this, especially in California, with its specific criteria. It will take relentless, knowledgeable attorneys to take on a lawsuit like this.
Be prepared to gather the following items:
- A statement of the claimant's request for reparations for injuries and/or property damage caused by the government agency or government employee.
- An excellent timeline of the events including time, place, account of the accident details, and witnesses, if available.
- Description of injuries and losses, such as property damages.
Unique to the state of California, the California Tort Claims Act states that prior to filing an injury lawsuit against the state, the injured party must provide written notice of the claim to the government agency that is considered liable for the accident. This has to be done within six months of the date of the accident. From there, the government has the right to review, accept, or reject such a claim. Should the government dismiss the complaint or any part of the complaint, the injured party may then proceed with a lawsuit. This is where an expert attorney can advise you on the correct procedure and make sure your claim does not get thrown out due to a technicality.
Without proper legal representation, you may be on the hook for fees you never even considered. These fees can be any of the following:
- Future medical procedures.
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication costs
- Property damage
- Ambulance fees
- Doctor fees
- Loss of relationships and marriage (consortium.)
- Lost wages and related expenses
California Civil Code Section 2100 outlines the legal requirements of commercial transportation vehicles. Under this legal code responsibility is placed heavily on bus drivers and common carriers for the safety of their passengers. Because of this, the degree to which one needs to show negligence in these cases is very low. However, this standard for degree of negligence is only in place for the passengers on these commercial, public vehicles. In accidents of buses with other vehicles, the requirements are for reasonable care instead of utmost care.Important Things to Consider
- Type of Bus Accidents: Many variables affect exactly what kind of bus accident case you may have. Whether a local tour bus or a national transportation company, the exact legal principles vary slightly between cases.
- Legal liability: Assessing liability requires an in-depth analysis that looks at factors like bus maintenance and driver’s records.
- Independent Counsel: when multiple victims bring forth injury claims in the aftermath of a bus accident, it is most likely that each person will need their own independent counsel. The reason that each injured party might need their own lawyer is because there is the potential for conflict among the various cases being brought forth, so it is in the best interest of each party to have independent representation.
In California, tort laws are an important part of bus accident legislation. This legislation means that a theory of negligence must be used for a claim. So, the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity can be proved as having caused the victim’s injuries. In order to do this, there are four elements that must be shown to have been evident: the injured party had a right to expect care from the negligent or careless person or entity, due to the actions – or lack thereof – the injuries were incurred, the same actions or lack of actions caused the resulting accident, and the accident was the direct cause of the victim’s injuries.
There is also a legal principle called ‘vicarious liability.’ Vicarious liability means that the employer of the bus driver responsible for an accident is equally as liable as the driver for the resulting damages.Bus Accident Case Trends in Los Angeles
In the Los Angeles area lawsuits have been brought for bus accidents that resulted in injury and death. One such case, in 2016, consisted of a lawsuit filed against a charter bus company for the deaths of two passengers. The deaths occurred in the aftermath of a collision with another vehicle and the driver was accused of negligent driving, which led to the circumstances of the crash. The crash resulted in multiple deaths and injuries, including the driver of the bus. Such incidents bring to light the necessity for holding responsible parties accountable when things go tragically wrong.Frequently Asked Questions
What Actions Should I Take After a Bus Accident?
Immediately following a bus accident you should seek medical attention. Keep detailed records of the event and all subsequent care following the accident. Then, retain proper legal representation to discuss your case possibilities.
What Constitutes a Bus Accident?
Bus accidents are not limited to just catastrophic collisions. Other incidents that can result in legal action include: driver negligence, driver error, slippery floors, assaults that occur on the bus from other passengers, and malfunctioning or improperly maintained equipment such as doors.
What is Meant by the Term ‘Common Carriers?’
Common carriers are defined in Section 2100 of the California Civil Code as: “A carrier of persons for reward must use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything necessary for that purpose, and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill.”We can Help You
At Bridgewater Law Group, we advocate for our clients to get the best settlement possible and we know how to go up against big government agencies. Let our attorneys advocate for your case. We know when a fair settlement is on the table and when there is more to be won. We will fight for the best settlement possible.No Fee Unless We Win
Your win is our win, and we will not settle for anything else. We will work on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to you. Give us a call today for a free 30 minute consultation. We care about getting justice for you.