When bus drivers and bus companies do not use the highest level of care and diligence to protect their passengers, accidents can and do happen. Because California offers tourists a countless number of things to see and do, there are all types of buses on our roadways each and every day including charter buses, minibuses, limo buses and double decker buses. When you step on board a bus, you expect to arrive at your destination safely. Unfortunately, many buses in California are involved in serious accidents that injure and kill passengers and pedestrians.
An injury that occurs when a person is using bus transportation may entitle that individual and/or his or her dependents and family members to compensation. If you have been injured in a bus accident, you should seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney who will help you to determine whether you have a valid claim for your injuries and if so, how to maximize your recovery from the responsible parties.
What Causes California Bus Accidents
Just like with any type of motor vehicle, buses are involved in many roadway accidents each year. There are some common causes of California bus accidents which include:
Driver failing to see other vehicles on the road – One of the leading causes of bus accidents is the failure on the part of bus drivers to see other vehicles on the road. Buses are large and bulky which means there are many blind spots that make it difficult for the driver to see everything around him or her. For example, a bus driver can very easily cause an accident by failing to see other vehicles approaching from behind while merging into traffic.
Driver failing to follow rules of the road – California is one of the states with the highest number of traffic rules. In spite of all these rules, many motor vehicle operators including bus drivers fail to follow the rules of the road. When a bus driver breaks a traffic rule, there is a good likelihood that he/she will cause or be involved in some type of roadway collision.
Driver exhaustion – Driver fatigue is a leading cause of bus accidents in our state. Because bus drivers have to adhere to demanding schedules they tend to become exhausted while working. Whenever a person behind the wheel of a vehicle is very tired, that person’s driving skills and reaction times are greatly affected which significantly increases the chances of becoming involved in an accident of some type.
Driver under the influence of alcohol – Even though driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law and something that is socially frowned upon, some bus drivers still choose to drink and drive. An intoxicated driver is very likely to cause an accident as his or her mental and motor skills are greatly affected.
Poorly maintained buses – Some bus companies neglect to properly maintain their buses. When a bus is not maintained as it should be, it is very prone to causing an accident. Even though federal and state laws require bus companies to regularly evaluate and repair their vehicles, many fail to do so.
Mechanical faults – Many bus accidents are caused by mechanical faults which often involve the brakes, tires, suspension, steering mechanisms and lighting. When a mechanical failure leads to a bus accident, often times negligence is involved. Anyone involved in the design or maintenance of the bus could be held liable for negligence.
Unsafe road conditions – Potholes, unmarked curves, poorly maintained roads, inadequate roadway lighting and construction zones which are not marked correctly can all lead to bus accidents.
Poorly designed roads – Roads with sharp curves, numerous merging lanes and other potentially dangerous features can make bus accidents more likely to occur. When a bus accident happens because of a poorly designed road, victims of the accident may be able to file lawsuits against government entities.
Common Injuries Sustained in Bus Accidents
Victims of bus accidents often sustain very serious injuries which require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Among the most common of these injuries include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured bones
- Facial lacerations
- Neck injuries
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Protecting Your Rights after a Bus Accident
When injured in a bus accident, the first and most obvious thing to do is to receive prompt medical attention. Insist on a full medical evaluation of your injuries and obtain copies of all medical treatment you received. It is important that you file reports with the appropriate local law enforcement agencies such as the city police, sheriff’s department or highway patrol.
It can prove very helpful to your case to obtain detailed information from everyone involved. If possible, take photographs of the accident site and of any injuries sustained by you and other victims. You should then speak to an experienced California bus accident attorney as soon as possible. Never sign any documents related to the accident until you speak to your lawyer as doing so could jeopardize your case.
Recoverable Compensation in Bus Accidents
Depending upon the nature of your injuries, your California bus accident attorney may advise you to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses – past, present and future
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning power
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Who May be Held Responsible for Your Injuries
Because there are many ways a bus crash can happen, who can be held responsible for your injuries depends upon the circumstances of the accident you were involved in. Your attorney may find that one or more people or entities are responsible for your injuries which may include:
The bus company – The bus company is responsible for ensuring that its vehicles, drivers and operations are of the highest level of quality and safety. The bus company could be liable for your injuries if it was found that it acted negligently wherein the safety of its passengers were put at risk.
The bus driver – The bus driver may be held liable for your injuries if he or she acted negligently to cause the accident you were involved in.
Maintenance provider – The company responsible for maintaining the bus could held liable if it is found that something critical was overlooked to compromise the safety of the passengers as well as other drivers on the road.
Bus or parts manufacturer – If the accident was caused by a defective part such as brakes, tires, electrical wiring, etc., the company that manufactured the part could be held liable.
Other drivers – Some bus accidents are the result of other drivers’ negligence. For instance, if another driver neglected to obey a stop light wherein he/she blew through the light and collided with the bus, that driver could be held legally responsible for the accident.
The San Francisco bus accident attorneys at Hogan Injury can help you recover compensation for the injuries you suffered. We have seen how serious injuries can impact a person’s quality of life. While there is no way to fully compensate you for how your life has changed, recovering financial compensation that will help you get on with your life is an important aspect of the healing process.
We will work hard on your behalf, gathering evidence and uncovering the facts surrounding the accident while you concentrate on getting better. Avoid entering into any discussions with insurance company adjusters who will urge you to agree to a settlement. Insurance companies are only interested in their bottom line which is saving money. Call us today for your no-fee consultation so we can begin the process of building a strong case for you.