Public transit has become a popular method of transportation and many cities have increased the number of buses servicing their communities. As more buses hit the roadways, accident rates increase as well. Bus accident injuries cause unique legal problems for accident victims because buses are not insured like private motor vehicles. Victims can not just file a claim with an insurance company and expect all their bills to be paid. Because of this, when bus accidents occur it is important to seek the legal counsel from a savvy bus accident lawyer in California.
Bus Accident Causes and Common Injuries
Causes – Common causes for bus accidents are similar to causes of other motor vehicle crashes and include:
- Negligence – Negligence can be committed by bus drivers who may be operating the vehicle while drowsy or intoxicated, allowing distractions to take their mind of the road, or simply failing to follow traffic laws. The negligence of other drivers can also lead to collisions with a bus and injuries to its passengers.
- Hazardous Conditions – Road dangers are present on city, highway, residential, and country roads. When a bus collides with an object on the road, falls into a pothole, or loses traction on a gravel road, the bus can crash or tip over, causing severe injuries.
- Maintenance issues – Buses that are not properly maintained can break down or have important parts malfunction, often at the worst of times with catastrophic results. Brake failure or onboard fires can cause serious damage to the bus, its passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Common injuries – Buses are considered a “safe” method of transportation. They are high-profile vehicles operated by drivers who undergo specific training before becoming licensed to drive a bus. Unfortunately, when accidents do occur, passengers can sustain significant injuries because most buses are not equipped with seatbelts. On particularly full buses, some passengers are required to stand, exposing them to greater risk of serious damage if there is an accident or collision. Common injuries include:
- Bruises, cuts, and burns
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Trauma to the head, neck, or back
- Damage to the teeth or mouth
Injuries are not just limited to bus passengers. When a bus collides with a private motor vehicle, it can cause significant injuries to the driver and passengers of that vehicle. Pedestrians who are hit by a bus are often killed on impact.
Liability and Compensation
Liability – Liability in a bus accident is determined by several factors, specifically the cause of the accident. If the accident was caused by a negligent driver or poor maintenance, the bus company may be held liable. If the accident was caused by another driver, that driver would be considered “at-fault” and subject to litigation. If the accident was caused by hazardous road conditions, injured passengers may have the option to hold the city responsible for any damages.
Compensation – Unexpected medical bills can cripple accident victims. Medical bills combined with the inability to work can lead to financial anxiety and frustration. Additionally, individuals recovering from serious injuries have to cope with pain and suffering. Some victims experience permanent damage from their injuries leaving them with lifelong disabilities. In extreme cases, bus accidents can lead to the deaths of other drivers, pedestrians, and bus passengers. Surviving family members are left without the support of their loved ones.
With the mounting cost of medical care and the overall cost of living, accident victims depend on compensation for their injuries. Bus accident victims can expect to collect damages to pay for:
- All medical bills for past, present, and future treatment
- Living expenses to make up for lost wages
- Compensation for loss of earning potential
- Non-economic compensation for pain and suffering
In some cases, accident victims may also seek punitive damages to obtain justice and closure as well as financial compensation.
Do You Need a California Bus Accident Lawyer?
Bus accident victims experience hardship through no fault of their own. If you have been injured in a bus accident, please consult with the bus accident lawyer California residents depend on to protect their rights. At the San Francisco law offices of J. Chrisp, our team will aggressively fight for your rights. Please call our office at 1-877-JCHRISP or 877-524-7477 or contact us online today to schedule a free case evaluation with a skilled California bus accident lawyer.