What To Do After A Bus Accident
Find A Bus Accident Attorney for Injuries Sustained in A Crash
A bus crash can be frightening, and if you are seriously hurt, it can change your life. However, the legal procedure differs from that of a typical car accident. Your legal process can vary depending on whether the accident occurred on a private bus or public transportation. This is why you need a Personal Injury Attorney to claim damages you deserve.
It's normally big news when a bus is involved in an accident. The main explanation is that many passengers may be injured, and bus accidents are relatively rare. An estimated 5.3 percent of Californians use public transportation to get to work, amounting to more than 2 million people based on the state's population of over 39.5 million. Approximately 65.2 percent of this group commutes to work by bus. The remaining 34% of commuters use heavy, light, or commuter rail systems and other forms of public transportation.
In California, about one out of every eight students take the bus to school. This equates to about 700,000 students or about 12% of the total. In reality, California has the country's largest school mass transportation system. In the province, over 25,000 school buses transport approximately 3 million passengers per day. California school buses fly more than 334 million miles and provide over half a billion passenger trips in a year.
Taking the bus isn't just for commuting or going to school. Accidents are bound to happen because there are so many buses on the road each day, between commuters, school children, visitors, and other bus users. You might need a Personal Injury Attorney to help you through the fallout.
What Makes Bus Collisions So Dangerous?
In 2015, almost 900,000 buses operated 16.2 billion miles, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Association. During that time, 295 people died, and 24,000 people were injured in bus accidents. Bus accidents are far more costly than car accidents, despite the fact that car accidents are more common. What makes bus collisions so hazardous? The magnitude of these collisions is influenced by a number of factors:
Dimensions. Buses are huge, multi-ton vehicles that outweigh most passenger vehicles. Since their mass may combine with momentum to produce catastrophic results in a collision, injuries from this form of accident are often serious.
Aesthetics. While cars and trucks have seat belts to protect passengers in the event of a crash, many buses are built to carry people who are standing or sitting in seats that do not have seat belts. When things go wrong, bus riders are more vulnerable to serious injury due to the lack of discipline.
The form is essential. Buses are big, boxy automobiles. Their shape gives passengers more space, but it also makes the vehicle top-heavy. This increases the likelihood of a bus rolling over in the event of a collision, and rollover accidents increase the risk of serious injury, particularly if the passengers are not restrained.
Injuries Caused by Bus Accidents
The bus driver, passengers on the bus, pedestrians, and passengers in other vehicles involved in the crash, can all be injured in a bus accident. People who are boarding or disembarking from the bus are also in danger. Bus accident victims may suffer from injuries such as the ones mentioned below:
Injuries to the head and brain
Injury to the neck and spine
Broken bones, sprains, and strains are all common injuries
Amputations are a form of amputation
Lacerations, contusions, and abrasions are all common injuries
Dental injuries and cosmetic disfigurements
Bus crashes in California come in a variety of shapes and sizes
The majority of buses fall into one of the following categories:
Public transportation is available (commuting)
Lines of private buses
Buses for students
Shuttle service from the airport or from the hotel
Private charter buses are available for hire
Buses for tourists
Any bus collisions occur when the bus collides with stationary objects or other vehicles. People may also be injured when boarding or exiting the bus or by another driver who fails to notice that the bus is stopped.
While bus accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, the following are the most common ones:
Bus drivers must drive with extreme caution to ensure the safety of all passengers, but sadly, many do not. Accidents are often caused by careless driving, such as speeding, failing to pay attention to traffic signals, or cutting off other cars.
Driving While Distracted or Drunk
A bus driver should never drive while inebriated or distracted by a mobile phone or other electronic devices. Driving while inebriated or distracted is particularly dangerous and increases the chances of a crash.
While there are rules in place to discourage bus companies from overscheduling bus drivers, many companies do not follow them. As a result, drivers are often tired and unable to focus on the lane.
The Bus's Condition
Bus companies must maintain comprehensive maintenance records to demonstrate that they inspect and repair their buses on a regular basis. However, some businesses prefer to forego or postpone these inspections. This is a dangerous decision that often results in bus crashes due to inadequate maintenance.
Laws to curb bus accidents
The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act, passed by Congress in 2012, mandates that new buses have enhanced safety features such as seat belts and harnesses, strengthened windows, crush-resistant roofs, improved driver training, and flame-resistant bus interiors.
This federal legislation was enacted in the aftermath of an Atlanta bus accident that claimed the lives of many members of an Ohio university baseball team.
Accidents involving school buses
The possibility of a school bus accident is definitely one of the scariest things you can imagine if you're a parent who puts your child on a school bus every morning.
School buses, on the other hand, remain one of the safest modes of transportation. Since school buses are designed for compartmentalization, they are safer than cars or other buses. The "protective envelope provided by solid, closely-spaced seats with energy-absorbing high seat backs that shield occupants in the event of a crash" is known as compartmentalization.
Currently, each passenger on a school bus must wear a lap belt, although the Department of Transportation is proposing a plan that would include lap and shoulder belts for passengers aged 6 to adult.
Liability for bus accidents in California
A bus crash is treated similarly to any other personal injury lawsuit in California. You would make a lawsuit against the driver's insurer if you were a bus passenger involved in an accident caused by another driver. You would make a workers' compensation lawsuit with your employer if you were a bus driver who was killed by another driver.
But what if the accident was caused by the bus driver?
If that's the case, things get a bit more complicated. First and foremost, it is determined by who owns and operates the bus.
Private or charter bus: Whether the bus is privately owned (or owned by a bus company), specific types of insurance are needed. You may have a lawsuit against the driver, the corporation, or anyone else entirely (like the bus manufacturer if the accident was the result of an equipment failure).
A city bus, which is most definitely what you ride if you commute, is a government-owned bus. A school district is both a government and a non-profit organization.
According to the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), an injured individual must notify the liable party of their lawsuit within six months. The organization has the option of accepting or rejecting the allegation. If your evidence is denied, you have the option of filing a lawsuit.
The CTCA allows you to file a claim for:
Employees' irresponsible behavior (which could include the bus driver)
Independent contractors' irresponsible actions (which could also include the bus driver)
Liability for a hazardous situation on government land on the premises
Damages are incurred as a result of a public entity's failure to fulfill a legal obligation.
In-car accident situations, proving who should be held liable for any injuries sustained as a result of the crash is relatively straightforward. Bus crashes, on the other hand, are a little more difficult because there are more people involved. You will be able to keep the following parties accountable for your injuries:
The incompetence of the driver is to blame for many incidents. If a driver causes an accident due to a mistake, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, or being distracted behind the wheel, he may be held responsible.
Bus crashes are mostly blamed on the corporation that owns and operates the bus. Inspection and maintenance of a bus fleet are the responsibility of the bus company. They're still in charge of recruiting qualified bus drivers and ensuring that they're well educated before taking the wheel. The bus company will be held responsible for your injury if they fail to meet any of these obligations.
Companies that make products
If the accident was caused by a faulty component of the bus, the manufacturer could be held liable.
Districts of Education
If a school bus was involved in the crash, the school district could be found responsible. It is the duty of the school district to recruit qualified drivers, train them appropriately, and implement policies that keep everyone on board safe. In the case of an accident, they will be held responsible if it can be proved that they failed to do so.
A government body, such as a city or county, can own and operate some buses. If you were injured in a bus crash caused by a reckless bus driver, the government could be responsible for the injuries.
It's possible that more than one of these groups is to blame for the accident. However, proving responsibility in a bus crash can be challenging, which is why you should always hire an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to handle your case.
Defective Products & Maintenance Issues
Bus accidents are often caused by a lack of proper maintenance and parts that are defectively built or manufactured. Those who design or produce bus parts often try to save money by cutting corners or making mistakes. Safety checks that are not performed or are carried out incorrectly low-cost substandard components, and other cost-cutting measures may all have contributed to your crash.
As cost-cutting leads to brake problems, worn tires, a shaky steering wheel, or other maintenance issues, all passengers are put at risk. Victims who have been injured must be compensated by those who are liable. Furthermore, bringing their incompetence to light will help alleviate future pain and suffering.
Hazardous Road Conditions Cause Bus Accidents
Due to the heavy volume of traffic on California roads, the likelihood of a bus crash on our city streets, highways, and freeways is high. When this is combined with carelessness in the design or maintenance of our public roads, otherwise safe buses can become dangerous. The size and weight of the bus, as well as its inability to stop quickly or steer away from obstacles, pedestrians, and other vehicles, can exacerbate a dangerous situation.
The California Department of Transportation, as well as other government agencies, are responsible for maintaining the safety of our highways. Failure to fulfill this obligation may have disastrous consequences, such as serious injury and wrongful death. Unfortunately, there are times where law enforcement blamed a bus driver's fault or negligence as the primary cause of an accident when the road conditions were to blame.
Unsafe construction zones, road defects such as improperly resurfaced lanes or potholes, and steep shoulder drop-offs are among the areas to be investigated. Dangerous intersections, poorly visible signs, inadequate lighting for nighttime driving, badly maintained or missing guardrails, unmarked dips and curves, and a variety of other factors may all contribute to a severe bus crash.
Bus Driver Error, Distraction, and Negligence
According to a report from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration, bus driver error and negligence are the leading causes of bus accidents. Innocent people are injured due to driver fatigue, drug or alcohol use, speeding, inattention, texting while driving, bad judgment, and a lack of preparation.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents on our roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Texting while driving is one of the most distracting activities a driver can engage in. Despite the fact that texting and driving are illegal in our state, it is still a leading cause of accidents.
When determining liability, there are a variety of factors to consider.
A crucial element of any argument in determining who was negligent and proving the claim with proof. However, there are many factors that contribute to the complexity of bus incidents.
Consider the following factors in a bus crash case:
Federal training regulations: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates all buses. This organization's mission is to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities. There are rules governing the training of bus drivers who transport passengers, and they must have a commercial driver's license with a "passenger" certification.
Federal health regulations require a bus driver to have a valid medical certificate indicating that they are fit to operate a vehicle transporting passengers, as well as to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. If a bus company violates these regulations and innocent people are injured, the injured can bring a lawsuit against the bus company.
Laws governing bus maintenance: There are also state and federal regulations governing vehicle maintenance, inspections, and other issues that may be relevant when making a lawsuit. In certain situations, one company might be using leased equipment from another, and the vehicle's maintenance may have been delegated to subcontractors.
What to Do If An Accident Occurs
If there are any accidents, dial 911.
Call the cops. Police officers can be called to an accident scene in certain places. They can take into account factors such as the accident's severity and location (some police authorities will not come to the scene if the accident is on private property). However, you should make an effort to contact the authorities. If the accident is a hit-and-run, you should be mindful that most laws require you to notify the police within a certain time frame.
Obtain all drivers' names, addresses, phone numbers, and driver's license numbers.
Obtain the license plate(s) and VIN (vehicle identification number) of the vehicle. To make sure the information is right, ask to see your driver's license and vehicle registration.
Get the names, emails, and phone numbers of any other passengers or witnesses.
Take pictures of the destruction and the accident scene if you have a camera or a cellphone (traffic controls, visual obstacles).
If the owner of a damaged car or property cannot be traced, leave a note with the driver's and owner's names and addresses.
Notify the agent and/or insurance provider as soon as possible.
You must report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days if someone is injured or the vehicle damage exceeds $750.00. Failure to notify the DMV can result in your driver's license being suspended.
After I file a claim with my insurance provider, what happens next?
Your insurance provider will contact you for more details about the loss and can request a written or recorded statement from you. An oath test may be required in some cases. Other drivers and witnesses could be questioned as part of the inquiry. You must have proof of your loss if you have medical payments or an uninsured motorist lawsuit (injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.).
If the insurance provider does not contact me, what do I do?
After you announce the loss, a claim representative can contact you within a fair amount of time. However, the insurance provider can take up to 15 days to contact you under such circumstances. If you haven't heard from someone, contact your agent or insurance firm. Contact the Department of Insurance if they are not receptive or if you feel there is an unnecessary delay in settling your claim.
What criteria does the insurance firm use to assess vehicle damage?
The vehicle damage is normally inspected by a trained adjuster or appraiser. Based on the initial inspection, the adjuster or appraiser then writes an assessment. If additional damage is discovered during the repair process, the shop will notify the insurer for authorization to cover the additional repair costs. Keep in mind that the insurer will dispatch an adjuster to assess the additional damages. If the damage is minimal, the company can request that you send competitive repair estimates instead. Remember, if you're pleased with the final estimate and repair facility, it's your duty to sign and approve the shop to repair your car.
In California, how do you file a notice of claim?
A demand letter is equivalent to a notice of claim. The following items must be included in your claim notice:
Your full name and postal address
The address to which you would like mail to be delivered
The accident's date, place, and other circumstances
A general description of the harm, loss, or injury
The name of the government employee (or employees) who injured you.
If the total amount claimed is less than $10,000 at the time the notice of claim is presented, the amount claimed. In addition to damages already incurred, it must provide an estimate for any expected injury, harm, or loss. Do not give a dollar figure if the demand is for more than $10,000.
It would be necessary to specify whether the allegation would be a limited civil case in the claim. (A restricted tort case is one in which the plaintiff seeks more than $10,000 but less than $25,000 in damages and satisfies other requirements.)
You can forfeit your right to file a claim if you fail to provide all of the relevant details in your notice of claim.
There are some exceptions, such as whether the applicant died, was under the age of 18 for the 6-month duration, or suffered from mental or physical incapacity.
The government agency has 45 days to reply after you file your petition. The department has the ability to:
Accept or deny the argument, or propose a settlement compromise.
Indicate that there isn't enough detail in the argument. You'd then have a certain amount of time to amend the allegation.
If the claim was not filed during the 6-month period, it would be returned.
The argument is denied if the government agency does not respond within 45 days.
If your appeal is denied, you have six months to file a complaint with the court. If the denial was due to a government agency's failure to act, you have two years to file a lawsuit. You have 30 days after the court approves your motion to file a complaint.
Liability of a private or charter bus
If you're a passenger or the driver of another car in an accident with a private or charter bus, you'll want to know who owns the bus and who was responsible for its service.
If the accident was caused by equipment failure, you might file a lawsuit against the bus company's owner or operator, possibly the driver, or even the bus manufacturer.
Private and charter buses are controlled and supervised by the California Public Utilities Commission (in other words, for-hire passenger carriers). If the laws and regulations were followed, and if negligence was a factor, a California Bus Accident Lawyer may assist in determining liability.
What is the time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
State law governs wrongful death lawsuits. As a result, each state has its own statute of limitations governing the amount of time a personal representative has to file. It is best to consult a Personal Injury Attorney in your state to determine how much time you have.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Since California is a fault state, you have the right to seek coverage from the responsible party's insurance policy if you are involved in a car accident. This is valid if you're a passenger in a car that struck the bus, a pedestrian, or involved in some other kind of accident.
The circumstances of the accident, and the proportion of blame assigned to you, will influence the amount of money available to you in a personal injury lawsuit. You may, however, seek compensation for real accident-related losses, such as:
Pain and suffering
Damages to property
Wages that have been lost
Loss of earning potential
All personal injury injuries in California, including bus accidents, have a strict two-year statute of limitations. After this time span has passed, you will lose your legal right to seek compensation for any losses incurred as a result of the incident. Be diligent in the pursuit of fair compensation by retaining competent legal counsel as soon as possible following the bus crash.
In a personal injury lawsuit, California is one of the states that allow for pain and suffering damages. However, there are certain limitations, harm limits, and other factors to remember. Learn for damages for pain and injury and other non-economic cases in California. Your Personal Injury Attorney can help you find more grounds for monetary claims after looking through your case.
Working with pain and discomfort can be more difficult than enduring medical procedures and surgeries. You're not alone if you've been in a traumatic accident or suffered an injury that left you with mental as well as physical scars. Internal pain is important, and you can collect damages for it—but it's sometimes difficult to put a price on it.
Damages caused by economic vs. non-economic factors
To begin, you should be aware that in a personal injury case in California, there are two types of damages that can be awarded.
Damages that can be measured based on real costs are known as economic damages. In other words, any expenses you incurred as a result of your injuries will be covered by your economic damages. This contains the following:
Treatments of medicine
Hospitalizations and doctor's appointments
Medications on prescription
Medical equipment and assistive technology (like prosthetics, wheelchairs, home modifications, etc.)
Rehabilitative and other treatments are also being used
Repair or replacement of the property
Economic losses also include lost earnings, such as the money you would have earned if you hadn't been injured and couldn't work. It also takes into account projected earnings. All of this is taken into account if you are unable to return to work or if you will return in a diminished capacity that does not pay as well as it would have if the accident had not occurred. Your Bus Accident Lawyer and financial experts will calculate how much you will have earned over the course of your life and decide how much you owe.
Also, keep in mind that not all personal injuries are caused by car crashes or slip-and-fall accidents. Other causes of action, such as libel and defamation, contract disputes, or real estate disputes, will result in economic damages even though you are not physically harmed. It's an economic injury if you've been defamed, and it's cost you your business or livelihood.
What is the value of my pain and suffering?
There is no fixed formula for measuring pain and suffering in California. The plaintiff must show that they have suffered or may suffer potential harm in order to recover damages for pain and suffering (including emotional illness and other economic damages).
There are several considerations that go into deciding whether or not pain and suffering damages should be included in a personal injury settlement or award. They are as follows:
The size of the plaintiff's financial damages
The degree to which the physical damage was serious
The defendant's actions' motive or recklessness
The persuasiveness of the proof
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are more likely to be awarded if there is a physical injury as well as:
Disfigurement or loss of function that is permanent
Injuries that can be objectively assessed or confirmed using X-rays, lab tests, or other diagnostic resources
A long-term recovery that has taken or is expected to take a long time
Making a case for pain and suffering
Although it is not compulsory by law in California to have reported mental health problems in order to claim pain and distress awards, the case is more likely to result in an injury award if you have been diagnosed with:
Depression is a mental illness that affects
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Symptoms of a psychiatric or emotional disorder that aren't mentioned above
If you're thinking of filing a case for pain and suffering, there are a few things you should think about before proceeding. All of the proof will be evaluated by your counsel, including:
Medical history, with notes from physicians and therapists
Photographs of property harm or bodily injury that are relevant
Videos or pictures that show the plaintiff's actions before and after the accident are helpful
Posts on social media or other forms of digital communication
Friends and family members' sworn testimony
Testimony or documents from the plaintiff's place of business that show some wrongdoing
Before and after the accident, there are differences in the individual
Expert testimony on missing earning potential
What is the definition of a wrongful death case?
There are civil cases initiated by the remaining family members of a decedent who died too soon as a result of another's negligence. These irresponsible acts are the case's foundation. Furthermore, these acts are intended to reimburse the family's living members, not the decedent. The decedent's pain and suffering are considered by the courts, but they are just one aspect of the scene.
Wrongful death is a legal suit brought by the family of someone who died too soon as a result of someone else's negligence.
In this region, there are two types of cases: wrongful death and survival behavior.
Wrongful death lawsuits are intended to compensate claimants for losses such as mental, financial, and other assistance they have been providing to the family.
Survival actions, on the other hand, compensate the claimant for damages sustained as a result of the defendant's actions. Between the time of the accident and the time of death, which covers pain and discomfort, hospital costs, and other damages.
These monetary damages are charged to the estate, which is then distributed to the beneficiaries (i.e., the survivors). Before a civil suit may be made, the family must select a personal representative to represent the decedent's estate in probate court. On behalf of the family, the person will file a civil suit.
Just a few individuals are allowed to file claims:
The personal representative "is" the decedent and represents the estate's best interests. They will file a wrongful death lawsuit after they have been given permission. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in a variety of situations, including car crashes, personal injuries, medical malpractice, drunk driving accidents, and even murder.
The presumption of proof in a wrongful death case is "preponderance of the evidence," which is an interesting feature. This indicates that the plaintiff must show that the defendant was, more than likely, incompetent in his conduct. This is considerably less than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of evidence in criminal court. This favors the plaintiff and can result in a civil court victory – but a criminal court defeat for the same case with the same evidence.
In a wrongful death case, who should be sued?
Except for those who have immunity due to their status within government departments, almost everyone can be sued for wrongful death. This varies by state and should be reviewed before filing a lawsuit.
Any person or corporation may be sued for wrongful death if this does not happen. Here are a couple of examples:
A doctor who conducted a botched procedure and the hospital where he works
The driver who runs over your family member and the business where he works
On-ramp driver who struck a member of your family
The creator of a product that didn't come with enough warnings
The manufacturer of the hazardous substance that exploded in your grandfather's face, as well as everyone else involved in the distribution chain
If the decedent had been alive, the estate representative would have had to show the same elements of neglect that the decedent would have had to prove if he or she had been alive
This means that the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care, that the duty was violated, that the violation caused the plaintiff's death, and that the breach caused damages.
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