Updated: Apr 22
What To Legally Do About Bus Accidents In California
Unfortunately, bus crashes and injuries are not as uncommon as you would imagine. For one thing, except on school buses, bus passengers are not required to wear seat belts. Furthermore, several bus passengers travel standing, with just a hanging strap to help them keep their balance. To make matters worse, buses are fitted with multiple metal poles that passengers can collide with if ejected from their seats or knocked off balance while standing. Passengers can also be injured if they collide with other passengers in such circumstances.
So, let's talk about the safety and legal aspects of a bus crash in California. We're going to go over the relevant aspects of California Personal Injury Laws and Los Angeles bus accident claims as they would be handled by a California Personal Injury Law Firm.
There have several bus types. In addition to city buses, charter buses are available to carry passengers to out-of-town tourist destinations and destination weddings and family reunions. Privately operated buses also transport members of various clubs, businesses, and religious groups on retreats or recreational outings.
That said, here are some possible scenarios in Los Angeles bus accident claims:
Accident on a School Bus
School buses can be statistically better than having a ride to school in a car for children. School bus incidents do happen, and when they do, the driver and the school district can be held accountable.
If the bus driver's negligence causes a school bus accident, the court can determine liability by whether the school operated the buses or hired another company to do so. If the school owned the bus, the school might be held responsible for the driver's negligence. If a private corporation owned the bus, the company might be held responsible for the driver's negligence.
An employer is vicariously responsible for damages incurred by a reckless employee behaving within the framework of his or her job under California's "respondeat superior" rules.
Since the employer is more likely to have the funds to pay for insurance, the injury survivor has a higher chance of receiving full compensation for the accident. By keeping the employer accountable, is also a way to help avoid similar incidents in the future.
Accident on a Tour Bus
There are many tour bus companies that run in California and across state lines. Local routes that visit tourist attractions or casinos and long-distance tour buses fall under this category. Many of these tour bus companies need drivers to adhere to strict time schedules, drive for long periods of time, and operate buses that aren't always in good working order.
The tour bus company can be held liable for damages if the driver is reckless. However, if the employer was incompetent in recruiting, preparing, or supervising the driver, the company or operator could be personally responsible for the driver's conduct. Failure to check the driver's background or credentials could result in the employer being held responsible for negligent hiring.
All drivers have a responsibility to others on the lane, but commercial drivers have a higher degree of responsibility. Commercial bus companies, including tour bus companies, are classified as "common carriers" in most cases.
A common carrier is a company that charges a fee to carry people or goods. Under California law, common carriers are kept to a higher level of protection. "A carrier of persons for reward must use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide anything appropriate for that purpose, and must exercise a fair degree of skill to that end," according to the California Civil Code.
The tour bus company could be in violation of their duties as a common carrier if they do not adequately repair the buses, inspect the vehicles for safety problems, or train and supervise drivers. If a bus crash occurs as a result of the safety violations, the bus operator may be held responsible for the damages.
If you or a loved one has been on a tour bus accident, you should consult with a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer ASAP. A bus accident attorney in Los Angeles will know how to collect evidence, file Los Angeles bus accident claims, and represent you in negotiations.
Accident on a Bus in Public Transportation
In most cases, charges against the government are made in public bus crash litigation. In California, public buses may be run by the city, county, state, or another regional authority. Suits brought against the government could be subject to different rules than those brought against private parties.