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What To Know About Bus Accidents In California?

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Were you in a bus crash in California? Learn what to do after a bus accident and how will you file a personal injury claim

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.

Many forms of lawsuits are protected from state governments by the concept of "sovereign immunity." California, on the other hand, has waived sovereign immunity in several cases of employee negligence. 8 Injury victims may make a lawsuit against the state or municipal authority that runs the bus line if a reckless public bus driver causes an accident.

In California, most personal injury lawsuits have a two-year "statute of limitations." This applies to how long a plaintiff has to file a complaint. The plaintiff will not be entitled to recover damages if they do not bring a complaint under the statute of limitations.

Other notice deadlines apply to lawsuits against the government, which the accident claimant must meet. In most cases, you must file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit with the government within six months of the accident. If the victim does not file a lawsuit within six months, he or she will forfeit the right to compensation.

That's why it's important to contact a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles after you get into an accident. They'd know how to navigate California Personal Injury Laws and will be able to help you file claims and get the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of a Bus Accident

Though a bus accident can be caused by bad weather or the unexpected presence of an animal on the road, the majority of bus accidents are caused by human error.

It's possible that the bus driver is to blame for:

  1. Texting, talking, GPS navigation, eating, or drinking while driving are all examples of distractions.

  2. Speeding or reckless driving is even riskier because of the bus's size and ability to become unbalanced, particularly around curves.

  3. Working long hours and the monotony of driving will cause you to drive when tired.

  4. Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal.

The bus company may be mainly responsible for:

  • Failure to properly vet or train the driver

  • Failure to maintain the bus mechanically

  • Putting too much pressure on the driver to adhere to a tight schedule

  • Not giving the driver enough time to rest

As previously stated, your accidents may be the fault of another driver or a road maintenance agency. It's also conceivable that the bus had a manufacturing flaw, such as defective brakes, where the bus manufacturer would be held responsible. You can trust an experienced bus accident attorney in Los Angeles to figure out who is to blame.

Types of Bus Accidents

Although a bus crash is an unavoidable occurrence, there are some commonalities among them. Dangerous behaviors such as driving while distracted, driving too fast for the conditions, and driving while intoxicated continue to place bus riders and fellow travelers at risk of serious injuries. The following are some of the most common forms of bus accidents:

  • Accidents involving rollovers

  • T-bone collisions

  • Collisions that occur head-on

  • Collisions with the rear of the car

  • Accidents involving sideswipes

It's important to remember that negligence can occur not only when the bus is being operated but also due to poor vehicle maintenance. The bus company's failure to check the brakes, tires, and other bus components on a regular basis is negligence. If a bus accident happens as a result of a maintenance problem, you have the legal right to seek compensation for all accident-related damages as the injured person.

Who is to blame for bus crash accidents?

The passenger is not at fault, even in the most extreme of situations. Buses are classified as "common carriers" under California law, and as such, owe a special duty of care to those they transport. This means that if the crash was caused by a bus driver's fault or improper vehicle maintenance, the bus operator is liable for any personal injuries or property harm.

Of course, there will be times when another driver is to blame for a crash. There are also instances where the city, county, or state may be sued for negligence if the accident was caused by road damage or debris that the contractors or builder should have removed. Bus accident lawyers are skilled negotiators as well as experienced litigators and are often able to obtain settlements without having to go to trial.

Who Else Can You Sue for a Bus Crash?

Depending on the type of bus accident and the cause of the accident, the persons or groups responsible for the accident can vary. The liable parties are referred to as "defendants" in a personal injury case by the injured party (plaintiff). Defendants in bus incidents can include:

  1. The driver of a bus

  2. Supervisor of bus drivers

  3. Owner of a bus

  4. The operator of tour buses

  5. The bus driver for a school

  6. The operator of charter buses

  7. Drivers of other vehicles

  8. Company or group that maintains buses

  9. If it's a city, county, or state department,

  10. Owner of a bus stop

  11. Manufacturer of buses

  12. Manufacturer of bus parts

Multiple defendants can share blame for causing the accident in some cases. Even if the injury survivor was partially to blame for the accident, he or she could still be entitled to compensation. The plaintiff will recover damages under California's "comparative fault" statute, even if he or she is partly to blame for the accident. The damages are limited, however, depending on the plaintiff's percentage of the blame.

The plaintiff in most bus accident personal injury cases will seek damages by demonstrating that the defendant's negligence caused the accident. Negligence has the following components:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the complainant.

  • The defendant's duty of responsibility was violated.

  • The plaintiff's injuries were caused in large part by the defendant's violation.

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If the plaintiff can prove that the defendant was responsible, the defendant can be found liable for the accident and may reimburse the plaintiff.

It's worth remembering that in California, getting behind the wheel for so many hours in a day is a misdemeanor under Vehicle 21702. Under California's negligence per se rules, a drowsy bus driver who exceeds the Vehicle Code 21702 cap and causes an accident can be held responsible.

When a Bus Crash Leads to Catastrophic Injuries?

Passengers have been known to suffer serious injuries and even death as a result of bus crashes. If you're a passenger on a bus that crashes into a cliff or collides with another large vehicle or a pedestrian who manages to cross the street just in time, bus-related accidents are fairly common and frightening. Many schools and tour buses also lack seat belts, and the large space inside a bus causes passengers to be thrown around and seriously injured in a bus accident. Since colliding with each other, buses have been known to catch fire.

Catastrophic Injuries, unlike the general concept of personal injury, are directly crippling. Victims are unable to work due to the severity of their injuries, which has a detrimental effect on any aspect of their lives, on top of having to cope with huge medical bills.

A traumatic accident will alter the victim's life as well as the lives of those around them forever. It has the potential to cause chronic pain and long-term illnesses, lowering a person's quality of life. Also, basic daily activities can become difficult when you have permanent impediments as a result of a serious injury.

Common Catastrophic Injuries

A catastrophic injury is described differently in each state, but it typically refers to a personal injury that results in one or more of the following:

  1. Issues with your health (long-term or lasts a long time)

  2. Your average life expectancy is decreased

  3. Physical and mental impairment that is permanent

  4. It is unlikely for you to return to pre-injury status/situation in life

A catastrophic injury differs from a typical personal injury in terms of the nature and degree of harm. A traumatic accident is one that causes you to change your life permanently as a result of the incident. If your condition falls into this category, a California Personal Injury Attorney will help you file a claim for further compensation.

The following are a few examples of traumatic injuries:

  • Disfigurement

  • Internal organ damage

  • Serious burns

  • Injuries to the spinal cord that make it difficult to move (leading to full or partial paralysis)

  • Amputations that leave a person disabled for the rest of their life

  • Traumatic brain injury

These injuries can result in severe emotional distress as well as mental health issues. You may need long-term medical treatment, rehabilitation, or therapy, as well as regular personal support if you have sustained a traumatic injury.

They'll probably affect your ability to work as well, or worse, they'll make it impossible for you to find work.

Who Do You Blame?

In California, there are two main approaches for assessing fault in car accidents. The common law theory of negligence is the first and oldest practice. To claim that the other driver is at fault under the common law principle of negligence, the injured party must demonstrate that the other driver did not operate the vehicle with adequate caution, which is often done by the use of police reports, witness statements, and other investigative methods. The injured party must show that the other driver's negligence caused the damage and injury.

The law is the second most common manner in which California accident fault is assessed. If the driver of a car involved in a car accident breached the California Vehicle Code, the driver is often considered to be negligent; the term is known as negligence "per se."

Proving Negligence to Assess Who Was at Fault

In California, determining blame in injuries by arguing negligence started as a "common law" tort theory, which means that the courts developed the theory over time to find a way for an injured party to claim compensation from the party at fault. California and other states' legislators have changed the theory of negligence in modern times by enacting laws that modify how negligence is assessed and proved.

The injured party must normally prove that the other driver did not operate their vehicle with a sufficient degree of care to show that the other party was at fault in a California accident. Every driver on the road has an obligation to operate their vehicle with care, or in other words, to exercise a fair amount of caution while driving.

Injured parties in California car accidents must also prove that the other driver "breached" their duty of care or that they did not use the degree of caution or care necessary. The injured party must then demonstrate that the other driver's negligence caused the accident and that the negligence resulted in harm or injury.

If the injured driver showed that the other driver was incompetent in driving the vehicle and that the negligence caused the injury, the injured driver would be entitled to compensation in the sum of their damages.

Identifying Who Was at Fault by a Statutory Violation

Another common method for determining fault is to see whether any side broke any California rules. Suppose a driver, for example, breaches a provision of the California Vehicle Code and causes an accident. In that case, the driver could be deemed "negligent per se," which means that he or she is believed to be negligent or has neglected to show sufficient care and diligence in the operation of his or her vehicle.

Negligence per se, like ordinary negligence, was established as a "common law" doctrine by judges as a way to allocate responsibility in incidents. The negligence per se doctrine was introduced as a statute by the California legislature and is codified in Section 669 of the California Proof Code. Essentially, Section 669 states that the law that was broken was intended to avoid incidents like the one that happened.

When a driver violates the California Vehicle Code, it's reasonably easy to prove that the driver was reckless in a car accident because most of the Vehicle Code laws were intended to avoid car accidents and protect other drivers. If a driver is presumed to be at fault in an accident, they must either claim they were not at fault or face being held liable for the accident.

Frequently, the police report from the crash would state if the driver was negligent under the law.

Comparative Negligence and Fault

When one party establishes that the other party was incompetent, the accident does not necessarily end. The sum that a negligent party would be forced to pay to an injured party in California, as in many other states, may be decreased if the injured party contributed to the accident by behaving negligently.

California follows a pure comparative negligence principle of responsibility, which technically requires someone to be compensated for their injury even if they were 90 percent to blame for the accident. In California incidents, pure comparative negligence works by assigning a percentage of blame to - party and then reducing the damages by that percentage.

What happens if more than one defendant is named?

In certain personal injury cases, multiple parties are held accountable. Manufacturers, business owners, and operating staff, for example, may all be held liable in the event of a train crash. The plaintiff and their bus accident attorney in Los Angeles must show that each defendant in the case is partially to blame for the damages sought.

While this complicates mediation agreements and necessitates more thorough evidence gathering, the court typically determines how much each designated defendant is responsible for the plaintiff's damages.

Your California Personal Injury Attorney will clarify how each defendant in your case will be held liable for their part in the accident. The defendants are collectively and severally liable for the plaintiff's damages if the case goes to trial. The judge finds that the defendants are also guilty or responsible on different levels. Claimants normally negotiate between themselves during mediation sessions to assess their blame percentages.

How Are Bus Accidents Different From Car Accidents?

Bus accidents aren't common, but when they do happen, the effects can be devastating. Buses are more difficult to navigate, and avoid and are less stable than other types of vehicles. Essential safety features, such as seat belts and airbags, are often missing from buses.

Bus passengers will sustain severe and life-threatening injuries if they are involved in a bus accident. These victims would almost certainly face exorbitant medical costs, which would be compounded by forced time off work for recovery. These victims are often required to make a personal injury lawsuit for damages against the bus accident's cause(s).

Liability in a bus crash is more difficult to assess than in a car accident.

In certain circumstances, a third party might be to blame for a bus crash. Other vehicles on the lane, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists, may all be held responsible. If these other parties are found to be liable, bus crash victims will claim them as defendants in a personal injury case.

Victims must show that a third party owed them a duty to protect them from injury, that the third party violated that duty in some way, and that they were injured as a result. Third parties can violate this obligation by changing lanes without signaling, failing to yield when merging, driving while distracted by a cell phone or electronic device, or following a bus too closely.

The bus driver in some situations can also cause bus incidents. Bus drivers have a tough task and are held to a higher standard than other drivers when it comes to operating the vehicle safely. Buses are classified as general carriers, which means that operators have a higher obligation of care.

If a bus driver is even slightly reckless, he or she can be held responsible for any accidents that occur as a result. Driving while intoxicated or fatigued, deficient or insufficient preparation, causing the vehicle to become overloaded, and texting while driving are all examples of bus driver negligence.

If the bus driver is at fault,personal injury cases can get more difficult. This is due to the fact that the government owns and operates several buses. Buses such as school buses and community buses are excellent examples. Victims of bus accidents that the bus driver causes may have trouble recovering compensation. Filing a lawsuit against the government follows a different procedure. It's important to note that each state's process for filing a lawsuit against the government would be slightly different.

If a bus crash survivor wishes to file a lawsuit against the bus driver and/or a government agency, he or she will most likely only have a limited time to do so. Personal injury claims against the government have a significantly shorter statute of limitations than most types of personal injury lawsuits. This statute of limitations will expire as soon as six months after an accident in some states. This necessitates swift action on the part of the victims.

In most bus crash cases, a victim must file a lawsuit directly with the local government agency in charge of running the common carrier. The claim must usually include:

(1) the name of the allegedly negligent individual, company, or employee

(2) a detailed description and interpretation of the accident

(3) the victim's name

In this lawsuit, plaintiffs must present their case for damages. The government must investigate and respond to the argument of the bus accident victim. The government will work with the survivor to compensate them for their injuries if the claim is approved. If the allegation is denied, the claimant must file a civil case for personal injury.

After that, the case will proceed in the same manner as any other personal injury case. Until claimants may threaten to take the government to court, the government must be given the opportunity to deal with the allegation internally.

There are, of course, a slew of other people that may be held responsible in a bus crash lawsuit. Many states allow victims to sue several negligent parties for compensation. As a result, it is critical to thoroughly examine each case in order to identify all potential avenues for obtaining compensation.

Possible Collectible Damages for Bus Accidents

While no amount of money will fully compensate an accident victim, compensatory damages are intended to cover the victim's economic and non-economic injuries. In certain cases, the victim of an accident will be entitled to sue for punitive damages to prosecute the wrongdoer.

The costs the victim will lose or have to spend as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses and salaries, are referred to as economic damages. Non-economic losses cover things like emotional distress or the loss of a limb with a monetary value. In a bus accident lawsuit, compensatory damages can include:

  • Care in a hospital emergency room

  • Bills from the hospital

  • Health supplies and medications

  • Physical therapy is a form of treatment that is used

  • In-home assistance

  • Profits (earnings, wages) lost

  • Future profits that will be lost

  • Companionship lost

  • Pain and Suffering

  • Emotional distress

  • Loss of pleasure

  • Fees and charges for a lawsuit

I was hurt at a bus stop. Do I have a Personal Injury claim?

When bus passenger is hurt, they can feel as though they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyone hurt at a bus stop, on the other hand, will also sue the people who caused the accident.

Inattentive or careless drivers cause many bus stop crashes. To recover damages for their injuries, the claimant must prove that the driver was reckless. In certain cases, the plaintiff may prove that the driver was at fault by presenting proof that the driver was speeding, running a red light, or driving while intoxicated.

The bus stop could have been in a dangerous place in some situations. This may involve a location where several people have been injured in previous bus stop incidents or a bus stop near the road. In these circumstances, the injured party will be able to file a lawsuit against the government agency in charge of the bus stop.

personal injury bus lawyers los angeles

What Are the Safety Measure Buses Should Have?

Bus crash injuries are more complicated than those sustained in other types of accidents. Many safety features can protect the people involved in car accidents or truck accidents, including:

  • Airbags are a form of safety device

  • Seat belts (these are required by law)

  • Seats with buckets

  • Security from a rollover

Unfortunately, bus passengers are not protected in the same way. Passengers on the bus can sit facing forward, backward, or sideways. Passengers on a packed bus might also be forced to stand. This can lead to a variety of injuries that are specific to bus collisions.

Bus passengers may be tossed around inside the bus and may collide with other passengers, bars, walls, or the floor in the event of a bus crash. As a consequence, the following are some of the most common bus accident injuries:

  • Injuries to the head

  • Injury to the neck

  • Injury to the back

  • Broken bones, fractures

  • Internal wounds

  • Injuries caused by fire

  • Injuries that are crushing

  • a state of paralysis

  • Amputation of a limb

What To Do When Your Loved One Dies in A Bus Accident?

When a spouse or child is killed in a car accident, the surviving spouse or child is unable to fight back and keep others accountable for their behavior. On the other hand, Surviving family members will be eligible to file a wrongful death case to ensure that those responsible for the accident are kept liable.

Family members who could be paid damages in a California wrongful death case include:

  • Decedent's Spouse

  • Victim's domestic partner

  • Children are the future

  • Children's grandchildren (if the children are deceased)

  • Anyone else who is entitled to the decedent's property under California's intestate succession laws

In a wrongful death case, the damages are meant to compensate the family members for their loss. This involves both monetary and non-monetary losses, such as:

  • The price of a funeral

  • Costs of burial

  • Financial losses to the family as a result of lost earnings and potential earnings

  • Companionship, support, or affection are all things that can be lost

Is it possible to find a California Attorney For Personal Injury Claims?

If a person or corporation is to blame for the accident and injury, you are entitled to compensation for medical costs, negligence, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Negotiating with a provider of insurance or another agency can be complex and time-consuming. Owing to a lack of experience, you can obtain a smaller settlement than the accident and injury warrant. Using a trained personal injury attorney's services will assist you in securing the compensation you are entitled to.

Personal injury cases can become very complicated and involve a large number of people. Several insurance firms, as well as legal counsel, are often involved.

The following issues will be discussed with you by your California Attorney For Personal Injury:

  • To obtain all incident information or documentation, such as accident reports, photos, and video, as well as eyewitness testimony.

  • If the case concerns a corporation or another entity, you or your legal team must collect safety documents.

  • To make sure that a qualified medical expert reviews the medical records.

  • To calculate the total damages with the help of medical and economic experts.

  • Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company and all parties involved, or, if necessary, taking the case to trial to ensure you are fairly compensated.

Find Top Rated Personal Injury Attorneys In Los Angeles (And The All Over California!) for Bus Crashes

What would you do if you were in a serious car accident? What if you had lasting, disfiguring injuries that made it difficult to go about your daily life? The best thing to do after a personal injury is to contact a legal team as soon as possible. It will protect you from agreeing to unfair compensations during your rehabilitation. Free initial consultations are available via live chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at


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