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Everything About Personal Injury Claims from California Bus Crashes

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Were You In A Bus Crash? Here Are Your Legal Options In California.


School buses, tour buses, and public transit buses are all popular modes of transportation. Buses, like all vehicles, are prone to collisions caused by a variety of factors. People may suffer several injuries as a result of these accidents, some of which are fatal. Knowing what caused a bus accident will assist an individual in determining who is to blame and responsibility for the injuries suffered during the collision. If you are injured in a bus crash, you will be entitled to compensation for your injury as well as the cost of care. Hiring a California Attorney For Personal Injury will assist you in obtaining compensation.


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Accidents Involving Buses


Bus companies and drivers, on occasion, struggle to protect their passengers with diligence and care. As a result, injuries occur more often than they should. California has a wide range of tourist attractions. The majority of visitors are transported by taxis, limo buses, charter buses, double-decker buses, and minibuses.


Apart from visitors, most school districts have bus service. These buses transport a large number of children or students to and from school each day. In California, public transit buses are also a popular mode of transportation. When a passenger boards a coach, they hope to arrive safely at their destination. Sadly, several buses are involved in collisions that result in serious injuries and the deaths of pedestrians and passengers.


Victims and their relatives are entitled to compensation for injuries sustained as a result of these incidents. Anyone who has been injured as a result of a bus crash should seek the advice of a California Personal Injury Attorney. A California Personal Injury Lawyer will assist you in determining if your claim is true and how to maximize your chances of being paid for your injuries and damages.


Statistics on Bus Accidents


When traveling in big groups, people consider buses to be a safer option than flying. Many citizens use buses to travel both inside the state and across state lines. However, as the number of bus accidents in the United States rises, it is clear that buses are not always healthy. In 2019, there were 2,734 fatal bus and large truck accidents in the United States, killing 3,087 people. According to the same survey, 60,818 people were injured in bus collisions, and 122,331 vehicles were destroyed in bus and large truck collisions. The states with the largest number of bus crashes and deaths are California, Florida, and Texas. Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney will assist you with seeking compensation if you or a loved one is injured in a bus crash.


A bus crash happens almost every week in the United States. In 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a report on curbside motorcoach safety. The study focused on the booming curbside market and the perspective and general data on the motorcoach and bus industry in the United States. According to the report, researchers discovered that commercial vehicles, such as buses, had a higher risk of being involved in fatal accidents. Bus drivers and riders are safer than pedestrians or normal vehicle occupants in collisions involving other cars, pedestrians, or bicyclists.


Bus Accidents Have a Variety of Causes


Buses are just like every other type of vehicle that travels the roads of California every day. Similarly, they have been involved in a number of incidents that have resulted in serious injury to those involved. Bus crashes in California are caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Driver not Seeing other Motorists

  • One of the major causes of bus accidents is a driver's inability to see other vehicles on the lane. Buses are wide and bulky by design. This means they have a variety of blind spots that make seeing clearly around them difficult. It's important to remember that this isn't due to carelessness; a bus driver can simply fail to see vehicles coming from different directions or entering the lane. As a consequence, the driver can refuse to yield where a collision is expected.

  • Failure to Obey Traffic Regulations

  • Many road users break traffic laws on a regular basis. Bus drivers are an example of this. When a driver disregards traffic laws, such as failing to stop at a stoplight, an accident is likely to occur.

  • Bus drivers are also notorious for exceeding the speed limit. For drivers who have a tight driving schedule, this is a normal occurrence. Most drivers who are expected to make frequent, routine stops may find themselves behind schedule. To keep up, they choose to travel at high speeds, breaking traffic laws such as speeding, signaling, and lane use. It is possible to cause an avoidable accident due to the driver's reckless driving.

  • Tiredness

  • A bus falls under the category of a passenger vehicle. This means that it will be on the road for several hours, and the driver will become tired. Bus drivers are often sleep-deprived, overworked, or suffer from certain medical conditions. Both of these factors, among others, may cause a driver to lose focus when driving, resulting in an accident.

  • Employers may also be held liable for their employees' exhaustion. Some employers require their drivers to work longer shifts or overtime hours than are legally permitted. Apart from exhaustion and insomnia, this may lead to stress-related issues. When a driver is tired, they can fall asleep at the wheel or zone out and veer off the road.

Bus schedules are also demanding, and adhering to them can be frustrating. Since the driver is not as alert as they would be otherwise, fatigue is a major cause of accidents. When an individual is tired, it is difficult for them to respond as quickly as possible, and their driving skills suffer. As a consequence, a bus driver can make a mistake that leads to an accident.
  • To supplement their wages, some drivers work other jobs. This is risky because they do not allow their bodies to relax and rejuvenate. Maintaining driver alertness requires sticking to the recommended hours and taking the required breaks and rests.

  • An inebriated motorist

  • In California, it is illegal to drive while inebriated. Despite this experience, some bus drivers will choose to drive while inebriated or under the influence of drugs. A person's ability to function is affected while they are inebriated. Their mental and physical abilities are not at their peak, which significantly impacts their success. A bus driver can cause an accident as a result of intoxication or impairment.


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  • Other drivers may have medical problems that require them to take drowsy-inducing drugs. They are unable to inform their bosses because they do not want to risk their jobs. When the drugs take action behind the wheel, it becomes difficult to maintain control of the bus. When drowsiness strikes, a driver can fall asleep behind the wheel or be unable to react to various road hazards with the speed and alertness required. If an emergency arises, that necessitates rapid decision-making, they are unable to do so, resulting in an accident.

  • Buses that aren't well-maintained

  • A bus company or owner must keep their buses in good working order. Regrettably, not all owners or businesses adhere to this provision. They also fail to keep their buses in good working order. A bus that is not properly handled is prone to a variety of incidents. Bus companies are required by federal law to repair and inspect their vehicles on a regular basis. Most, however, struggle to do so, and buses that are not roadworthy are driven on the roads. This puts the lives of bus riders and other road users in danger.

  • The majority of bus companies disobey federal regulations. They are also unable to admit that proper fleet maintenance cuts into their earnings. Instead, they let buses on the road with mechanical problems, which often result in breakdowns or accidents.

  • Mechanical Errors

  • Bus crashes are often often caused by mechanical failures. Tires, brakes, lighting, suspension, and steering systems are some of the most common areas where errors occur. When the brakes fail, the driver is unable to bring the bus to a complete stop. Controlling the bus becomes difficult, and an accident can occur rapidly. While a tire burst is uncommon, it can occur, causing the bus to lose control and collide with oncoming traffic. Driving at night with no adequate lighting in the coach is a recipe for disaster. When a driver can't see the road clearly, he or she is more likely to make poor decisions that lead to accidents.

  • A bus's steering mechanisms can break down in the middle of the lane. This means the bus driver would be unable to switch the bus. Instead, the bus continues in one direction and can veer off the road or collide with other vehicles. Bus crashes can also be caused by a bus's suspension system failing.

  • When mechanical problems occur, negligence is often involved. When a bus accident happens, all those responsible for the construction or maintenance of the bus may be held liable due to their negligence.

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Road Conditions That Are Dangerous


A bus may be involved in an accident due to a variety of road conditions. Bus accidents can be caused by unmarked curves, potholes, insufficient lighting, and poorly maintained highways, as well as construction areas that are not properly marked. The roads are the responsibility of various towns, and they must be well maintained. A bus will swerve and lose control when it hits an unexpected pothole, causing it to collide with other vehicles or rollover.

  • Roads with Poor Design

  • In order to prevent accidents, the road's design is also essential. Bus accidents are more likely to occur when roads have abrupt sharp curves or several lanes merging, among other features. Injured plaintiffs will sue the government agencies responsible for the design for compensation if an accident occurs as a result of this fact.

  • Passengers with Problems

  • Bus incidents can also be caused by passengers. Some passengers make a nuisance of themselves by being loud, refusing to obey the rules, and provoking their fellow passengers. They are a bother to other passengers as well as the driver. At this stage, the driver's concentration is split. He or she may lose concentration when attempting to attend to the needs of the passenger, resulting in an accident.

  • When a passenger becomes a direct threat, a bus driver should know when to order them to alight or report the unruly passenger to the authorities.

  • Weather Conditions at the Time

  • Poor visibility and slick roads can be caused by such weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow. It can be difficult to navigate the bus across icy roads due to its weight. Lack of visibility can also make it difficult for a driver to see ahead. A bus accident may occur as a result of these difficulties.

  • Left Turn

  • Left-hand turns are one of the most common causes of bus crashes. When a bus makes a left turn, the driver often encounters a blind spot that prevents him from seeing other motorists. This sometimes results in accidents with other motorists. A driver must lean forward or backward to see other cars, but even then, there is no guarantee that the blind spot will be removed.

  • Other Factors

  • A bus accident can also be caused by other drivers. A negligent driver on the road, whether intoxicated or not, can collide with a bus and cause an accident. Another driver may break traffic laws and collide with the bus, or he or she may be distracted and cause an accident. While the bus driver is not necessarily to blame for an accident, other drivers play a significant role.


Fires on Buses


A bus's engine or tires can start to burn at any time. Any passengers could be unable to escape in the event of a fire. When a driver notices the engine is on fire, or when passengers notice the bus is on fire, they can become panicked. In most instances, a driver becomes disoriented and loses control of the bus. The passengers' panic isn't helping matters either. They can begin jumping while the bus is moving or shift all of their weight to one side, causing a weight distribution imbalance. This can make it difficult for the bus driver to maintain control of the vehicle, resulting in an accident.


Failure to Take Breaks


As previously mentioned, some drivers will need to supplement their income and forego taking their days off. Any commercial vehicle driver is required by law to keep a record of the hours worked and the time spent between shifts. The number of hours a driver should stay on the road in a row is provided as a guideline. In addition, the prescribed break before returning to driving is given.


Employers may also enable their employees to break the laws, particularly if they have a driver shortage, by tempting them with the extra money they will earn. This can cause physical and mental fatigue, which is a major factor in bus crashes. When a car accident happens, law enforcement officers can still investigate to see if the driver was not complying with the mandatory service hours.


Parties Who May Be Held Liable in a Bus Accident


Several parties are likely to be held responsible in the event of a bus crash. In a bus crash, determining liability can be difficult. It's important to seek the advice of a knowledgeable solicitor. An L.A Personal Injury Attorney will assist you in identifying the responsible party from which you can obtain compensation. In the event of a bus crash, the following parties can be held liable:

  • Tour bus operator

  • Driver of a bus

  • Supervisor of bus drivers

  • If a school bus is involved in an accident, contact the school bus operator

  • In the case of a charter bus, the charter bus operator

  • Drivers of other cars if there are several vehicles involved in an accident

  • Business that maintains buses

  • If a public transit bus is involved in an accident, the state, county, or city council should be notified

  • If an accident happens at a bus stop, the land owner is responsible

  • Manufacturer of buses

  • Manufacturer of bus parts

If a bus crash happens as a result of an incompetent bus driver, the bus operator may be held responsible. Bus companies have a critical role to play in ensuring that professional and well-trained bus drivers are hired. A bus operator could be held accountable if it hires an inexperienced bus driver that causes an accident. A bus company is also responsible for keeping buses in good working order. As a result, if an accident happens as a result of a bus that is not properly maintained, the bus operator can be held liable. The bus maintenance company may also be held liable if it fails to recognize a technical issue that leads to a bus crash.


If a bus accident happens as a result of a manufacturing error, the bus manufacturer may be held liable. Bus manufacturers must ensure that only high-quality vehicles are released to the market. Manufacturers must also ensure that customers are given sufficient alerts if a product is faulty.

Bad road conditions can often result in a bus crash. An accident caused by bad road conditions may be blamed on the body in charge of road maintenance. State or county government agencies are examples of these entities. The plaintiff will bring a personal injury case against the government if it fails to keep roads in good repair or install proper road signs.

In some cases, multiple defendants are involved in a bus crash. California is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, which means that the degree of fault determines how much blame each party bears. Even if you're partly at fault in a bus crash, California's comparative negligence statute allows you to recover damages.


A plaintiff must prove multiple elements in order to receive liability in a bus accident:

  1. The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty of care to him or her.

  2. The defendant's violation of his or her duty of care should be obvious.

  3. The plaintiff's injury may have been exacerbated by the defendant's violation of duty of treatment.


After a Bus Accident, What Compensations Are Available?


When anyone is injured, there isn't enough money to compensate them. Being paid for damages, on the other hand, will help a person cope with the problems that follow a car accident. A survivor of an accident has the right to sue for both non-economic and economic damages.


Medical bills are one type of economic damage for which a claimant can seek reimbursement, whereas noneconomic damages involve nonquantifiable emotional harm. The following is a list of damages for which an individual can claim compensation following a bus accident:

  • Care costs in an emergency room

  • Expenses at the hospital

  • Medical supplies and medication

  • When physical therapy is needed, compensation is provided

  • When a victim needs in-home treatment, the victim is entitled to compensation

  • Lost wages for the days the victim is unable to function due to his or her injury

  • Compensation for potential profits that have been lost

  • Your vehicle's damage

  • Lost consortium

  • Compensation for the misery and pain endured by a victim

  • The victim's emotional anguish

  • Fees for lawyers and the courts

  • Loss of pleasure in life

Victims of a bus crash may suffer from a variety of injuries. Owing to the lack of safety equipment on a bus, the accidents from a bus crash are usually more difficult. Passengers are often seated facing the front, back, or each other, or are even standing. When there is an accident, the passengers are hurled in all directions. They collided with each other, as well as the bus's seats, windows, bars, and board. The following are some of the most common injuries suffered by passengers:

  • Injuries or traumas to the neck and back are common

  • Traumas or fractures to the head

  • Internal organ injuries, as well as broken or fractured bones

  • Injuries from burns

  • Crushing injuries

  • Paralysis, whether temporary or permanent

  • Amputated limbs

California's Common Carrier Law


A common carrier is a corporation that charges a fee for transporting property or persons. Typically, any transportation company with a contract to move individuals, property, and commodities across or around state lines is considered a public utility. A number of factors must be considered by the legislation before an individual is designated as a common carrier. There are some of them:

  • The company was created for the express purpose of transporting people or goods from one place to another.

  • The company presented itself to the public as a transportation service.

  • Transportation of goods and people from one location to another is charged for.

Buses, cruise ships, trains, taxis, and planes are examples of common carriers. Elevators, ski lifts, escalators, and amusement parks are all examples of common carriers in California. Common carriers are held to a higher standard of care than other motor vehicles, making it easier to establish negligence and keep them responsible in the event of injuries to passengers and other persons.


Popular carrier laws in California


California law is very straightforward when it comes to common carrier duty of care. Popular carriers "must use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything required for that purpose, and must practice an appropriate degree of skill to that end," according to California Civil Code Section 2100. This means that common carriers are responsible for providing a healthy environment for travelers and other road users. Passengers are normally affected when this law is not followed. Simply put, buses must comply with the following requirements as common carriers in California:

  • Be courteous to travelers.

  • Provide a secure vehicle that is up to the task at hand.

  • Give passengers a fair amount of consideration.

  • Notify travelers of any known dangers associated with the mode of transportation they use.

  • Provide adequate accommodations for travelers, including a space for the disabled and the elderly.

  • Not driving erratically or abruptly.

  • Passengers must be protected from damage, including harm caused by other passengers.

  • Employees are screened and given proper training.

Inadequately qualified drivers, exhausted or overworked drivers, and poorly maintained equipment are all common causes of common carrier accidents. To avoid future incidents, common carriers should ensure that drivers who do not conduct their duties as they should are shot. It is also their responsibility to inspect and repair their equipment and vehicles on a regular basis to ensure their safety.


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The equipment must meet current safety requirements. If a passenger is injured as a result of the negligence or malfunction of a common carrier, the parties concerned will be held responsible. When an individual expresses their intent to board the bus company or when the driver expresses their approval of the person to be their passenger, the obligation of utmost care begins. When a person becomes a passenger, he or she places himself or herself under the control of the bus company, and the bus company or driver owes the passenger a special duty of care.


Accidents involving school buses


Many school buses lack seat belts, even those that do don't require children to wear them all of the time. If a collision occurs or the driver abruptly brakes, children are killed when they fall out of their seats. When this occurs, children are put in danger of suffering serious injury or even death. In the majority of cases, school bus drivers are held responsible for injuries involving children to whom they owe a high level of treatment.


However, since the majority of them work for the government, they may be covered under the doctrine of sovereignty immunity. This adds to the difficulty and uncertainty since you will now have to negotiate with the government body in charge of the driver's employment rather than the driver directly. As a complainant, you must adhere to the statutory deadlines for filing a lawsuit, which are just 6 months (180 days) from the date of the accident in the case of a government agency. If you fail to provide timely notice, you will lose your right to file a lawsuit.


Liability exceptions for common carriers


There are several exceptions that exclude bus operators, owners, and drivers from liability in the event of an accident. This may be the case, for example, if the accident was caused by an act of nature, such as bad weather. A natural occurrence is beyond anyone's control, and common carriers are no exception. Piracy, kidnapping, carjacking, shipper negligence, and passenger negligence are examples of other exceptions. These exceptions are based on the statute and only occur in cases where the common carrier's rules were not applicable.


Reasonable duty of care to third parties


A bus company's highest duty of care extends not only to passengers on board, but also to all parties that share the road with them. Other motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians may be involved. The same law applies to buses as it does to automobiles. If the bus driver knows there are pedestrians in the area, for example, he or she must exercise caution. This diligence and care could take the form of slowing down and focusing solely on the lane.


After a Bus Accident, What Do You Do?


And if you are entitled to compensation for the harm and injury you have suffered as a result of a bus crash, you will not be able to obtain it until you have presented credible evidence in court against the at-fault parties. Following the accident, the next steps you take will either increase or decrease the chances of obtaining reimbursement. In the case of a bus crash, the following precautions should be taken.


  • Seek medical advice.

  • It is important to seek care as soon as possible after a bus accident for two reasons:

  • First and foremost, your health must be prioritized. You'll need medical staff to examine you for both external and internal injuries, and then administer the appropriate treatment. Even if you appear to be fine after an accident, underlying injuries will manifest later.

  • You'll need proof of injuries.

  • Your medical examination after a bus accident can be able to relate the injury to the collision. Medical reports may be used in court by your California Attorney For Personal Injury to show that the driver's negligence caused you damages.


  • Report the Accident by dialing 911.

  • After a bus crash, the bus driver is likely to call police officers or their immediate superiors. However, if the police do not arrive in a timely manner, you should take the initiative to call them. When the cops arrive, you must choose your words carefully so as not to incriminate yourself. Before telling the cops something, it's a good idea to consult with an California Personal Injury Attorney.

  • Please contact your Personal Injury Attorney.

  • Without the assistance of a prosecutor, gathering facts and winning a bus accident case is difficult. Call your California Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible after the bus crash to avoid incriminating yourself. They will assist you in protecting your civil rights and ensuring that you are compensated for your injury and non-economic damages.


After a bus accident, there are some pieces of evidence that you should collect.


After suffering injuries and damages as a result of a bus driver's negligence and carelessness, you can feel a sense of loss, pain, and grief. You must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was at fault and caused you harm in order to file a case against them. Prove that the bus crash was caused by the driver's negligence by presenting facts such as:


Data from the Onboard Electronic Recording Devices (EOBRs)


According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) directives, commercial vehicles such as buses have EOBRs mounted to record the functions of the vehicle's systems. Engine controls, brake control systems, and a variety of other vehicle systems are examples. When an accident happens, monitoring devices, also known as electronic logging devices (ELDs), collect data that can be used to determine what malfunction, if any, caused the accident.


In order to use the data from the onboard systems as evidence in court, you'll need it. The data should show the exact location of the bus, as well as the application of brakes, the direction in which the bus was traveling, throttle position, and a variety of other functions necessary to ascertain the cause of the accident.


In the event that you are hospitalized due to serious injuries, your California Attorney For Personal Injury can act quickly to obtain a copy of the EOBRs results. This is because when a new piece of knowledge is captured, the old one is erased. If necessary, the L.A. Personal Injury Lawyer will ask the court to order the bus to stop running until the data download is completed.


Records of Inspection and Maintenance


Buses, like all commercial vehicles, must be tested according to the authority's guidelines. Inspection reports are provided to the drivers to confirm that the inspections have been completed. The following are some of the bus systems that are inspected:

  • The steering system

  • Wheels, rims, and tires

  • Fluids and devices for braking

  • Reflectors and lighting systems

  • Wipers for the windshield

  • Rearview mirrors

  • Health equipment and an emergency kit

The driver or the bus owner should also keep track of the bus's maintenance and repairs. In the event of an accident, this knowledge may be useful in determining if a previous repair contributed to the accident. Mechanics tamper with certain bus functions, and the driver is unknowingly involved in an accident as a result of inadequate maintenance.


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