Buses are everywhere: Public transit is a vital part of our urban infrastructure, many parents rely on school buses to safely transport their children, and open-top tour buses are often used for sightseeing tours around Los Angeles. By transporting many passengers at once, buses keep millions of cars off the road, saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions by billions of pounds each year! But there’s a downside to this convenient service.
If you’ve been injured in one of these accidents, you need the expert guidance of a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer.
Los Angeles bus accidents can be catastrophic due to the number of passengers and the size of the vehicles involved. Victims are often left with devastating injuries and mountains of medical debt. But there’s hope! Read on to find out how to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries, and reach out now to speak to one of our Los Angeles car accident attorneys. Our virtual consultations are confidential, convenient, and 100% FREE.
What Causes Los Angeles Bus Accidents?
We all know Los Angeles traffic is notoriously rough, but when buses are involved in traffic accidents, disaster often follows. What causes these wrecks? Here are a few factors our personal injury firm commonly sees:
Large Size & Weight: This first one’s obvious, isn’t it? Buses are much larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road. In a collision, this means there is more force behind their impact, similar to what we see in truck accidents. This is even more of a factor when a collision involves a smaller vehicle or motorcycle. Did you know buses also require more distance to come to a complete stop, and they are more prone to rollover accidents? After an accident occurs, buses may also block multiple lanes, causing multi-car pile-ups.
Blind Spots: The hulking size of a bus also means it has larger blind spots. If bus drivers are careless or improperly trained, they won’t check their blind spots before making a turn or changing lanes.
Bus Driver Fatigue: Many bus drivers work late shifts or multiple jobs. As a result, they may be drowsy or unfocused. Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implements “hours of service” rules in an attempt to combat fatigue and limit the amount of time a bus driver can spend on the road. For example, a bus driver cannot drive more than 10 consecutive hours without stopping for at least 8 hours of rest, and they cannot work more than 60 hours in any 7-day period. Bus drivers must also keep work logs tracking their working hours and resting hours.
Speeding: Higher speed means greater force of impact. When speeding is combined with inclement weather conditions or sudden traffic congestion, it’s a recipe for disaster. The maximum speed limit on most highways in California is 65 miles per hour unless otherwise posted. However, larger vehicles should exercise even more caution, as they are more difficult to handle.
Improper Weight Distribution: Improper weight distribution makes a bus even more prone to a rollover accident. This includes exceeding the appropriate passenger capacity or overloading luggage and cargo.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance: Bus companies don’t always properly care for their fleets. By slacking on routine maintenance and inspections, they may overlook a mechanical problem that causes a bus accident later. Under-inflated tires or poor engine maintenance could even cause a bus fire! In these cases, the bus company can be held liable for damages.
Distracted Drivers: Sometimes bus drivers can get distracted by unruly passengers, but other distracted motorists can also cause bus accidents! Other drivers may be tailgating a bus, looking down at their phones, or trying to aggressively overtake the bus, or they may fail to notice when they enter a bus driver’s blind spot.
Driving Under the Influence: The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for commercial drivers is .04%. That’s half the limit for the average driver. Additionally, the 1991 Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act implemented background checks and routine drug testing for bus drivers, but this is not always properly enforced. A negligent bus driver under the influence can cause an accident due to their impaired judgment.
Bad Weather: Bad weather means poor visibility, and wet roads cause a bus to need more time to come to a complete stop.
Potholes: Poor road conditions aren’t just limited to bad weather. If roads are not properly maintained by the city, they may cause accidents.
Additionally, bus driver age is also a factor: According to a study conducted by the National Safety Council, the most accident-prone bus drivers are either below the age of 25 or above the age of 55.
Once you know the cause of the wreck, you and your Los Angeles bus accident attorney have a better chance at determining liability. To learn more, call for a free case evaluation from one of our experts.
School Bus Accidents
The California Department of Education reports that over the past 11 years, school buses have averaged 26,000 accidents and 10 fatalities annually. 75% of fatalities were passengers.
The department is working to enhance the safety of school buses by adding more seat belts, reducing rider capacity, increasing the height of the backs of seats, and developing new crash-testing procedures.
However, the majority of school bus accidents happen during student pick-up or drop-off, not on the road.
What Are Common Los Angeles Bus Accident Injuries?
Many buses do not have airbags, seat belts, or other safety features found in common cars. Passengers may also be overcrowded and standing up while the vehicle is in motion, making them more vulnerable to injuries. Plus, during a crash, a piece of unsecured luggage can turn into a dangerous projectile and inflict additional harm.
Common injuries sustained in bus accidents include but are not limited to:
Head Injuries: In a bus accident, a passenger may suffer blunt force trauma from a projectile or from smacking into the seat in front of them. This can cause a concussion or another type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Head injuries may go unnoticed until it’s too late, causing serious brain damage and cognitive or physical issues requiring long-term treatment and care.
Spinal Cord Injuries: “Whiplash” is a word that gets thrown around a lot when you hear about car accidents, but its effects can be quite severe. When the head is whipped back and forth unnaturally and abruptly during a bus accident, a victim may suffer debilitating soft tissue damage or spinal cord injury. This can leave them with chronic pain, mobility issues, and even paralysis.
Broken Bones: The force of impact of a bus accident can break the bones of passengers. If a bus hits a cyclist or a pedestrian, things are even more grim. Most of the time, a broken bone will require costly surgery and lengthy recovery time. Range of motion may be permanently affected.
Burns: Sometimes bus accidents result in fires or even explosions, leaving victims scarred and burned. Expensive skin graft surgeries may be needed.
Cuts & Lacerations: Auto accidents almost always involve broken glass, and bus accidents are no different. Passengers may be cut by glass from broken windows in a bus accident. These cuts can become infected and leave scars.
...And we haven’t even begun to cover the emotional trauma of a bus accident. It is not uncommon for bus accident victims to suffer from nightmares and PTSD, necessitating years of counseling.
If you’re suffering from any of these injuries, you shouldn’t have to pay for treatment out of your own pocket. A Los Angeles bus accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Free consultations from live experts are available 24/7.
How Can I Collect Compensation After A Los Angeles Bus Accident?
If you were injured in a bus crash, you may be entitled to compensation. By filing a bus accident injury claim, you can collect money to help pay for accident-related expenses, also known as “damages.”
Damages are typically sorted into two categories: economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those that can be concretely quantified thanks to a paper trail of bills and receipts. Non-economic losses are harder to put a price on, as they often refer to the emotional anguish a victim and their family go through.
- Medical bills for surgery, diagnostic imaging, and more
- Prescription medications
- Prosthetics, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids
- Physical therapy
- In-home care
- Property damage
- Lost income from time taken off work
- Funeral and burial expenses, in the event of a fatal bus accident
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical and psychological impairment
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Note: If a claimant is still undergoing treatment when their claim is settled, the damages will also include estimated future expenses.
Whether you were a passenger, another driver, a pedestrian, or a cyclist involved in a bus accident, you may be entitled to some or all of the above damages.
Speak with a Los Angeles bus accident attorney now to find out more about your options. Our consultations are always free and confidential. Don’t miss out on expert advice!
Who is Liable in A Bus Accident?
According to California Civil Code, any entity involved in public transportation — like MTA buses, taxis, and planes — owes its passengers a duty of care, diligence, and safe carriage. Violating this duty leaves them liable for any injuries sustained in an accident.
In a bus accident, the blame typically falls upon the company who owns the bus. In a public transportation bus accident, the state or the government might even be responsible! In some cases, multiple entities may be responsible.
California is a comparative negligence state. This means fault for an accident can be divided among multiple parties, according to their degree of responsibility. Thanks to California's comparative negligence law, you can still seek compensation even if you are partially responsible for an accident.
Confused yet? Don’t worry. Determining liability is tricky, but a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer can guide you through this all-important step of your case.
Here are some of the parties who may be found at fault for a bus accident:
- Bus Driver: If a bus driver behaves carelessly or breaks a law, they are liable for any accidents they cause.
- Bus Company: If a bus driver’s employer fails to provide proper training, perform a background check, or inspect their vehicles, they may be held liable for any accidents involving their bus fleet.
- Bus Passengers: Surprisingly, bus passengers may be found at fault for a crash they are involved in, especially if they distract the driver or break the law.
- Other Drivers: Any driver is capable of making an error. For example, if an impatient driver cuts off a bus, they may be blamed for causing an accident.
- Pedestrians or Cyclists Without Right of Way: If a pedestrian or bicyclist crosses paths with a bus when they do not have the right of way, they can be held responsible for a bus accident.
For more help determining liability after a bus crash, consult an experienced Los Angeles bus accident attorney today.
What to Do After A Los Angeles Bus Accident?
Your physical safety is always priority #1. If you are injured, remain calm and still until help arrives. However, if you are safely able to, here are some steps we recommend after a bus accident:
- Call 911: Police and EMTs will respond to the scene. Even if you don’t think anyone is hurt, police need to create an accident report. This report records important details and serves as vital evidence for your bus accident injury claim.
- Collect Witness Information: Gather names and contact information from anyone who witnessed the bus accident. Their testimony will be important later.
- Take Photos: Use your phone to take photos of the scene of the crash, including any signage, debris, or damage to surrounding vehicles.
- Receive Medical Treatment: Do not neglect this step. Receiving prompt medical care after a car accident is imperative, because some injuries and internal bleeding may go unnoticed until it’s too late. Always follow your doctor’s orders after being released. Do not skip any follow-up appointments or recommended treatment options, or else your personal injury claim may be dismissed due to a gap in treatment.
- Contact A Los Angeles Bus Accident Lawyer: Protect your rights. Do not be fooled by predatory insurance companies, and do not give a statement to anyone without a lawyer’s counsel! A Los Angeles bus accident lawyer can help you file a claim with the right insurance company and collect all the supporting evidence you need to strengthen your case.
When Should I File A Los Angeles Bus Accident Claim?
As soon as possible!
Technically, the statute of limitations in California for bus accidents is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for any injuries you suffered.
Two years may seem like a long time, but the sooner you file, the better your chances of success will be. If you wait too long or have a gap in your medical treatment, your claim may be denied. A Los Angeles bus accident lawyer can help you build your case and ensure you meet important deadlines like these.
Handling an accident injury claim can be a real headache — no pun intended. But by teaming up with a dedicated Los Angeles bus accident attorney, you can gain a settlement exponentially larger than what the insurance company offers you.
Get Help from A Los Angeles Bus Accident Attorney Now
A bus can crumple a car in an instant, devastating victims and their families. We’ve seen the aftermath firsthand, and we’ve dedicated our careers to helping these people recover.
If you’ve recently been hurt in a bus accident, don’t suffer in silence or drain your savings to pay for your damages. Hold the negligent parties accountable, and make them pay. Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers can give you the resources you need to achieve this goal.
We understand bus accidents are more complex than typical car accidents. It may even be a struggle to find out which insurance company to contact, especially when there are multiple liable parties. Trust the nationally-recognized team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers to conduct a thorough investigation and get you the maximum compensation. For over 20 years, we’ve proudly protected the rights of injured victims of bus accidents.
If you were hurt in a Los Angeles bus accident, don’t delay. Call our office now for your FREE consultation and get the money you deserve. Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you pay nothing unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.