Bus accident injuries are often more severe than those caused in the average auto accident.
A contributing factor is buses often lack on-board safety options that come standard with the typical automobile, such as airbags and seat-belts, putting passengers at risk for catastrophic or even fatal injuries.
In many cases, buses are owned and operated by government entities. This detail changes the process in recovering compensation - making it more complex.
If a government entity is involved then claims are often subject to stricter guidelines and shorter time limits for taking legal action. At the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm, we have successfully handled numerous bus accident cases and our law firm has a track record of successfully recovering full compensation on behalf of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, the Elk Grove-based lawyers at the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm can help.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
According to California Civil Code Section 2100
"A carrier of persons for reward must use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything necessary for that purpose, and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill."
Bus companies and their drivers must adhere to this code and, therefore, owe a heightened duty of care to their passengers and others that are sharing the road with them.
Some causes of bus accidents include:
- distracted driving
- aggressive driving
- driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- failure to follow traffic regulations
- inadequately trained bus drivers
- poor bus maintenance
- road hazards
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Traveling in a large vehicle can at times give us a false sense of security. However, the truth is that whenever you are in a vehicle that is involved in an accident, regardless of its size, you are at risk of being injured. Buses are not the exception. Usually, most bus accident victims fall into one of two categories. The first group are not those inside the bus but those who are sharing the road with it.
Sadly, when travelers in a smaller vehicle collide with a bus they rarely survive and are often left with catastrophic injuries as a result of the accident. The second group are the passengers of the buses that are involved in accidents. Bus passengers are often standing or seated without safety belts and airbags, which can result in very serious injuries.
Injuries that may result from a bus accident include:
- broken bones
- burns & bruises
- spinal cord injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
What Compensation Can Be Recovered?
During negotiations or litigation, a bus accident victim or surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- past and future medical expenses
- fees for emergency room visits
- hospital care
- assistive devices and appointments with medical professionals
- lost wages, both present and future
- physical pain as a result of injuries sustained in the crash
- mental anguish
- emotional suffering
- loss of consortium
- loss of marital benefits
Bus accident cases are often complicated by nature and it is highly important to seek the help of an experienced lawyer who has dealt with these types of lawsuits before. There are deadlines and strict rules that apply to collecting compensation in the state of California, and without the assistance of an experienced attorney, you may lose your right to recover damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bus Accident?
Potentially liable parties include:
- the bus driver
- the owner of the bus, including California State, other government entities and private companies
- the company overseeing maintenance of the bus
- the manufacturer of the bus or any part of the bus
- the California municipality in which the accident occurred
- a negligent third party
Most lawsuits involving bus accidents focus on the concept of negligence. For example, if a driver violates any state or federal law, that driver will likely be found negligent.
In such circumstances the driver, his or her employer, and the owner of the bus will be legally responsible to compensate injury victims and their families.
In order to prove that you were a victim of negligence, evidence is required to prove the other party acted in an irresponsible manner that resulted in your injury and damages.
Your lawyer will work tirelessly to investigate the case thoroughly, carefully consider who was responsible, and take the legal steps necessary to ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries.
School Bus Accidents
More than 23 million children ride on school buses every day in our country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 1995 and 2005, approximately 1,500 people lost their lives as a result of school bus-related accidents. When school bus accidents occur young ones often suffer injuries; types of injuries can include bruising, lacerations, soft tissue damage, broken bones, whiplash, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or, in worse cases, death.
In California, motorists are required to stop when school bus lights are flashing but unfortunately, this law is not always obeyed. Although liability typically applies to when the children are on the bus in some instances it is extended; for example, when children are being loaded or unloaded on a bus, the driver still has a duty to ensure the safety of the children. School entities, school bus owners and drivers may be held liable for injuries a student suffers if the driver does not:
- activate the safety measures of the school bus (flashing red lights and stop sign) while students board and get off the bus
- monitor a student's safe crossing of a street
- operate the bus with due care
- check if the traffic has stopped before allowing a student to exit the bus
If you or a loved one has been involved in a school bus accident, contacting a qualified bus accident attorney is vital to ensure you receive just compensation.
Tour Bus Accidents in California
As with any automobile, tour buses are also prone to road accidents. Some of the particular reasons why tour bus accidents take place in California are:
Poorly maintained tour buses.
Unfortunately, there are travel companies and tour bus operators that do not take the proper steps to maintain their vehicles. This increases the probability that their vehicles will likely malfunction and cause an accident. Companies are required by law to carefully care for their bus fleet, this would include regular maintenance routines and repairs when needed, to ensure the safety of their passengers.
The driver is exhausted.
Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of tour bus accidents in California and often, bus drivers become very exhausted due to the demanding tour schedules that they are required to follow. Driving skills and performance are significantly affected when a driver is fatigued, and accidents are almost always inevitable in these cases.
The bus driver is under the influence of alcohol.
It is a commonly known fact that drugs and alcohol will impair one's ability to drive. If a tour bus is being operated by someone who is under the influence of alcohol, or perhaps medication that causes drowsiness, it greatly increases the risk of a serious road accident occurring.
The driver fails to follow traffic rules.
Although California has many traffic laws, many drivers fail to adhere to them. It's when the seemingly small rules are broken, such as exceeding the speed limit or texting and driving, that bus drivers increase the probability of causing an accident and in turn, injuring their passengers.
Tourists who are injured due to a tour bus accident have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the travel company and the bus driver.
What Should I Do If I'm in a Bus Accident?
Following a crash involving any type of vehicle, you need to consider your safety first. Call 911 and check to see if you or anyone else is hurt. If you or someone else is injured, seek immediate medical attention. Only after your injuries have been treated, and only if you are physically able, try to collect as much evidence as you can, including:
- Police and medical reports
- Any witness statements and their information
- Pictures of the scene of the accident
- Pictures of your injuries
If you were injured in a Sacramento area bus accident you should speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. In order to pursue litigation in a bus accident case, you must act quickly due to notice requirements and statutes of limitation which can be more complicated if the bus or transportation vehicle is owned or operated by a government entity. An experienced Elk Grove & Sacramento personal injury attorney can explain what your rights are, help you determine if you have a case, and whether or not a bus accident lawsuit is the best option for you to pursue.
List of Bus Operators in California
- All West Coachlines, Inc. / Coach USA, Sacramento, CA
- Amador Stage Lines, Inc., Sacramento, CA
- America Asia Express, Monterey Park, CA
- American Stage Tours, Concord, CA
- American Transportation Systems, Long Beach, CA
- AmericanStar Trailways, Pismo Beach, CA
- Antelope Valley Airport Express Inc. dba Antelope Express, Palmdale, CA
- Barnes Charters, Ventura, CA
- Bauer's Intelligent Transportation, San Francisco, CA
- Best Tours & Travel, Fresno, CA
- California Sight Seers, Inc., Huntington Park, CA
- Cardiff Transportation, Palm Desert, CA
- Cardon Charters LLC, San Diego, CA
- Carreras Tours LLC, Chino, CA
- Certified Transportation Services, Inc., Santa Ana, CA
- Classic Charter, Inc., Visalia, CA
- Coach 21, San Francisco, CA
- Corporate Coach Charters & Tours, Los Angeles, CA
- Destination Systems, El Dorado Hills, CA
- Discovery Charters, Castroville, CA
- Extranomical Adventures, San Francisco, CA
- Fast Deer Bus Charter, Montebello, CA
- Gary Express, Inc., Alhambra, CA
- Gold Coast Tours, Brea, CA
- Goldfield Stage, El Cajon, CA
- Gray Line of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
- H & L Charter Company, Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, CA
- Heritage Valley Bus, Santa Paula, CA
- Inland Empire Stages, LTD., Rancho Cucamonga, CA
- JNL Global Co, Arcadia, CA
- Kings Transportation, Inc, San Francisco, CA
- La Class Transportation LLC, San Diego, CA
- Lin Lines, Inc., Palm Springs, CA
- Loop Transportation Inc., South San Francisco, CA
- & San Jose, CA
- Mercury Tours, South San Francisco, CA
- Michael's Transportation Service, Inc., Vallejo, CA
- Orange Belt Stages, Visalia, CA
- Pacific Coachways Charter Services, Inc., Garden Grove, CA
- Pacific Coast Sightseeing Tours & Charters, Inc., Anaheim, CA & Bakersfield, CA
- Pacific Monarch Ltd, Marina, CA
- Patty Wagon Charter, Tujunga, CA
- Preferred Charters, Santa Rosa, CA
- Pure Luxury Transportation, Petaluma, CA
- Royal Coach Tours, San Jose, CA
- San Jose Charters, Inc., San Jose, CA
- Santa Barbara Airbus, Inc., Goleta, CA
- Sherry Line, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
- Sierra Pacific Tours, Concord, CA
- Silicon Valley Corporate Transportation & Charter Service, San Jose, CA
- Silver Bay Tours, Morro Bay, CA
- Silverado Stages, Inc., Sacramento, CA & San Luis Obispo, CA
- Sonoma County Airport Express, Santa Rosa, CA
- Starline Tours of Hollywood, Commerce, CA
- Storer Coachways, Modesto, CA & San Francisco, CA
- Sun Diego Charter Company, National City, CA
- Sundance Stage Lines, San Diego, CA
- Transit Systems Unlimited, Inc., Sun Valley, CA
- Transportation Charter Services, Orange, CA
- VIA Trailways, Merced, CA
- West Valley Trailways, Campbell, CA
Free Bus Accidents Consultation at the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm
At our Elk Grove-based law firm, we understand what you are going through, and we are committed to acquiring justice for each and every client we represent. Filing a bus accident lawsuit is often a complex process because there is a number of entities who may be held liable for the crash.
It is imperative that you seek the help of an experienced attorney who has successfully managed these types of lawsuits before in order to ensure you receive full compensation for your losses. We work based on a contingency fee, which means that you pay us nothing until your compensation check is issued.
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