Bakersfield Bus Accident Attorney
Bakersfield offers public transportation, such as a bus, to allow its residents and visitors to travel across the city. People depend on riding a bus as their daily source of commute with the expectation of safely arriving at their destination. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, the ride may be operated by a negligent bus driver, get struck by a reckless motorist, or experience road obstacles. It is important for people, especially those who rely on the bus for transportation purposes, to get legal insight on bus accidents in order to know how to respond to such events.
If you are a victim of a bus accident, our knowledgeable team of Bakersfield bus accident lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers are available 24/7 to offer assistance. We have more than 100 years of collective experience in handling bus accident cases, and have won over $1.5 billion in settlements for our clients. Due to our achievements, we are confident that we will get you the best outcome possible.
We run on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that our services are free until we settle your case. To schedule a meeting with one of our top-rated Bakersfield bus accident lawyers, you may reach out to us by calling (213) 927-3700 or completing our quick contact form.
Common Injuries Caused by Bus Accidents
Bus accidents may result in mild to severe harm to the body depending on the intensity of the impact. Common bus injuries include the following:
- Fractured bones,
- Head trauma,
- Brain injury,
- Spinal cord injury,
- Strains, and
Since a bus does not have safety restraints to prevent passengers from falling in and out of the vehicle, it could put them in a dangerous position during a bus accident. However, injuries are much worse for a driver who is operating a standard vehicle. In comparison, a bus has a heavier weight and larger size, meaning that it could create substantial damage to whatever it crashes into.
Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?
To prove liability in a bus accident, you will need to gather evidence to use as proof that an individual or entity’s negligence was the primary cause of the impact. Typically, in this kind of situation, there can be more than one at-fault party.
If your bus driver committed reckless actions, such as speeding or driving while under the influence, you can sue them for breaching their duty of care.
Other drivers who violate traffic laws can face legal consequences for the injuries or damages they caused.
A bus company could be held liable for several reasons, including:
- Inadequate training sessions,
- Hiring unfit people to become bus drivers,
- Poorly maintaining the vehicles, or
- Violating the Hours of Service Regulations.
Vicarious liability may also be a factor. If the employee’s misconduct resulted in a bus accident, the bus company will need to take accountability for their actions.
If the bus accident was caused by a defective part, the manufacturing company will be liable for having it produced and distributed. A faulty design could also apply if it contained flaws that made it unreasonable to incorporate into the vehicle.
Poor road conditions that contain hazards, such as potholes or uneven roads, could affect the quality of a bus ride. It may trigger the vehicle to endure damage, harm the passengers inside, or even cause the bus driver to lose control. In such a case, victims can pursue legal action against the government entity responsible for maintaining the road. You will be given six months to file a lawsuit from the date of when the event occurred.
How Do I Prove Injuries from a Bus Accident?
In the aftermath of the bus accident, you will need to acquire important details that will prove who should be held accountable for the damages you suffered from. Be sure to:
- Get contact and insurance information from all parties involved,
- Call the police and request a copy of the written report,
- Take photos or video footage of your injury and the bus accident scene,
- Ask for witness information, and
- Hire a Bakersfield bus accident lawyer to evaluate your case.
Once your legal representative has analyzed the evidence you provided, they will explain how the particular individual or entity is at-fault for the bus accident and what necessary steps should be taken to ensure you get a fair settlement.
Should I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim or a Personal Injury Claim?
Each bus accident has unique factors involved, meaning that victims could either file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim.
If you were a bus passenger, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver to recover damages. However, if you are the bus driver, you are entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim with the bus company you work for. You could also sue the driver for any injuries sustained as a result of their reckless behavior.
To determine what would be the best legal action to take, you should schedule a consultation with a Bakersfield bus accident lawyer.
Do I Need to File a Claim Against the Bus Company?
Bus accident injury victims can file a claim against the bus company if the assigned driver was at-fault for the impact. However, it may be challenging. You will need to figure out who the owner or operator of the bus is.
If it was a private or charter bus, you could have a claim against the driver and/or company. However, if it is a government-owned bus, you will likely have to file a claim against the government entity that is responsible for the vehicle you got into an accident with. Under the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), you will need to give notice of a claim to them within six months. They can either accept or deny it. If it gets denied, you can file a lawsuit for:
- The bus driver’s negligence,
- Dangerous conditions presented on government-owned property, or
- Damages you endured as a result of the government entity’s inability to fulfill an obligation required by law.
How Long Do I Have to File My Bakersfield Bus Accident Lawsuit?
If you were involved in a bus accident, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit within two years from the date of when it occurred or one year from when you discovered your injury. Although this may seem like enough time, it is encouraged that you get started on it as soon as possible.
It is important that you hire an experienced bus accident lawyer to represent your case, and to get all the evidence you possibly can to ensure you submit a strong claim. Failing to do so could put you at risk of exceeding the statute of limitations. If this happens, you will no longer be eligible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party unless it gets tolled for the following:
- The defendant is a minor,
- The defendant is out-of-state,
- The defendant is in prison, or
- The defendant is legally insane.
Once the reasoning has ended, the statute of limitations will run again.
Compensation Available for Victims of Bakersfield Bus Accidents
Compensation available for victims of a Bakersfield bus accident will vary depending on the circumstances involved. Typically, the following damages would be granted if the case settles in your favor:
- Past and future medical expenses for accident related injuries,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of earning capacity,
- Property damage, and/or
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
To get a better idea of what you can recover based on your bus accident case, you should present it to a bus accident lawyer for evaluation.
Do I Need a Bus Accident Attorney?
Victims will need legal assistance from a bus accident attorney in order to effectively sue the at-fault individual or entity. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our team will take a look at your situation and offer an explanation of what you should expect if we move forward with your case. From there, we will guide you through your personal injury lawsuit to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your losses.
More Resources About Bus Accidents
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