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California Bus Accident Liability

Who is Liable In A Bus Accident: The Company, The Driver, Or You? Insight From the Best Bus Accident Lawyers

It may be difficult to determine who is at fault when it comes to a bus accident. There are various factors that could be involved. The individual may have been drunk, fatigued, or distracted when operating their vehicle. Placing blame on their negligent actions will not be difficult as long as there is convincing proof of their behavior. However, placing the blame on the correct party will not be easy.

Conducting An Investigation

An investigation must be initiated to figure out whether or not the bus driver violated any traffic laws that may have caused the accident to happen. Potential candidates that could be at fault for the accident include:

  • Bus driver. Under California Common Law, a bus driver is expected to provide 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.” They are required to maintain a safe environment for passengers and drivers surrounding them. Bus drivers must:
    • Be respectful of passengers.
    • Give passengers reasonable attention.
    • Give passengers appropriate accommodation for the disabled and elderly.
    • Warn passengers about potential dangers that might occur when utilizing the bus’s services.
    • Drive at the appropriate speed level and follow the laws of the road.
    • Protect passengers from enduring any harm or injuries.

Failure to do so will result in passengers and nearby drivers getting injured or even killed. The bus driver will face serious consequences and may find themselves involved in a bus accident lawsuit.

  • City, Council, and State Agencies for constructing defective roadways. They will be held liable for injuries if they:
    • Design faulty roadways.
    • Use unclear lanes or turns. 
    • Leave leftover debris on the roads and highways.
    • Do not provide warning signs for curves. 
    • Use incorrect signage for zones that were intended to be used for construction.
  • Bus manufacturer. They will be responsible for passenger injuries if they:
    • Had faulty designs incorporated into the bus. 
    • Were aware of defects during the manufacturing process, but failed at giving a proper warning.
    • Did not include a warning label for users to be aware of the risks associated with the bus when operating it.

Determining Liability

California is a comparative liability state, which means that a plaintiff can recover some damages, whether he or she had some level of responsibility in causing the bus accident. Available damages will, of course, be reduced depending on that individual's degree of fault.

An injured bus accident victim can claim damages by proving that the defendant's negligence was the cause of the accident. The elements of negligence include the following:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • The defendant breached this duty of care through negligence
  • The defendant's breach was the significant factor that caused a plaintiff's injuries

In summary, if an injured bus accident victim can prove that the defendant was negligent, the defendant will likely be responsible for paying the plaintiff's damages.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. 

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss  of Enjoyment of Life
  • Other Non-Economic Damanges

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations For Damages In California

For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.

However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non economic losses is $250,000.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here To Help

If you were a victim of a bus accident injury and want to sue the individual at fault for causing the accident, West Coast Trial Lawyers will get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Our experienced bus accident attorneys will help you get financial and emotional compensation for the damages you suffered. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. There are no financial risks involved when you use our services. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at our firm. No fees are charged until we win your case. Reach out to our friendly legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected]


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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