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Determining Liability in Tour Bus Accidents

Below, our experienced bus accident attorneys will discuss tour bus accidents. If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of a tour bus accident, West Coast Trial Lawyers is always here to answer any questions you may have about accident claims and damages available to you.


What Is a Common Carrier?

Drivers who transport people have a much higher duty of care to other drivers. This is because a commercial bus operator — and this includes a tour bus company — is generally thought of as a common carrier. A common carrier is any business that is responsible for transporting people or goods for a profit.

Therefore, a tour bus company that does not repair its buses, properly inspect their fleet, or appropriately train and supervise their drivers, may be in violation of their duties as a common carrier. Failure to abide by legally mandated duties may subject a tour bus company to liability and any applicable damages.

Determining Liability in a Tour Bus Accident

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Although the above information seems clear and straightforward, determining liability after a tour bus accident may not be so easy. This is because numerous entities can be involved and play a relevant role in causing an accident. For example, the tour bus company, tour bus driver, bus manufacturer, and even other drivers can all play a role. What matters most is who contributed negligence towards causing the accident.

The entities who are usually involved in tour bus injury claims are:

  • The tour company: A tour bus company must make every effort possible to hire only bus companies with good safety records. If a tour company hires buses that are repeatedly cited for safety violations, the tour company itself may share a degree of liability for any injuries or losses caused.
  • The bus company: The bus company owns the actual buses. They are required to operate reasonably safe buses. Furthermore, they are also obligated to hire and train licensed drivers who meet or exceed basic safety requirements.
  • The bus manufacturer: A faulty or defective bus can easily cause severe injuries in the event of a malfunction.

An accident investigation, given how many entities are involved, may often be necessary to determine who exactly was responsible for a tour bus accident. Other factors that often cause or contribute to a tour bus accident are:

  • Tour bus drivers who are fatigued while behind the wheel
  • Poorly trained or screened tour bus drivers
  • Tour bus drivers who are driving while under the influence
  • Tour buses that are carrying too many passengers or cargo
  • Improperly maintained tour buses

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

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 were only incorporated in 5 percent 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.

Contact Us 

If you or a loved one was involved in a bus accident, West Coast Trial Lawyers has skilled bus accident attorneys that have extensive experience in handling personal injury cases. Our attorneys will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There are no financial risks involved when using our services.

Contact us today calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.


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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