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California Bus Accident Attorney

California Bus Accidents Cases: What Types of Damages Are Awarded?

It is imperative to find a trusted California bus accident lawyer when you or someone you know files a claim for their injuries. Multiple parties from insurance companies, other attorneys, and even the State of California want to ignore your damages so they can spend less on your settlement. Without an expert attorney to represent your case, you may find yourself revealing unnecessary information or failing to spot details in your bus accident that could have increased your settlement. The legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers know the ins-and-outs of bus accident law and will fight for your case, even when it goes to trial. Insurance companies will try to complicate the process, but our attorneys will explain every action in clear terms so you are never left out of your claim. The legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers know the ins-and-outs of bus accident law and will fight for your case, even when it goes to trial. Insurance companies will try to complicate the process, but our attorneys will explain every action in clear terms so you are never left out of your claim. If you were a victim of a bus accident and would like to pursue legal actions against the party at-fault for your injuries and damages, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our qualified California bus accident attorneys have over 60 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Types of Bus Accidents

Public Transportation Accidents

A public bus can be managed by a city, county, state, or other form of regional authority. If a negligent bus driver caused a bus accident, the victim may file a claim against the negligent bus driver and the government entity that is in charge of operating the bus line. When a claim is made against the government, the victim is required to present it within six months of the initial date of when the accident took place. If the victim is unable to submit the claim before the deadline, they will no longer qualify to acquire recoverable damages.

Tour Bus Accidents

California is a hotspot for tourism, especially in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Tour buses are usually filled with tourists who are interested in roaming popular cities to learn about its history and culture. The tour bus driver is required to maintain a good pace that will allow tourists to indulge in what the city has to offer. If the tour bus driver is committing unlawful actions, such as speeding or ignoring traffic laws, they will be held accountable for any damages caused in a bus accident. A tour bus company can also be held accountable for a bus accident if they failed to follow legally mandated duties, such as properly inspecting the tour bus or hiring qualified tour bus drivers.

Bus Stop Accidents

People who have sustained injuries at a bus stop will be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the party at-fault for their losses. A majority of bus stop accidents have been caused by negligent drivers. It is the victim’s responsibility to gather convincing evidence to prove that the driver was liable for damages. The elements of negligence that must be presented in a personal injury claim include the following:
  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  • The defendant breached their duty of care; and
  • The plaintiff suffered injuries and damages due to the defendant’s negligent actions
The location of a bus stop could also be dangerous. For example, a bus stop was placed in an area where several serious or fatal accidents have been reported. A bus stop being located in such a dangerous spot could increase the likelihood of more injuries and deaths. The government agency in charge of planning the placement of this bus stop could be involved in a personal injury claim for allowing a bus stop to continue its services in an area that greatly affects the safety of others.

Why Trust WCTL With Your Bus Accident Claim?

Our attorneys have over 100 years of collective experience dealing with insurance companies and closing cases for our clients. We know how serious your injuries can be, so we make sure the settlement you get is the amount you deserve. During those 100 years we have earned over $1.5 billion dollars for our clients to make sure not only their hospital bills, but their pain and suffering are justly compensated. You don’t deserve to be physically, mentally, and financially set back from a bus accident that was not your fault.

Should I Take a Settlement Right After My Bus Accident?

Make sure to talk to a lawyer about your case and avoid settling right away after your bus accident. Even for simple questions about coverage or details about your injuries, always seek counsel from an expert bus accident attorney before signing offers. Insurance companies have settled serious cases for much less than what victims deserved in the past. These firms are concerned about their bottom-line and your settlement is an obstacle to their profits. Settling early also risks taking a settlement that does not cover future medical expenses if conditions worsen or future damages are discovered. If you take a settlement early, it will be difficult canceling that agreement afterwards.

What to Do After a Bus Accident in California

The first and most important action to take after a bus accident is to assure your safety and the safety of others. During an emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 so medical professionals will be on their way to take care of the wounded. Find the emergency kit inside the school or public bus and use the emergency brake if the bus driver becomes incapacitated or unable to drive during the accident. There should be a fire extinguisher as well to put out nearby flames. Notifying the authorities after a bus accident also strengthens your claim because you can use their documents as evidence to prove your lack of fault. This works for passengers as well as the driver involved in the accident.

Injuries After a Bus Accident

Injuries from a bus accident can be intensified due to the extra weight and amount of people involved. There are no seat belts to hold passengers in place, letting people get tossed around when a collision happens. For victims outside the bus, especially bicyclists and pedestrians, they suffer the most severe injuries due to the bus’s weight. The legal team at WCTL will assist you with any type of injury related to your bus accident including :
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Burn injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Internal damage
These types of injuries require immediate medical care from a physician and should be addressed before legal action can take place. WCTL will make sure the medical bills for your treatment are rightfully covered and you can return to a regular life after your bus injuries. WCTL advocates for your safety first and foremost, and when you are well we will pursue legal action for your damages.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents in California

Driver negligence between bus drivers and their surrounding vehicles is the most common cause of bus accidents in California. If you were struck by a bus and sustained injuries, you will need to prove that the driver’s negligence was the direct cause of your damages. Most of the time passengers of a bus accident do not need to prove negligence to be covered by the bus company’s insurer, but take note of the accident anyways in case of a potential lawsuit against a 3rd party, like the bus manufacturer. The most common causes of bus accidents in California are:
  • Distracted or exhausted drivers
  • Reckless driving
  • Poorly maintained busses
  • Dangerous road conditions

Common Carriers in California

Bus drivers are considered common carriers in the state of California, which means they have a higher duty of care on the road compared to other drivers. The higher responsibility on the road means if they exhibit negligence and get you hurt, you are entitled to more damages than if an average driver got you hurt. Common carriers are transit servicers who carry people or property for hire from place to place. Here are more examples of common carriers in the state of California:
  • Bus drivers
  • Rideshare drivers
  • Truck drivers
  • Ship owners
  • Train operators
  • Taxi drivers
Common carriers have a higher expectation to keep their persons or property safe from harm, so even a slight violation from that duty of care constitutes a case. There are specifics that make liability different from case to case, so speak to an expert attorney to verify whether your rights were violated.

Damages After a Bus Accident

The sheer weight of a bus collision can leave passengers bruised and battered, but the ones hit by the bus often suffer worse injuries. If a bus wrongfully collides with another party, both them and the bus’s passengers are potentially entitled to three types of damages. Economic damages are the types of losses that can be quantified and assigned a monetary value. Typical examples of economic damages for bus accident cases in California include:
  • Medical treatment costs
  • X-ray scan costs
  • Chiropractor therapy bills
  • Lost past and future wages
  • Property damage costs
  • Lost business opportunities
When faced with harsh economic damages, do not be afraid to seek medical assistance. The costs needed to heal are heavy, but necessary in order for you to come back from this disaster. Our attorneys will handle the insurance companies in your stead, so focus on recovery and your settlement will cover the rest. Non-economic damages are the types of losses that are unquantifiable like emotional distress or pain and suffering from a bus accident. Examples of non-economic damages include:
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of reputation
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
Even though there is no number to measure these damages, they can significantly outweigh your economic damages if an attorney proves them in a court of law. A legal professional will diagnose the severity of your non-economic damages and make sure you are justly compensated. Punitive damages are special penalties given to the guilty party for their especially negligent behavior in an accident. Punitive damages are piled on top of economic and non-economic damages to deter others from similar acts of negligence in the future. These penalties are often involved in gross negligence cases, where reckless behavior caused grave harm to others.

Who May be Liable for Bus Accidents in California?

Because buses are common carriers in the state of California, multiple parties get involved when a bus wrongfully crashes and hurts other innocents. Liability is established on a case-by-case basis, so your attorney will analyze your case to make sure fault is distributed justly across all parties. California is a comparative negligence state, meaning multiple parties may carry fault for the same accident. Insurance companies may use this to put partial blame on you for your damages to lower their settlement offer. Protect yourself with an attorney to accurately represent your side of the story. Examples of parties who may be liable for a California bus accident include:

Private Bus Companies

Negligent driving from the driver is one of the most common causes of bus accidents in California. Because bus drivers carry a higher duty of care compared to other drivers, you may be entitled to damages when they violate their duty through reckless driving, speeding, or even intoxicated driving. If the bus driver responsible for the accident works for a private company, they will be responsible for your damages. Examples of private bus companies include:
  • Private school buses
  • Tour buses
  • Charter buses

The Government

For intercity buses like the LA Metro, the City of Los Angeles is liable for your damages. They may also be liable when the bus accident was caused by poor road conditions. There are special rates for claims against the government, which will be clarified by your attorney.

Bus Manufacturers

If your accident was caused by a bus malfunction, the manufacturers responsible for maintaining and repairing the vehicle will cover your damages.

What Happens if a School Bus Gets in an Accident?

When a school bus gets in an accident, liability depends on whether they were owned by the private or public school sector. If a private school owns the bus, they are responsible for paying out damages to the affected party. If the driver works for a public school, the government is liable. It is imperative for the driver to report the accident to their employer, department, and school district in accordance with Cal Code Regs. Tit. 13, § 1219. Bus drivers are also bound by law to not leave the vicinity the accident took place in unless no one is capable of seeking aid.

How Much is Compensation for a Bus Accident in California?

The total value of your settlement depends on various aspects of the crash that are on a case-by-case basis. Your attorney will analyze the severity of your damages, your bus driver’s negligence, your actions after the accident, and the driver’s added duty of care to determine how much you are owed. Both private and public bus companies carry higher insurance coverage for their vehicles than standard car insurance. Because of their coverage, an accident involving a bus often results in higher settlements depending on the case. The average bus accident settlement in California goes above $100,000 but can be valued over $1 million if severe injuries occur like spinal cord injuries or wrongful death. Insurance companies cover damages per passenger in a bus accident, or pool together settlement money for the damages of multiple passengers. Pooling together damages may be beneficial for the ones lightly injured, but passengers suffering from heavy injuries will find their settlements lower than if they had an individual settlement. Your attorney will determine the right course of action for your settlement so your damages are justly covered.

Is There a Time Limit to Sue for a Bus Accident in California?

The statute of limitations to sue for personal injury in California is two years after the date of the accident. Most tort claims abide by this time limit, so make sure to present your case to an attorney before you are unable to sue for your case in the state of California. For cases involving public transportation like a public school bus, the statute of limitations is even lower due to California’s laws about filing claims against the government under the Tort Claims Act. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims against the government is six months after the date of the accident. Talk to an attorney as soon as possible after recovering from your injuries to make sure you get trusted representation before the deadline ends.

WCTL Will Defend Your Rights After a Bus Crash

If you have sustained injuries as a result of someone’s negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. Our California bus accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can recover compensation for the losses you have suffered. Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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