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Buses are a convenient and affordable option for transportation. As of now, San Francisco has 41 local bus routes available for people to use. It offers 4 rapid and 1 express routes, as well. These bus services are expected to provide a duty of care to a passenger once they step foot onto the vehicle. However, multiple factors, such as negligent drivers or road hazards, could impact the outcome of a bus ride. If either factor does, in fact, cause the bus driver to get into an accident, then the party at-fault will be held liable for damages.

If a bus driver is involved in an accident due to a defective bus, the company and/or manufacturer may be held accountable for any losses caused by their negligence. Since California is identified as a comparative fault state, more than one party can be responsible for an accident. Liability will be divided based on the degree of negligence committed by each party involved.

If you are a victim of a bus accident and would like to pursue legal actions against the party at-fault, West Coast Trial Lawyers has experienced San Francisco bus accident attorneys who will get you the justice and compensation you deserve. We have won over 5,000 personal injury cases and recovered more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients. Due to our achievements, we have been ranked as one of the top personal injury law firms in San Francisco.

If you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our San Francisco personal injury law firm, please reach out to our 24/7 legal team by calling (415) 326-8794 or emailing [email protected]

Common Causes of Bus Accidents in San Francisco

Hitting Someone With a Car on Purpose

In San Francisco, multiple factors have contributed to the cause of a bus accident, such as:

  • Speeding is one of the most common factors of a bus accident. Oftentimes, bus drivers may find themselves set back from their schedule of picking up and dropping off passengers, which may compel them to speed. However, it is not condoned for a driver to exceed the posted speed limit regardless of the reason. The bus driver could create a dangerous environment for passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers nearby. In San Francisco, there was a report back in 2016 of a tour bus driver seen driving at unsafe speeds and causing a disastrous accident. Drivers, pedestrians, and passengers were injured from the accident. Mild to severe injuries were reported.
  • Not only is speeding a major factor in a bus accident, but distractions are, as well. Bus drivers may feel the need to check their phone for any notifications, such as a missed call or text message. Regardless of whether it was a quick glance, a bus driver should never keep their eyes off the road, especially if they are responsible for the safety of the passengers on board.
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another known factor that has caused a bus accident. Some bus drivers may feel the need to consume alcohol or drugs to keep themselves awake during lengthy trips, while others may want it to deal with personal reasons. However, these substances are known to drastically affect the way a person functions. If a bus driver is not fully aware of their surroundings and cannot visibly see where they are going, it is extremely likely for them to crash into an object, such as a vehicle or building. In San Francisco, back in 2018, a tour bus driver was noticeably intoxicated with alcohol. The passengers feared for their lives as the bus crashed into the right side rail of the Golden Gate Bridge. The bus driver continued to speed until she arrived at a casino. Once the bus driver was caught by police, she was required to take a DUI test. The results of this test indicated that the bus driver was almost 4 times over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit.

Common Bus Accident Injuries 

People may endure mild to severe injuries after a bus accident. This includes the following:

  • Whiplash and neck injuries. If the soft tissues of the neck are damaged, then it is likely for a person to suffer from whiplash or other neck injuries. Whiplash symptoms may typically become noticeable several days after the incident. It is important for those who have a neck injury to keep an eye out for symptoms, such as neck pain, swelling, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, burning sensation in the neck area, lack of concentration, trouble sleeping, or pain in the arm, back or shoulder. If you notice any of these problems, you should seek the help of a medical professional who will examine your condition to create a treatment plan best suited for you.
  • Spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury may occur when there is forceful impact to the back area. The severity of the injury may vary depending on which vertebral segment is damaged. If the thoracic spine is affected, then you will likely endure loss of sensation, loss of feeling in the genital or rectal area, loss of control of your bowel or bladder movements, back pain, or paraplegia. Damage done to the lumbar spine may result in loss of function in the hips and legs, loss of control of your bowel or bladder movements, or paraplegia. Lastly, forceful contact to the cervical spine can cause tetraplegia or quadriplegia, which means that there will be an absent feeling or control of body parts below the shoulder or neck.
  • Head injury. This type of injury may occur from a violent blow to the head. Common symptoms of a head injury include headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, slurred speech, dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, blurred vision, memory issues, mood swings, unconsciousness, seizures, clear fluids draining from the nose or ears, numbness in the fingers or toes, or a noticeable change in eating habits. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may also occur from forceful contact to the head. Make sure to keep an eye out for symptoms, such as loss of consciousness, persistent headaches, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, seizures, dilation of either one or both pupils, clear fluids emerging from the ears or nose, slurred speech, or loss of coordination. It is encouraged for those who suffer from a head injury to seek help from a brain specialist, such as a neurologist. The neurologist will likely run tests, such as blood tests or an MRI test, to determine the severity of your injury and what medical care is needed to improve the symptoms you are suffering from.
  • Fractured bones. A fractured bone occurs from significant force directed towards the bone, which the bone is unable to handle. This type of injury is very common in motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms of a fractured bone include intense pain in the wounded area, inability to function the wounded area, swelling, bruising, or a noticeable bone sticking out of the skin. Generally, it will take 6 to 8 weeks for a bone to heal. However, results may vary depending on what bone is broken, the person’s age, and their overall health.
  • Cuts and bruises. It is common for those involved in a motor vehicle accident to suffer from cuts or bruises caused by forceful impact to glass windows. It is suggested for those who have a cut or bruise to apply direct pressure to the wounded area in order to stop the bleeding. If water is nearby, you should wash the wound for 5 minutes. Once that step is completed, you should use an antibiotic ointment to prevent an infection from occurring.

Available Damages for a Bus Accident

If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to economic and non-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, and lost wages.

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, and loss of enjoyment of life.

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. It is relatively rare and has only been incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts. Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. It is awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you were involved in a bus accident in San Francisco and would like to pursue a lawsuit against the party at-fault, West Coast Trial Lawyers has experienced San Francisco personal injury attorneys who are readily available to assist you with your case.

Contact our 24/7 legal team today by calling (415) 326-8794 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free consultation at our San Francisco personal injury law firm.

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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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