In California, buses travel many miles and transport several passengers daily. For instance, school buses transport learners to and from school across towns, suburban areas, and even counties. Bus accidents are common since there are many buses on the roads. These accidents occur because of various factors, including bad weather, driver's negligence, defective parts of the vehicle, and the bus company.
The accidents could be catastrophic, ranging from property damage to severe injuries, including burns, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and death. These injuries compounded with psychological trauma result in therapies, medical bills, and lost earnings. As a bus accident victim in Long Beach, CA, you deserve compensation whether harmed as a pedestrian, bus driver, or pedestrian.
You must work closely with a competent bus accident attorney to obtain the compensation you deserve. The attorney will offer you the legal help you require throughout the legal process. At Overett Group Attorneys, we have a deep understanding of bus accidents and the whole legal process of filing personal injury cases and seeking compensation. Therefore, do not hesitate to call us as soon as your loved one sustains injuries in a bus accident.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents are more severe than car accidents due to their weight and large size. When you or your loved one faces an injury in a bus accident, you want to determine the cause of the accident to determine the liable party. Common causes of bus accidents include:
Negligence of The Bus Company
Negligence is a common cause of bus accidents. In California, bus companies turn a blind eye to the federal regulations, training drivers or keeping their fleets maintained. The bus companies may opt to sacrifice public safety by failing to repair defective parts in the bus. In addition, buses require frequent maintenance to operate safely on the road. You will notice that older school buses and motor coaches lack seat belts and other safety equipment. Lack of safety equipment increases the risk of injury and death from bus accidents.
Sometimes, bus accidents may result from poor road conditions or bad weather due to the bus's weight and inability to maneuver around easily. Drivers should be appropriately trained to operate the buses according to the weather conditions. There are also certain precautions the drivers should observe when bad weather.
Driving Under Influence of Alcohol
California laws prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol. Some bus drivers drive while intoxicated, even if it is against the law. An intoxicated driver has their mental and motor skills affected. Therefore the driver quickly causes an accident. If the accident occurs due to drunk driving, the law will hold the alleged driver responsible for compensating the sustained damages and injuries.
There are many rules which regulate bus drivers. However, the drivers disregard them, especially charter companies. For example, hours of service laws address how long the driver can be on the road. The regulations also state that there must be a break before the driver starts another shift. You will notice that most bus drivers violate this law by overworking to hit their targets. When the driver is tired, this/her driving skills are affected. They will end up causing an accident due to fatigue.
There are also other rules which regulate the bus speed, turning, and passing. Bus drivers violate these rules. The driver may be distracted by calls or texts from their phone, and when replying, it may result in an accident. Again, bus accidents occur due to poorly trained drivers.
Bus fire is among the most dangerous causes of bus accidents in California. The passengers at the corner of the bus may not save themselves. Again, fumes may overcome them before they locate an exit. Engine and the tires are the causes of fits in the vehicle. Most of the fire in buses results from the engine compartments. In many bus fires, the incidents occur when least expected and when many passengers are not expecting the fires. It can be prevented by maintaining the engine carefully.
Failing To See other Vehicles on The Road
Failure to see other buses on the road is among the leading causes of bus accidents. Buses are large and bulky vehicles. Their huge sizes cause many blind spots as the driver cannot see everything around. For example, the driver may cause an accident by failing to see vehicles approaching behind when merging the traffic.
Statistics of Bus Accidents in California
According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), America uses around 550,000 private and commercial buses and nearly 450,000 school buses. The two categories accommodate about 360 million passengers yearly. As per the report, the buses travel around 28 billion miles annually. In 2018, 5096 buses were involved in a fatal accident, a 1 % increase compared to 2017. Over 414,000 commercial vehicles and buses resulted in property damages, a rise of 14% from the prior year.
As per the transportation department, barely 183 bus collisions occur each day and more than 67000 each year. According to the above statistics, it's true that bus accidents are common in California. Therefore, if you are a victim of the accident, do not remain silent. Speak with your accident attorney and file a lawsuit to recover your damages and injuries. Again, if your loved one passed because of a bus accident, discuss the matter with your bus accident attorney. The law allows the family members of the bereaved to receive compensation.
Common Injuries That Bus Accident Victims Sustain
When a school bus or an intercity bus hits a cyclist or a pedestrian, the result might be severe. Remember, the passengers on the bus are not immune to catastrophic injuries. The following are several types of injuries suffered:
Spinal Cord and Head Injuries
A bus collision involves extreme force. The force causes the bus passengers to smash or move into the seats. The sudden force will cause severe traumatic injuries, whiplash, and spinal cord injuries. Note that a victim of the accident may end up being disabled or suffering paralysis. Sometimes, you might not experience the signs of the injuries immediately after the accident. Therefore, the best way is to seek medical help and undergo a full-body scan after the accident.
Internal injuries may also occur after a bus accident. Remember, a pedestrian and a cyclist do not have protection in an accident. That's why the bodies of the cyclist and pedestrians absorb the forces of these collisions. They are at great risk of sustaining internal injuries as a result. The internal injuries may include kidney injuries, punctured lungs, internal hemorrhaging, and liver laceration. When left untreated, the internal injuries may develop to fatal.
Cuts and Lacerations
A Bus has multiple holes, glass windows, and metallic objects. Therefore when the bus is involved in an accident, the passenger may sustain cuts or lacerations from the metal debris and glasses. You might suffer severe tissue damage and heavy blood loss when the cuts are deep. The damages will even lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement. A deep cut or lacerations might become infected and become a life-threatening situation. When you leave the condition untreated for a long time, you might develop a deadly infection. That's why you need to seek medical attention after a bus accident. Don't assume any form of cuts and lacerations you sustain!
A passenger might strike on objects when a bus falls. That's why broken bones are among the common types of injuries victims suffer in accidents. A fracture might range from a simple fracture to a more complex fracture requiring extensive surgeries. It's good you note various broken bones might lead to permanent disabilities.
Types of Bus accidents
A bus is a large vehicle that carries many people or cargo. The bus's large size makes it vulnerable to causing injuries in case of an accident. The various types of bus accidents are:
Transportation Bus Accidents
Many people depend on public transport since it's cheap, convenient and friendly. Due to the high rate of use the public buses wear out quickly. Government authorities are responsible for making sure the buses operate safely. In public bus accidents, liability lies to the government. Public buses are operated by the county, city, or state authorities. When the vehicle is improperly serviced or maintained, it may result in an accident.
The accident would result in injuries and even death. When a negligent public transport bus driver causes an accident, the claim will lie against the bus line government authorities. You have two years to bring your lawsuit in a personal injury lawsuit. However, you have only six months to file a lawsuit against the government when injured in a public vehicle. If you fail to file the case, you will never recover the caused damages.
School Bus Accidents
School buses are safer ways of transporting learners to a school than cars. Due to the high volume of transport every day, accidents are likely to occur. Most of the school bus accidents are minor. The liability will depend on whether the school owned the bus or hired transportation from another company when an accident occurs.
Under California laws, an employer is always liable for damages caused by an incompetent or negligent employee. Therefore, if the school operated the bus, it would pay for its driver's negligence. Alternatively, if a private company operates the buses, it is held liable for its driver's failure. They were having the employer responsible for acts to prevent accidents in the future.
What Should I Do After a Bus Accident?
When you engage in a bus accident in California, the steps you take immediately will significantly impact your compensation claim. For instance, you might use the photos you gather in the future as evidence to seek your compensation. Also, the police report might be crucial to your lawsuit in the future. Therefore you need to observe the following steps:
- Seek medical attention.
- Call 911.
- Exchange your driver's license with the involved drivers.
- Take as many photos of the accident scene as possible.
- Obtain the witnesses identification details.
- Call your accident attorney right away.
- Do not discuss the probable cause of the accident with the other parties.
- Do not accept liability.
Who Might be Held Liable for the Injuries You Suffer
A bus accident may occur as a result of different things. Therefore, many factors or parties may contribute to the accident. That's why an accident reconstruction expert must be involved to determine the possible cause of the accident. For example, your accident attorney may find that numerous parties were responsible for your accident. The following parties may be held accountable for the injuries you suffer:
Many bus accidents in California occur due to the bus driver's negligence. For example, the driver might be driving at a speed above the standard limit. Again the driver may engage in an accident when they go while impaired. Therefore, when the court discovers the accident occurred due to the driver's negligence behavior, they will become responsible for your injuries.
In California, all bus companies have their responsibilities to observe regularly. For instance, the truck company should hire well-trained and qualified drivers. Also, the bus company should ensure their drivers drive the buses within the accepted period. So, when the bus company becomes responsible for an accident, they act negligently in providing safe and quality operations in their buses.
The bus part manufacturers are responsible for ensuring they service the vehicles with the best parts. Many accidents witnessed on the roads nowadays occur due to defective parts of the buses. These faulty parts usually include electrical wiring, tires, and brakes. The company that manufactured the inferior part of the bus will become responsible for an accident. Therefore, bus manufacturers must ensure they carefully manufacture and service buses appropriately.
Mechanics and the Government
Sometimes, a bus company may sign a contract with another company to regularly service their vehicle. So, the company responsible for providing repair and maintenance will be held liable for the accident when the court discovers they were negligent in their duties. Also, different government agencies may become responsible for a bus accident. For example, a bus accident in California may occur due to poor road maintenance. So, the government agency will compensate for the injuries and damages sustained.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Bus Accident in California
When you face injuries in a bus accident, you might feel like you are at the wrong place. However, the law in California allows anyone injured in the accident to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for their damages and injuries suffered. Many bus accidents occur because of negligent and reckless drivers. You can prove the driver was negligent for their behaviors in your lawsuit. You might even support your claim by providing evidence to show the driver violated traffic rules like speeding, driving while impaired, and running a red light.
The bus stop might have been in a risky location in other cases. So, under this situation, many people may sustain different injuries. The victims will file a lawsuit against the government agencies to recover compensation.
The Other Involved Drivers
A bus accident may occur as a result of multiple drivers. For example, a bus accident may occur when a negligent driver fails to obey traffic rules, blows through traffic, and collides with other buses. The driver will be lawfully responsible for a bus accident. However, an accident attorney is critical in a bus accident. The attorney will help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Also, the attorney will help you determine the possible fault party of the accident.
Recoverable Compensations in a Bus Accident
When you suffer an injury in a bus accident in California, you are entitled to receive compensation. You will obtain benefits for non-economic and economic damages. In rare cases, the court will use punitive damages to punish wrongdoers. Financial injuries involve the costs you incur due to the accident, like medical wages and bills. Alternatively, non-economic damages include the pain and harm you suffer due to the accident, including loss of limb or emotional trauma. The compensatory in a bus accident claim will include the following:
- Hospital bills.
- Emergency room treatment.
- Lost income.
- In-home care.
- Physical therapy.
- Medical and medication supplies.
- Future lost earning.
- Loss of enjoyment.
- Emotional pain.
- Suffering and pain.
- Court fee and costs.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
When you or your family member suffer injuries in a bus accident, you need legal help immediately. Hiring a top-flight attorney is highly recommended for a positive outcome of your case.
At Overett Group Attorneys, we are here to help you file your personal injury case and seek the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys will gather sufficient evidence and use it to fight for your rights. Therefore, call us at 562-986-9864 when you sustain injuries resulting from a bus accident in Long Beach, CA, and our personal injury attorneys will start working on your case.