Have you or someone you care about been involved in a bus accident in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley or elsewhere in California?
Bus travel, including school bus travel, is the main method of travel for many commuters in the greater Los Angeles area, including the San Fernando Valley, and throughout all of California.
Bus companies will fight diligently to deny injury claims or offer significantly less than the claim is worth. However, buses are considered common carriers when transporting persons for money or other compensation (often referred to as carrying for “reward”) and MUST use the utmost diligence and care for their passengers’ safe carriage, providing everything necessary for that purpose.
California Civil Code Section 2100, specifically requires the following of bus carriers:
“A carrier of persons for reward must use 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.”
Due to their large size, lack of clear visibility and limited maneuverability, bus accidents frequently occur, often causing serious injuries and fatalities that result in wrongful death claims. These injuries occur in many different ways, including when buses collide with cars and other vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists; or when an anxious bus driver starts moving too quickly while passengers are standing or still getting on (boarding) or off (alighting), often causing very serious and painful injuries.
On average, 14 school-age pedestrians are killed by school buses (or vehicles used as school buses) each year, and 6 are killed by other vehicles involved in school bus-related crashes. [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for School Bus, 2000, Data Resource Website].
Further, since 1989, 1,445 people have died in school bus-related crashes — an average of 131 fatalities per year. Most of the people who lost their lives in those crashes (65 percent) were occupants of other vehicles involved. Non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) accounted for 25 percent of the deaths, and school bus occupants accounted for 10 percent. [NHTSA for School Bus, 2000, Data Resource Website].
In 45 percent of all crashes involving fatalities to occupants of a school bus or vehicle used as a school bus, the principal point of impact was the front of the vehicle. [NHTSA for School Bus, 2000, Data Resource Website]. Death or fatality from a bus collision may result in a wrongful death claim.
Victims of bus accidents include the following:
- Drivers and passengers in cars and other motor vehicles stuck by buses;
- Drivers of motorcycles, mopeds, scooters and bicycles stuck by buses;
- Passengers in buses;
- Passengers who are in the process of getting on (boarding) or off (alighting) buses;
- Pedestrians struck by buses.
Because bus passengers are often standing or seated without safety belts, bus accident injuries can be very serious. Also, because of the size, force and momentum of a bus, occupants of vehicles or pedestrians hit by a bus often sustain catastrophic injuries, including fatalities involving wrongful death claims.
There are many different types of buses, from school buses, to public buses, to small private vans or busses run by companies like Access Services.
Bus accident injuries involving government run buses, such as those made against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, known as the LACMTA (or for short commonly referred to as the MTA), require that a government claim for damages be timely filed with the appropriate agency, usually within just six (6) months from the date of the accident. These deadlines and procedural requirements are different from other types of accident injury cases and MUST be strictly followed, with some exceptions, or one may lose their rights and remedies.
If one is involved in a bus accident, there are many things to do, including the following:
- If seriously injured, receive appropriate emergency medical care;
- If medical care can wait, then obtain the name and contact information of the bus driver, bus owner and anyone who witnessed the accident, including the passengers on the bus;
- Obtain the identifying number and license plate number of the bus;
- Obtain the bus driver’s driver’s license and employee number;
- Take photographs of all damaged vehicles and property, all visible injuries and scene of the incident;
- Look for any video cameras that may have captured what occurred; and ask the bus driver to identify all video cameras with which the bus is equipped;
- Obtain appropriate medical care;
- Contact a personal injury attorney experienced in handling bus accident injury claims.
As stated, many buses are equipped with video cameras that may record the exterior or interior of the bus, including what the bus driver was doing and what happened to the passengers inside the bus during any collision. One should obtain these videos, which, unfortunately, usually require special computer programs to view. These video recordings can be obtained through subpoena or other legal discovery conducted by a California Bus Accident Attorney, including a formal request to produce video recordings, documents and other evidence. To secure and obtain such video evidence, bus accident injury victims should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney who handles bus accident injury claims.
Our firm will fight to obtain the evidence and compensation that the bus accident injury victim deserves, including all damages allowed under California law for all injuries suffered, such as the following:
- All past and future hospital, medical, physical therapy, psychological and dental charges;
- All past and future loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity, including all time missed at work, even if paid for it under sick leave, vacation time or other benefits as the responsible party should not benefit by the benefits you earned and may have used up;
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities you lost and missed out on;
- All past and future pain, suffering, emotional distress and inconvenience;
- All property damage, including for totaled vehicles, personal property such as broken watches and cell telephones, rental charges and all loss of use of property (as sometimes one cannot afford to rent a replacement vehicle but still suffers from the loss of use of that property and, therefore, is entitled to fair compensation);
- All diminution (reduction) in value of your property, that is the difference in value after it was repaired compared to its pre-collision value, which is usually more and you are often entitled to that extra compensation;
- And any and all other appropriate damages permitted under California law.
Our office has been handling California bus accident injury cases, involving many different situations and events, for over 40 years. We can help an injured victim obtain the medical care they need and obtain the financial recovery they deserve.
Bus accidents can be very sad and traumatizing. Calling the right California personal injury attorney can help injured victims obtain the justice and monetary compensation they deserve.
Take the pressure off yourself and let someone experienced in handling such matters assist you or your loved ones. See what others say about us on our Testimonial page. Call our offices now for a FREE consultation with an experienced bus accident injury attorney or any member of our legal team.