The past two decades have shown a 35 percent increase in bus ridership nationwide. The reasons for the increase include the improvements made to bus and other transit systems, especially in metropolitan areas; the affordability and ease compared to driving; and the increase in environmental awareness by reducing carbon emissions. With the increase in people riding buses, on California roads and highways, as well as students riding on school buses, the number of bus accidents and injuries has increased proportionately.
In California, commercial bus companies are considered common carriers, or buses carrying for “reward” and can be divided into three categories-commuter buses, long distance transportation buses and charter buses. School buses are classified separately.
Buses that are collecting money or other compensation for transporting passengers must use maximum provision and care to ensure their passengers safety at all times.
California Civil Code Section 2100
The state code is very specific to a commercial bus company’s transportation of passengers:
“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.”
Commuter buses typically travel at lower speeds at make frequent stops as opposed to charter buses and long distance transports, which travel on higher speed highways. Accidents involving commuter buses are often collisions between the bus and another vehicle, the bus and a pedestrian or injuries to a person boarding, exiting or riding the bus. Long-range buses and charter bus accidents are often high-speed catastrophes involving multiple vehicles, and the bus rolling over. Highway bus crashes can cause multiple injuries and fatalities.
Filing a Bus Accident Claim
Commercial bus companies in California are required by law to carry million dollar insurance policies for the drivers and vehicles. These policies protect the bus company against claims for personal injury, medical bills, loss of income and pain and suffering.
As a defendant in a personal injury, or wrongful death case, the bus company will have highly experienced lawyers to vehemently fight to prevent a successful claim against the company. Their goal is to settle the case quickly to minimize the damages and avoid any bad publicity for their client.
Every victim has the legal right to bring a case against the responsible party to gain the maximum compensation they deserve. A skilled transportation injury attorney, representing the plaintiff, can make the difference between a substantial cash reward and a settlement that provides little more than the cost of current medical bills. Without the representation of an experienced bus accident attorney, it is virtually impossible for the injured party to get the compensation deserved.
Bus accident injuries, involving buses operated by state, county or local governments such as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA or simply MTA), require that a claim be filed within stringent time frames, usually within six months, to prevent losing ones right and remedies under the law. The guidelines are strictly enforced and much different than other types of accident injury claims.
Many buses are equipped with video cameras that could show what the bus driver was doing at the time of the accident and what happened to the passengers on impact. A California bus accident attorney can obtain these recordings by subpoena or other legal discovery including a formal request to produce videos as well as documents and other evidence.
The Vititoe Law Group has successfully represented California bus accident injury cases for over 30 years. If you are the victim of a California bus accident you may be entitled to damages for:
· Hospital, medical, physical therapy and psychological costs, both past and future
· Loss of earnings and earning capacity including lost time at work, even if covered by sick leave, vacation time or other benefits.
· Diminished quality of life like activities and hobbies you enjoyed.
· Pain and suffering, past present and future.
· Property damage to vehicles, watches, electronics cell phones and the cost of renting a car.
· Diminution of property value between pre-accident condition to repaired condition
· Any and all other damages permitted under California law.
If you are a victim of a California bus accident, reach out to Vititoe Law Group today and speak with a qualified California bus accident attorney today. There is in cost to you until you win. Call 818-851-1888 or simply fill out the easy online form. Do not hesitate, as the time to file your case is limited