Filing an Injury Claim After a Bus Accident in California
Buses are common carriers. Common carriers must carry passengers safely. Common carriers must use the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person. They must do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under the circumstances to avoid harm to passengers.While a common carrier does not guarantee the safety of its passengers, it must use reasonable skill to provide everything necessary for safe transportation, in view of the transportation used and the practical operation of the business.
Common carriers must use the highest care in constructing, servicing, inspecting, and maintaining their vehicles and equipment for transporting passengers. A common carrier is responsible for a defect in its vehicles and equipment used for transporting passengers if the common carrier: (a) Created the defect; or (b) Knew of the defect; or (c) Would have known of the defect if it had used the highest care.
Common carriers must keep up with modern improvements in transportation. While they are not required to seek out and use every new invention, they must adopt commonly accepted safety designs and devices in the vehicles and equipment they use for transporting passengers.
If a common carrier voluntarily accepts an ill or a disabled person as a passenger and is aware of that person’s condition, it must use as much additional care as is reasonably necessary to ensure the passenger’s safety.
If a common carrier voluntarily accepts a child as a passenger, it must use as much additional care as is reasonably necessary to ensure the child’s safety.
A bus driver can be negligent in failing to prevent an attack by another. To establish this claim, the bus driver must know or, by using the highest care, should have known that a passenger was reasonably likely to attack another passenger; and that by using the highest care, the bus driver could have prevented or reduced the harm from the attack.
Filing a Bus Accident Claim Against a Government Agency
If the bus you are riding on is a public bus and the claim is against them, a government tort claim must be filed within 6 months of your injury or you will be barred from bringing a claim. Under the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), an injured party must file what is called a Notice of Claim with the appropriate government agency within 6 months. You can petition the court and apply for a late claim if the 6 months has lapsed but there is no guarantee that you will be able to proceed with your claim. The agency must then determine if it will accept or reject the claim. If the government agency decides to reject the claim, the injured party can then pursue a lawsuit against the agency.
Claims can be filed under the CTCA for injuries sustained as a result of any of the following circumstances:
- The negligence of a government employee, including a bus driver;
- The negligence of an independent contractor working for the government, which also includes bus drivers;
- Slip and fall and premises liability injuries sustained on government property; including buses; and
- Any failure on the part of a government agency to meet its duties under the law that results in someone being injured
Injured in an Accident Involving a Private or Charter Bus?
If your bus accident claim involves a private or charter bus, you may sue the driver and the owner. Furthermore, if the accident was caused by an equipment malfunction, you may sue the manufacturer as well.
Charter buses and privately owned buses are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. An experienced California personal injury lawyer can help determine who is liable for your bus accident injuries, based on negligence and/or whether any applicable rules and regulations were broken.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a California Bus Accident Claim?
As it is with any injury claim, what damages, if any, you can recover in a California bus accident claim will largely depend on the nature and severity of the injuries you sustained. Possible damages recoverable in a California bus accident claim include:
- Medical care needed to treat your injuries (past, current, and future);
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress resulting from the accident and your injuries;
- Loss of enjoyment of life/disfigurement/physical impairment
- Inconvenience/grief/anxiety/humiliation/emotional distress
- Lost wages and income, as well as, loss of earning capacity;
- Wrongful Death Damages;
- Punitive Damages; and
- Other damages sustained as a result of the bus accident
What To Do After Being Injured in a California Bus Accident
A bus accident claim is more complicated than the typical car accident claim. There may be multiple parties who are liable to compensate you, and in most cases, you will be dealing with large private entities or government agencies.
An experienced California personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle bus accident claims can help you navigate the claims process successfully, whether it be a claim against a government agency or a private entity. In either case, you will be up against an organization that will be reluctant to fully and fairly compensate you unless they are made to do so.
A skilled California bus accident attorney will be able to gather evidence, such as witness testimony, video footage, photographs, drivers logs, medical records, and other documentation, to build a compelling case.
Contact a Knowledgeable Bus Accident Lawyer in California
After you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident in California, start by contacting our law firm today at (562) 901-4664 or visit our contact page to arrange a free consultation. Our experienced California bus accident lawyers will assess your case and assist you with filing a claim to recover every bit of compensation you are entitled to receive.
Christopher Montes de Oca is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Chris is recognized as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” a recognition that only 2.5 percent of lawyers receive, because of the exceptional results he has seen and his dedication to his clients. Chris services clients throughout Los Angeles, including Echo Park, Maywood, Long Beach, Whittier, Glendale, La Mirada, Pico Rivera, Hacienda Heights, and Alhambra. Call him today for a free consultation at (562) 901-4664.