Bus Accident Injury Lawsuit Explained
Public transportation plays a key role in the daily commute of many people, whether it be in a big city or a rural town, a vast amount of people ride the bus every single year. Many riders rely on either public or private buses to safely make it to school, work, or elsewhere on a daily basis; it allows for people to get to and from places without the hassle of driving or owning a car. Although buses are generally safe, accidents do happen. More specifically, over 63,000 bus accidents happen every single year. More often than not, accidents happen because of the negligence of the bus operator or the bus company owner, however all cases are different. If you have been injured in a bus accident, it’s possible you may be facing expensive medical bills and lost time from work from the injuries sustained. Filing a claim can alleviate the mounting bills and most importantly, provide a smooth recovery. If a fatal bus accident occurred and you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, then you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Who can I sue after a bus accident?
Those responsible depends on the type of accident that occurred. Various parties can become potential defendants and be held liable.
- Bus driver
- Tour bus operator
- School bus operator
- City, county, or state agency
- Bus company owner
- Bus owner
- Bus stop owner
- Bus manufacturer
In order to pursue a bus accident claim, the victim (plaintiff) must prove that the defendant’s negligence was an important factor in the damages suffered by the plaintiff. In California, it is proven through the elements of negligence. These elements are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The duty of care was breached; and
- That the defendant’s negligence played a key role in causing the plaintiff harm.
If the defendant’s negligence is proven, then they might be held liable for the injuries and damages sustained by the victim.
What Types of Bus Accidents are There?
Private forms of transportation, such as a tour bus, are an efficient ways to transport people from point A to point B in exchange for compensation. Other forms of private transportation are airplanes, private school buses, and certain trucks. Private buses must exercise high degree of diligence and have a higher duty of care, because they are transporting people for profit. These buses are subject to common carrier laws and must take the right steps to maintain the safety of its passengers.
What happens if the negligent party I’m suing is the government?
The California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) - as a general rule, “a public entity is not liable for an injury” that is caused by the public entity of any of its employees. The notice of claim is like a prerequisite to filing a personal injury claim in court. After the claim is filed, the government can choose to take action by compensating, denying, or by simply not taking action. Once the time period of taking action passes, the victim can go ahead and file a lawsuit in court.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded that school buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school. In a school bus accident, it can bring on a series of concerns, one of them being, who will be held liable for the accident? There are three possible defendants—the school district, the bus driver, or the private bus company— most of them contracted by the school. While negligence might play an important factor leading up to an accident, a school bus accident could take on many different forms. Most schools are part of a district or public school education system that is run by the city, county, or state government. In turn, public schools and district benefit from certain legal protection that is available to government entities known as sovereign immunity. This protection does not mean that you can’t file a lawsuit against the school district, but instead it means you will need to comply with the strict claims process set in place for government entities.
Similar to school buses, the law differs for public transportation claims that involve the state or city government. You can sue a government entity, but there are special laws that apply when filing a government claim. “Sovereign Immunity,” means that a public entity cannot be held liable for any personal injury caused by an act or negligent act of any public entity or employee—unless a statute provides exception. In California there is an exemption to this immunity in cases where an injury can be sustained on the property of a public entity from an existing hazard or from failure to inspect the health and safety of the premises. In California, the statute of limitations is within six months of an accident. It is much shorter than the statute of limitations of other personal injury claims, which is within two years of an accident. The purpose being to promptly alert the government of the problem so it can be fixed in a timely manner. Furthermore, you must comply with a strict administrative claim process.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Public transportation plays a key role in the lives of many people. If someone was seriously injured, a bus accident can result in expensive medical treatment. While insurance companies may compensate you for your losses, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will recover what is fair. Insurance adjusters are specially trained to reduce the cost and diminish any injuries sustained. If you are a victim of a bus accident, an experienced personal injury attorney will assess your case and guide you through the process.
Contact VIRTUOSO CRIMINAL & DUI LAWYERS via our online request form or at (510) 988-5566 for a free case review. Hablamos español.