bus accident lawyer los angeles

Bus accidents are unfortunately not uncommon in Los Angeles, a city known for its heavy traffic and extensive public transportation network. Victims of bus accidents are often left with the heavy burden of physical injuries, emotional trauma, and expensive medical bills. In these difficult situations, it is important to know when to seek legal help.

 

This guide will explore when to hire a bus accident lawyer, the relevant California laws related to bus accident liabilities, and how to file a monetary claim against commercial companies.

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Los Angeles Bus Accident Liability: Who’s at Fault?

In California, bus accidents fall under the category of personal injury law, regardless of the type of bus involved.

 

The state follows a fault-based system, meaning the party responsible for the accident must compensate the injured parties. This system can be complex, as multiple parties may be liable, including the bus driver, the company, other motorists, or even government entities responsible for road maintenance.

Common Carriers and Duty of Care

Under California law, buses are considered “common carriers.” This designation imposes a heightened duty of care on operators, requiring them to exercise the highest degree of care and vigilance for passenger safety.

 

California Civil Code Section 2100 states, “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.”

Determining Fault in a Bus Crash

Liability in bus accidents can be complicated due to the various entities involved. Here are some common scenarios:

  1. Bus Driver’s Negligence: If the driver is found to be negligent, such as driving under the influence or ignoring traffic laws, the bus company may also be held liable under the principle of vicarious liability.
  2. Bus Company’s Negligence: The company may be directly liable if the accident was caused by improper maintenance, hiring unqualified drivers, or failing to follow safety regulations.
  3. Third-Party Drivers: If another motorist caused the accident, they could be held responsible for the damages.
  4. Government Entities: Poorly maintained roads or inadequate traffic signals can also contribute to accidents, potentially making governmental bodies liable.

If the situation involves a school bus accident, then the liable party could be the school district, as they are responsible for maintaining safe conditions on the bus and ensuring that drivers are properly trained.

 

If the crash involves a commercial passenger bus or tour bus, the operating company could be held responsible for any negligence on the part of their drivers or failure to maintain their fleet.

Pedestrians and Cyclists

In accidents involving these vulnerable road users, liability can be placed on both the driver and the pedestrian/cyclist depending on who was at fault. Factors such as distracted driving, failure to yield, and not following traffic signals can all contribute to determining liability when a personal injury case is filed. If the case was a hit-and-run, then fault would likely fall solely on the driver.

 

In the case of the death of the accident victim, their family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party with the help of a bus accident lawyer Los Angeles. This can help provide compensation for funeral expenses, loss of income, and other damages.

Filing a Bus Accident Claim Against Commercial Entities

Filing a claim against commercial companies can be more complicated than standard personal injury claims due to the involvement of large organizations with robust legal teams. Here’s what to consider:

Commercial Insurance Policies

Bus companies typically carry commercial insurance policies with higher coverage limits than personal auto policies. While this might seem beneficial, it also means that the insurance companies will have experienced adjusters and attorneys working to minimize their payouts.

Evidence Collection

To build a strong case, it’s crucial to gather extensive evidence, including:

  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Surveillance footage
  • Maintenance records of the bus

A skilled Los Angeles bus accident lawyer can assist in collecting and preserving this evidence.

Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the accident.

 

However, if a governmental entity is involved, such as a city bus, the claim must be filed within six months. Missing these deadlines can result in losing the right to compensation.

When to Hire a Bus Accident Attorney

when to hire a bus accident attorney

Bus accident victims should hire a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer to ensure fair and just compensation. Here are key scenarios when legal assistance is highly recommended:

Bus Accident Case with Severe Injuries

If the accident results in serious injuries, such as broken bones, spinal injuries, or traumatic brain injuries, the medical costs can be overwhelming. A bus accident attorney can help calculate the full extent of the damages, including future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering — even wrongful death.

Disputed Liability

When there is disagreement over who is at fault, a lawyer can help investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case to prove liability.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies often aim to settle claims for the least amount possible. An experienced Los Angeles bus accident attorney can negotiate on your behalf and find ways to boost the value of your claim.

 

Remember that insurance adjusters are not your friends, and they will often try to give you the lowest amount they can get away with. Your attorney will fight for you.

Complex Legal Procedures

Even just thinking about the paperwork and processes to go through in filing a claim is stressful, and this is more so if you’re dealing with large companies or government entities. A skilled bus accident lawyer Los Angeles can handle everything about your case, allowing you to focus on recovery.

Can You Sue After a Bus Accident? Steps to File
a Claim or Lawsuit

Injured in a bus accident and you’re not at fault? You have every right to sue, especially if you suffered serious injuries and property damage. Taking the right steps immediately after can significantly impact the outcome of your claim. Consider these steps:

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine, it’s essential to get a medical check-up. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and medical records are important evidence to establish fault and place the case in your favor.

Report the Accident

Make sure to report the crash to the authorities and obtain a copy of the police report or traffic collision report. If the bus was part of a public transportation system, report the incident to the relevant agency, such as the local transit authority. This will also help establish a paper trail and ensure that the incident is properly documented.

Gather Evidence

Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene, including photos, contact information of witnesses, and details of the vehicles involved. If you were in a car accident versus a school bus, for example, take note of any damage to your vehicle and the position of the vehicles after the collision. This will help determine fault and show the extent of damage.

Don’t Settle Too Quickly

It may be tempting to immediately accept the first offer of compensation for your injuries. Don’t do it. Often, injuries sustained in a transportation incident may not fully manifest until days or even weeks after the initial collision. This is why it’s important to seek medical care and consult with a personal injury lawyer before accepting any financial offers.

Contact a Los Angeles Bus Accident Lawyer

Consulting with a bus accident lawyer Los Angeles as early as possible can help preserve evidence and ensure all legal deadlines are met. Do not make any statements to insurance companies or sign any documents without first speaking with an attorney.

Victim of a Bus Crash? Contact an Experienced Bus Accident Lawyer Los Angeles. Free Consultation.

Bus accidents can result in serious injuries and complex legal battles. Understanding when to hire a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer is essential to protect your rights and ensure fair compensation.

 

By being aware of the relevant California laws, knowing the process of filing claims against commercial companies, and understanding who might be at fault, you can brave the claims process with greater confidence.

 

If you or a loved one has suffered bus accident injuries in LA, get help from a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer right away. RTM Law, APC Personal Injury Attorney has helped many accident victims in filing for financial compensation, not just for visible damage but even for pain and suffering and emotional consequences.

 

Call our lawyer in Los Angeles to schedule a free consultation.

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