Bus accident cases are notoriously complex. This is partially due to the fact that bus accidents themselves are complicated, since there are generally many parties involved in this type of accident. Then, bus accident cases can also be more complicated because different California laws can apply to a case depending on the accident circumstances and the type of individuals or entities involved in the accident.
At LA Lawyers Group, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of bus accident cases. No matter how complex a bus accident case may be, our attorneys work diligently to uncover every detail of an accident in order to provide our clients with the strongest possible case. Some examples of bus accident cases we can handle include:
In California, if a bus accident is caused by the negligent or malicious actions of an individual or entity, that individual or entity can generally be held legally liable for the damages they’ve caused. For example, if a bus crash is caused by a reckless bus driver who was texting while driving or by a negligent bus company that did not properly maintain their vehicles, the victims harmed in the accident would generally be entitled to pursue damages for their losses.
If you were in a bus accident that was caused by the negligent or malicious actions of another party, you may be able to recover damages by filing a personal injury claim. You could also seek to recover damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, accident victims file a personal injury claim before they consider filing a personal injury lawsuit, since most bus accident cases can be settled with insurance companies. Note that at LA Lawyers Group, our legal team can handle both bus accident claims and court cases. We are immensely experienced at negotiating with insurance companies in order to recover the maximum possible compensation for our clients. However, we’re also expert trial lawyers and we will not hesitate to go to trial when an insurance company refuses to offer a fair and appropriate settlement amount that accurately reflects our client’s losses.
Many types of individuals or entities could be found legally responsible for a bus accident. Some examples of possible defendants in a bus accident case include:
California is a pure comparative negligence state. Essentially, this means that more than one party can be found legally liable for an accident in the State of California. When multiple parties are responsible for an accident, fault is assigned in percentages, ultimately making each party responsible for a percentage of damages.
The fact that more than one party can be liable for an accident in California makes proving liability in any accident case somewhat more complicated. Unless one party is 100% at fault for an accident, you’ll need to prove how much each party’s actions contributed to an accident in order to prove liability.
Typically, liability in a California accident case is determined based on negligence. Generally, if the negligence of a party caused an accident, that party would be considered liable for the damages caused by that accident. To prove that a defendant was negligent, you need to prove three things:
A “duty of care” is a legal obligation to use reasonable care to avoid injuring others. For example, a driver must follow traffic regulations in order to provide other drivers and pedestrians with a duty of care. If a driver fails to follow traffic regulations because they were negligent (say, they ran a red light because they weren’t paying attention to the road), this would be a breach of their duty of care.
Proving negligence in a California accident case can be challenging in any type of accident situation, but this process can be particularly complicated in bus accident cases. This is due to the sheer number of parties that can be involved in a bus accident, all of which must be considered when determining negligence (and, therefore, liability) for the accident.
A bus accident could involve numerous individuals, such as a bus driver, bus passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, or passengers in other vehicles. A bus accident could also have been caused by prior circumstances, which could make individuals or entities who were not even at the site of the accident legally liable for the accident. For example, imagine that a defective bus part caused a tour bus to crash. This may mean that the designer, manufacturer, or seller of the bus part is liable for the accident. Or, say a government agency knew that one of their city bus stop locations was dangerous for a bus to drive up to, yet did nothing to correct this and kept the bus stop in operation. If a bus crashed or struck a pedestrian due to the bus stop’s unreasonably dangerous location, the government agency connected to the bus stop may be legally liable for the damages caused by the accident.
Though determining liability in a bus accident can be challenging, a personal injury attorney that has experience handling bus accident cases can help. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist their client in conducting an investigation and gathering evidence in order to prove who is truly liable for an accident. They’ll also be able to use their knowledge of California’s personal injury, product liability, and common carrier laws to ensure that every angle of a bus accident case is thoroughly examined in order to maximize their client’s damages to the fullest extent of the law.
There are two types of compensatory damages that are generally available to bus accident injury victims: economic compensatory damages and non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate an accident victim for their tangible economic losses, while non-economic damages are intended to compensate an accident victim for their intangible losses (such as their pain).
The exact compensatory damages that will be available in a specific bus accident injury case will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Some examples of the types of compensatory damages that can be available in a bus accident injury case include:
In rare cases, a bus accident victim could receive punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are damages that are awarded to a plaintiff by a judge. These damages are designed to act as a form of punishment when a defendant has acted with “oppression, fraud, or malice.” In motor vehicle cases, including bus accident cases, punitive damages are most frequently seen in instances where an accident was caused by a drunk driver.
The statute of limitations for a bus accident case can vary depending on the parties involved. The general statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. However, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases that involve government entities is only six months. So, depending on the parties involved in a specific case, you may have as little as six months or as long as two years to file a claim after being injured in a bus accident.
Government entities are frequently involved in bus accidents in Los Angeles. In large part, this is because the majority of busses on the road are public transportation vehicles that are city owned and operated. Some examples of busses that are owned or operated by the local government include public school busses, Metro Local buses, Metro Busway vehicles, Metro Rapid busses, Metro Express busses, and LADOT DASH Minibuses. Government entities may also sometimes be involved in private bus accidents when poor road conditions, such as potholes, cause an accident.
Because Los Angeles bus accident cases very often involve some type of government entity, we generally suggest that bus accident victims take legal action quickly after their accident. Even if you don’t think a government entity had a role in your accident, it’s best to move quickly in case your assumption is wrong. If a government entity is responsible for your injuries and you wait longer than six months to pursue damages, you would be unable to recover compensation simply due to the statute of limitations expiration.