Bus Accident Lawyer
Californians of all ages travel to school and work on buses. They’re an affordable, accessible and widely available form of transportation, but when things go wrong, the consequences are devastating.
City buses weigh 15 to 20 tons. They stop slowly and are too cumbersome to avoid oncoming hazards. Plus, many buses operate in areas with heavy traffic. For these reasons, accidents often cause injuries, property damage, and fatalities. If you were involved in a bus accident in the San Bernardino area, one of our experienced attorneys can help you recover compensation.
Bus Accident Statistics
Buses are big business. Nationally, there are approximately 890,000 buses registered to private coach companies, schools, and transit authorities in the United States. In San Bernardino alone, the local transit authority has some 285 buses in its fleet. Because these vehicles travel on nearly every local roadway and major highway, it’s not surprising that accidents are common. Even children who ride the bus are vulnerable. According to the National Safety Council, 5,000 school-bus passengers were injured during traffic collisions in 2016. Here are a few other statistics that illustrate the severity of these accidents.
- According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 67,000 bus crashes occurred on the nation’s roadways in 2015.
- Property damage was reported in more than 50,000 bus crashes, and injuries were reported in 14,000 collisions.
- Approximately 8 percent of nonfatal accidents and 12 percent of fatal accidents involve trucks and buses.
- In 2016, 18 of the 227 fatal bus accidents reported to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) occurred in California.
- According to the Center for National Truck and Bus Safety Statistics, 60 percent of fatal bus accidents involve other vehicles, and 25 percent involve pedestrians.
- Local transit authority Omnitrans reported more than 450 bus accidents in a 12-month period between 2017 and 2018, which equals 57 accidents per million miles traveled.
Bus Accident Causes
Bus drivers undergo rigorous training before they transport their first passengers. In general, buses are a very safe form of transportation, but thousands of accidents still occur for the following reasons.
- Driver Error: Most bus accidents are caused when the driver fails to yield, ignores a traffic light or doesn’t see a nearby cyclist or pedestrian.
- Distracted, Reckless or Intoxicated Driving: While most operators focus on safety, some choose to speed, drive recklessly or send text messages on the job.
- Mechanical Defects: When coach operators fail to maintain their vehicles as required, accidents are more likely to occur due to defective brakes, burned-out lights, and bald tires.
- Road Conditions: In dense fog and pouring rain, drivers must be extra vigilant. Sadly, many accidents are caused when motorists drive too fast for conditions.
Common Injuries Following Bus Accidents
Buses afford passengers very little crash protection. On average, only 79 percent of bus passengers wear safety belts, and there are no airbags. Although passengers are somewhat protected by the seats around them, they’re often thrashed against a variety of hard surfaces. Due to the design of buses and the most common types of collisions, bus accidents generally lead to the following injuries.
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head, brain and spinal cord injuries
- Lacerations, contusions, and abrasions
- Scarring, disfigurement, and amputation
- Whiplash and soft tissue injuries
What to Do After a Bus Accident
Accident scenes are naturally chaotic. Passengers and pedestrians may be upset or injured. Despite hectic conditions, it’s important to remain calm. Follow these steps to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
- Contact 911 or the nearest law enforcement agency to ensure that an accident report is filed, especially if there are injuries.
- Write down the bus number and license plate. Collect insurance details and identifying information from the driver.
- Do not argue. Let the authorities handle the situation.
- Take photos of relevant details, such as injuries, property damage or road conditions.
- Get contact information from any bystanders who may have witnessed the accident.
- Visit a doctor or hospital within 24 hours to determine the severity of your injuries.
- Never sign any type of document that might release the carrier from liability or limit your right to compensation. Speak to a lawyer first.
Recovering Compensation After a Bus Accident
California law requires common carriers to protect their passengers and meet a higher standard of care. If you were involved in an accident caused by a reckless or negligent bus driver, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, and other losses.
Limitations apply when you’re seeking compensation from a government agency, school district or public transit authority, such as Omnitrans. In most cases, accident victims have six months from the date of the incident to submit a claim. A bus accident attorney can provide specific advice about these requirements based on the details of your case. Focus on your recovery by having a lawyer handle the entire process for you.
Contacting a Bus Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, contact Rizio Liberty Lipinsky. For your convenience, we have offices in Chino Hills, Riverside, Santa Ana and Oakland. Our attorneys have 20 years of experience recovering record-setting verdicts for accident victims across the state. Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
- This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.
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